Update: July 5, 2011 – On July 1, 2011, Jeff Marek announced via Twitter that he had left CBC/Hockey Night in Canada. Although his next venture isn’t yet known, some have speculated Marek’s move could be to Rogers Sportsnet. The interview below was conducted in 2009 when Marek was part of the HNIC team.
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Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to CBC News and Hockey Night in Canada anchor, Jeff Marek. Jeff’s been with CBC for two years and is a staple on Saturday night broadcasts as part of the iDesk feature along with Scott Morrison. Maybe you already knew that, but did you know Marek is basically the Ron Burgundy of CBC?
It’s true. Having spent time with Marek at CBC’s headquarters hours before this past Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, I witnessed it first hand. Every employee at CBC has a friendly relationship with Marek as well as a few inside jokes. Marek can’t go anywhere for five minutes without questions, jokes, or microphone fittings coming his way. In fact, the only two differences between Marek and the real Burgundy are scotch before broadcasts and turtlenecks.
Below is the Classy interview with Jeff Marek. Enjoy!
Stayclassy.net: How did you first get involved with sports broadcasting?
Jeff Marek: I never planned to get into sports at all. I was actually studying to be an English Professor. While working at a cemetery, my first bury was Harold Ballard (former Toronto Maple Leafs owner) in 1990. By stroke of luck, I met George Stroumboulopoulos and he helped me get a job with Toronto’s Fan 590 radio station. From there, I found my way onto various radio shows covering wrestling, the Leafs (and other topics), and eventually got a job offer from the producers of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada.
Stayclassy.net editor’s note: Stroumboulopoulos and Marek actually made a bet to who would first appear on Hockey Night in Canada. Despite Marek’s gig on HNIC’s iDesk, it was Stroumboulopoulos who won the bet.
SC: Do you have any specific career highlight(s) that stick out in your mind?
Marek: Two highlights immediately come to mind. First, the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Being able to call Judo, Table Tennis, Pentathlon, and other sports was a thrill. It was challenging, chaotic, and exciting all at once. Secondly, my first ever appearance and interview on HNIC. It was the Washington Capitals versus the Ottawa Senators and Ron Maclean introduced me doing an interview with Alex Ovechkin. Hearing my name mentioned by Ron Maclean after the HNIC intro music was surreal to say the least.
Stayclassy.net editor’s note: This was the game Ovechkin scored 4 goals against the Senators and threw his glove in the air.
SC: Is it true you play rec hockey on a team called The Ron Burgundys? And if so, how good is your team?
Marek: Yes. As far as skill… I’m good enough to be a bad player on a great team.
Stayclassy.net editor’s note: I don’t know what you mean.
SC: Have you ever read punctuation incorrectly from a teleprompter in your career?
Marek: I’ve never used a teleprompter for my work on CBC! That all changes with my role on CBC’s News Now (which debuts this week). We use teleprompters for those broadcasts and now that you mention it, I fear I may be terrible reading from one.
SC: You’ve got a bit of a history covering professional wrestling. Do you ever miss the personalities of wrestlers when covering the NHL?
Marek: Wrestling does a good job marketing individual athletes – something the NHL should do more of with some of their superstars. The NHL certainly has a variety of characters, too.
SC: Do you think the NHL might do better in some markets (which shall remain nameless) if players had their own entrance music, and came out of the crowd as a surprise after an extended injury?
Marek: I love that idea! You might be onto something here…
SC: What do you think Sex Panther (illegal in 9 countries) really smells like?
Marek: The bowels of the worst smelling part of a hockey bag. Not the skates or the jock – something far worse – the insides of hockey gloves. They are without a doubt the ultimate chick repellent.
A huge thanks to Jeff for hanging out with us and fielding our questions. We like that. It should be noted Marek hasn’t yet seen the movie Anchorman, despite answering the questions above. As a thanks for doing our interview and as unofficial ambassadors of the movie, we bought Jeff a copy. With any luck, Stayclassy.net will finally make sense to him… and if it doesn’t, all hope is lost.
I highly recommend you do the following:
- Add Jeff Marek on Twitter
- Tune in to CBC News Now (weekdays; 6am-9am. Jeff tackles sports on the broadcast)
- Thank Jeff for doing this interview by leaving a comment below
Stay classy, Jeff Marek.