John Bartlett leaves TSN 690 to be regional voice of Habs on Sportsnet

John Bartlett, who has been the play-by-play voice of the Canadiens on TSN Radio 690 ever since the station won the rights to the team’s games in 2011, is leaving it to join Rogers as the play-by-play man on regional Canadiens games that will air on Rogers Sportsnet East and City Montreal.

TSN host Mitch Melnick confirmed Bartlett’s departure on Thursday. On Friday, Bartlett was interviewed on Melnick’s show (where a “gag order” prevented them from saying where he’s going, but it wasn’t difficult to put two and two together). Audio from that interview is posted here.

The decision to hire Bartlett, who was the voice of the Toronto Marlies AHL team before joining TSN 690 (more on his history here at, wasn’t unanimously praised at first, with all the talent at the station who would have loved to take a crack at the dream job and the bad optics of not only bringing in an import, but one who worked for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ farm team. But as Melnick explained on his show, Bartlett quickly earned the respect of staff and listeners who are now sad to see him go.

I met Bartlett only once. It was at a Canadian Women’s Hockey League game in Montreal. Just his presence there said a lot about how much this guy cares about hockey.

Bartlett thanked his colleagues at TSN 690, and the station’s listeners for “saving the station“, before saying goodbye with a “you’ll be seeing me around.”

The departure means that TSN 690 has to find a new play-by-play man for Canadiens games, and it has less than a month to do so before the season begins (and less than a week before preseason games).

“We’ve got some strong options to choose from,” TSN 690 Program Director Chris Bury tells me. The preseason games will be done by different play-by-play people. “We expect to have a final choice in time for the regular season.”

The job is posted here, in case you’re interested in applying.

UPDATE (Oct. 2): Sportsnet has made Bartlett’s hiring official. It also announced the hiring of former Hockey Night in Canada rinkside reporter David Amber, analyst Jason York and reporter Chantal Desjardins.

Amber was one of the few Hockey Night in Canada personalities not previously announced as a Sportsnet pickup. His hiring leaves only Andi Petrillo (NHL Network), Kevin Weekes (NHL Network), Mark Lee (laid off from CBC), Dean Brown (TSN Ottawa) and Mitch Peacock (CBC Winnipeg) as HNIC on-air talent that didn’t make the jump to Rogers.

24 thoughts on “John Bartlett leaves TSN 690 to be regional voice of Habs on Sportsnet

  1. Media Man

    Do you think that Rick Moffat will make a play for this gig again..must have a been a difficult cold turkey period after doing it all these years at ‘AD….after all, he did think, I am told, at one point, that he was the best ever play by play guy….Has anybody ever heard of Danny Gallivan, Dick Irvin, and the wonderful Pierre Houde..

    1. Steve W

      I still regard Rick Moffat much more calling the Montreal Alouettes football games than a hockey guy calling Canadiens games. He only took over calling Canadiens games in 2004 or 2005 after Dino Sisto was fired from CJAD radio(so about a 6-7 year run). He’s been calling the Als games on radio since 1997.

  2. Steve W

    John Barlett was not the former voice of Hamilton Bulldogs, before joining TSN 690. He was the former voice of Toronto Marlies.

  3. Otter

    The Hamilton Bulldogs PBP Guy (Derek Wills ?) From Past Seasons – Is The New Radio PBP Person For
    Calgary Flames Taking Over From Peter Mahr Who Retired After Last Season……

  4. mario

    Rick Moffat is likeable but he doesn’t bring the excitement on radio because he’s a reactionary play by play man. Always 2 seconds behind the play. Listen to old audio, and when Habs would score on home ice, you can hear the the crowd, the goal horn, and then Moffat calling the goal.

    Habs fans were spoiled by Bartlett these past 3 seasons. Let’s hope his replacement will do likewise.

  5. mario

    Judging by the tweet Rick Moffat put out Monday morning Sept 22 (since deleted), and Elliott Price confirming he’s not the play by play man, seems like Rick Moffat already got the job. No worries I will simply follow on french dial when not in front of the tube.

  6. Keith Rowe

    Personally myself, I’m going outside the obvious choices & think Brian Wilde of CTVNEWS (Sports) would do a great job as he has the passion of a fan while at the same time brings yrs of sports journalism to the front… Bottom line- if Brian does the same as he does with Montreal Impact games on occasion, Montrealers will be treated to a listening experience beyond reproach….#GoWildeMan!!:)

  7. George

    The guy they have on 2nite is good, don’t know his name.
    Can’t listen long though, they play the old Hockey Night in Canada theme way too much.

  8. mario

    AJ Jakubek did Habs play by play on TSN690 on Tues in preseason action vs Bruins. Jakubek works for Bell’s TSN1200 in Ottawa and does Ottawa Red Black games and has done Senators games too.

    Not sure if this is just for show, but I still think the fix is in in favor of Moffat.

    In fact Moffat isn’t even doing the Al’s game this Friday, his bread and butter. Instead he’s calling Habs preseason game in Quebec City. Abe Hefter will call the Als game in Moffat’s place.

  9. Mario

    The guest play by play call for Habs game vs Avlanche on Thursday was Dan Robertson. Who? Trust me I had to check too. He’s Senior Sports Producer & Eastlink TV Play-by-Play Announcer ad has called hockey play by play and does junior hockey games in the Maritime.

    But he was awful. Why? Because he had trouble pronouncing French names (it’s Paranteau, not paren-to), and names of sponsors to the game. I’ll give him credit for following the play as it happened, with no 2 second delay when a goal is scored.

  10. Mario

    With Rick Moffat getting play by play duties for pre-season games vs Washington, and on the road vs Chicago, safe to say he’ll replace John Bartlett on TSN690’s habs play by play. The only thing missing is the coronation.

    1. George

      If Rick Moffat is the guy, Carey Price will be great every game…no matter what.

      Scott Gomez dropped by the booth a few years ago during an exhibition game and the exchange went something like this:

      Moffatt: Great save Carey Price

      Gomez: That hit the post

      Moffatt: Heh heh heh

      Gomez: Now I know how the three stars get picked

  11. Gerry

    I heard Dan Robertson call the game the other night, and I think he did a very good job, especially considering he probably had little if any prep. time. Familiarity with player names and sponsors will come pretty quickly if he lands the job. From what I’ve read about him, he’s done Marlies games, and produced a Moosehead retrospective when they won the Major Junior championship.

  12. Mario D.

    It does show how poor the pool of decent candidate is in MTL .If it is Moffat then it will be such a quality drop from Bartlett that then the only logical choice will be the french radiocast. Moffat is overused and underqualified. For the description he is o.k. about average but for commentaries he is worse case scenario drama queen.
    When you have to call upon a guy like Brian Wilde to do the soccer play by play you are really down to you last tokens…Make no mistake, he is o.k. but nothing exceptionnal and you feel as if they did not have anyone else already within their employees to do the job.

  13. Steve C

    For what it is worth, the position is no longer posted on the Bell Media, and Bell “Thanks those for their interest in Bel….”. My guess, like Mario’s, is that it will be Rick Moffatt, which to me is the experienced in house candidates, and the logical choice to make for transition purposes.

  14. mario

    Well like Bell mentioned when the position was posted, their decision would be made by October 1st so I am not surprised they took down the job posting.
    And the Habs play a pre-season game on October 1st in Chicago.
    Hmm I wonder who will be doing the play by play??
    We’ll know for certain if the Fix is in or not.

  15. Pingback: TSN 690 names Dan Robertson as new Canadiens play-by-play announcer | Fagstein

  16. Cheryl Traub

    I don’t care for Dan Robertson as of now, but maybe he will grow on me. I’m hoping. Listening to the French is not an option for me as I have very limited French. I am blind. I don’t have a TV. I am a Habs fan in Toronto so I listen to internet radio. I really liked Dino Sisto, Rick Moffat and then John Bartlett. Well, I hope Dan will grow on me as it seems like he is the favourite, but time will tell.


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