Fans flock to Punjabi voices of Hockey Night

Hockey isn’t just a North American and European sport – it’s truly global.

And in a nation such as Canada which embraces multiculturalism, it appeals to a cornucopia of ethnic groups.

To whit: the growing popularity of CBC’s Hockey Night In Canada (HNIC) Punjabi and its hosts, play-by-play announcer Harnarayan Singh and colour commentators Bhola Singh Chauhan and Inderpreet Cumo.

During the National Hockey League season, they call Saturday night doubleheaders involving the Canadian teams, and during the post-season, they follow one series per round all the way to the Stanley Cup final, Singh explained.

The trio was at Preston GM on the Langley Bypass on Sunday afternoon. For more than three hours, they sat behind the HNIC desk, signing autographs and visiting with their legion of fans.

The 29-year-old Singh is in his seventh season calling games with CBC’s HNIC Punjabi and brings a familiar voice to Canada’s South Asian community every Saturday night.

As a visible minority youngster growing up in Southern Alberta, Singh was able to use his love of hockey to connect with other classmates, he told the Langley Advance.

“It really broke the ice with them,” he said. “When I reflect back on it, I became very obsessive-compulsive with the game of hockey.”

Outside of his duties with CBC, Singh enjoys playing tabla and harmonium, which he has performed across Canada, the U.S., and India.

Cumo, 32, brings a vast knowledge of hockey to his role with CBC and counts calling the 2012 Stanley Cup final alongside Singh and Chauhan as the highlight of his career, to date.

“I just love the game,” Cumo said. “Growing up in Canada that’s what you always see, what you always talk about. It’s such a great game, and… with us [broadcasting games] in Punjabi, it just opens up the borders that much more. The game’s that great, that it should be that open for all cultures and all languages.”

Chauhan, 47, is not only an analyst, he co-hosts the weekly HNIC Punjabi podcast.

He also provides play-by-play and analysis for Canadian kabaddi tournament matches, hosts various Punjabi radio shows, and writes for numerous Punjabi newspapers around the world.

He said hockey continues to gain popularity amongst Indo-Canadians.

“We are in our seventh season and it’s growing year in and year out,” he said. “So it’s growing very fast.”

While fans are found across the country, the most popular teams amongst Indo-Canadians are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks, in Singh’s opinion.

“Just based on demographics and the population of the South Asian communities, there,” he said.

Asked what teams they lean towards, the three weren’t biting. They remain neutral.

“Growing up we all did [have our favourite teams] but of course now we’re totally unbiased,” Singh said. “The Canadian teams are all who we’d like to see, be successful.”

“It’s fun calling all Canadian [teams’] games, especially with the success that the Canadian markets are having,” Cumo added. 

All three believe their job continues to be a learning process.

“For all of us, the terminology we’re using, how comfortable we are… it’s been a lot of fun and I really see that all of us are gradually improving a lot,” Singh said.

Just Posted

Langley Advance has autographed jerseys, tickets up for grabs

Vancouver Giants are enjoying a great season, and one lucky reader is going to see them play Friday.

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

VIDEO: Langley Rivermen putting bullying on ice

People are invited to paint messages of suport, compassion, and kindness on ice Wednesday night.

Letter: One of Langley’s MPs defends Liberal record on veterans

Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag outlines federal government support to counter criticism.

Langley swimmers qualify for championship meet

A recent competition will send some swimmers to the next level.

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Slippery roads didn’t deter runners in the 11th annual Fort Langley marathon

PHOTOS TOO: Most registered runners and walkers came out, despite ice from overnight snowfall.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Fallen cedar knocks out Otter area power

Strong gusts of wind caused an entire cedar to split off and crash into power lines

Dawson Creek man, wanted in court, sought by B.C. RCMP

33-year-old Jeremiah Alexander Smith’s vehicle found abandoned near Hope

Aldergrove U18 soccer boys keep on win streak

Aldergrove’s boys prevailed in this game and have a 8 win, 1 tie and 2 loss record

Most Read