NHL chill ices CBC ‘Hockey Day’ skein

Pubcaster lays off close to 50 workers

TORONTO — As hopes fade that the National Hockey League lockout will end and pro hockey will be salvaged this season, Canada’s pubcaster is axing the popular “Hockey Day in Canada.”

Created in 2000, “Hockey Day” was an annual 13-hour smorgasbord of hockey from across the country featuring all levels of the game — from kids’ grassroots teams to the six Canuck pro teams.

Cancellation reflects the shortfall caused by the lockout. The CBC has laid off close to 50 workers whose jobs are tied to the game.

“There are three reasons why we’re not doing it,” said spokeswoman Ruth-Ellen Soles. “No. 1, the pro hockey games were the core of the programming on which the rest of the day was built; two, the staff that do hockey aren’t working for us now; and three, we don’t have the money.”

The CBC has filled the programming hole left by Saturday night’s popular “Hockey Night in Canada” with “Movie Night in Canada.”

Meanwhile, the CBC has inked to produce a two-part, four-hour movie about the 1972 Summit series, in which Canada’s Paul Henderson scored the winning goal against Russia in the last minute of the last game of the series. The producer, scripts and airdate have yet to be confirmed.