How Cheryl Pounder, Kenzie Lalonde, and TSN Approach the Worlds of Women

Kenzie Lalonde, the voice of TSN’s play-by-play Emerging, had two photos at the top of her Twitter Page to start the week. One was smiling in a professional-looking red blazer, and the other, more prominent photo was of a colleague, posing for the camera with a tie wrapped around her head.

Canadian Olympic hockey veteran Cheryl Pounder was trying to look serious while filming a parody music video — “Bad for Bedard— that TSN aired the NHL trade deadlines show. Pounder was the drummer for a fictional band consisting of on-air personalities.

“I thought she had never looked better, so I think the world needs to see her,” said Lalonde.

She laughed, “As long as he gives everyone a good giggle, I think it’s important to show it.”

For the next two weeks, the two will appear together on the same frame, broadcasting the IIHF Women’s World Championship for TSN in Brampton, Ont. Lalonde and Pounder would share a booth at the CAA Center for nearly two dozen games, including the biggest games in the finale.

They’ll be on the air on Wednesday, and by the time they leave the air after the title game on April 16, they’ll have covered all 10 teams involved in the event. Sometimes that means three matches a day, or more than eight hours together at a time.

“I would like to consider Sheryl as one of my best friends,” said Lalonde. “Both of us are two women who continue to find more and more opportunities and to be a part of more and more things with TSN. I think we really helped each other all the way through this.”

Last September, as work wrapped up at the World Championships in Denmark, TSN released a series of two-minute interviews on social media. It showed Lalonde and Pounder having some quiet moments before they went live on the air, sometimes sharing a fist ritual or relieving tension with either song or dance.

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Pounder seemed to handle most of the singing, as well as the dancing.

“Sometimes, yeah, there’s pressure,” Pounder said. “You want to perform at your best at the right time and you can screw things up. How do you bounce back after you say something, or blab? You have to come back.

“And it’s your partner who can make you laugh or bring you back. It’s not rocket science. I think there has to be chemistry and a level of fun.”

Pounder, 46, won gold with Canada at the 2002 (Salt Lake City) and 2006 (Torino) Winter Olympics and won the World Championship six times over her 13 years with the national team. It’s spent more years in the cabin than its teammate, but it’s taken longer to log the miles.

Women’s hockey has not always been widely covered. Pounder learned while he worked, but sometimes only a few games a year. When you started, you didn’t know the booth had a talk button where on-air talent could communicate with the production team in the truck.

She didn’t know how to tag plays for replay. She said she spent too much time taking her notes and not enough time watching the match. Events on the ice, she said, seemed to move so quickly—and that was strange to her, because whether she was on the ice as a player, or on the couch as a spectator, she could always break down everything she had just watched.

In time, I learned. It was Cassie Campbell-Pascal, another Canadian Olympic champion, who told her about the talkback button. Pounder said she learned to come out of her notes and highlight plays that she knew she’d want to discuss later in the broadcast.

Campbell Pascal gave her another piece of advice: “Believe you belong.”

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Pounder has become a staple across The Hockey Network’s coverage, from the Maple Leafs to showing all-day NHL trade deadlines. This year, Pounder is one of four nominees for Best Sports Analyst at the Canadian Screen Awards.

The ceremony is scheduled for April 16, the same day as the gold medal game in Brampton.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Pounder said. “Obviously I’m older in the industry, so I feel like I blinked and I’m like, ‘Where did the time go, and how did this happen?'” “

“It kind of evolved over a short period of time.”

This development will feature five Canadian Olympic champions on broadcasts this month. Gina Hefford (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) will appear on the panel with Becky Kellar (2002, 2006, 2010), Laurie Dupuy (2002) and host Tessa Bonhomme (2010).

Sammy Joe Small, the goaltender who won gold with Canada in 2002, will be a panelist and color analyst. (Play-by-play voice acting by Daniela Ponticelli.)

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With the work of Campbell Pascal and Jennifer Botterill at Sportsnet, the Canadian Women’s Show has emerged as a prolific feed system for sports television.

“Any night, you turn on the TV and one of us is there,” said Bonhomme, a former national team defenseman. “It’s really cool to see him. And that’s nice, because we’re going to be talking about hockey no matter what — over text and through group chat — saying things people on TV are going to say about the game.”

Bottrell, in particular, has become more visible on air, she said.

I was like, are you sleeping? Are you well? Have you seen your children? Bonhomme said “What do you want from me?” “It’s so cool, from time to time, to get a note from these women that just says, ‘Hey, I saw you on TV: You’re doing great, thinking of you, and I hope everything’s OK.'” “

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Lalonde, 28, grew up as a forward in Ottawa before playing for Mount Allison University, in Sackville, N.B. In 2021, she became the first woman to call a game in the Quebec Junior Hockey League, serving in a game between the Halifax Mooseheads and the Charlottetown Islands.

She’s now a reporter at TSN’s Montreal bureau, and just days before the tournament kicks off in Brampton, she’s been rummaging through an ocean of lists and stat packets. She was also practicing pronouncing the players’ names, having reached out to each team for guidance.

In the booth, Lalonde said she and Pounder developed a series of nonverbal cues to alert each other when they wanted to talk. They can raise their hand or share a quick glance, but with practice, they’ve also learned to read each other’s rhythm and wait for an opening.

“There are times when I’ve said things, and I don’t know why I say them,” said Lalonde. “It’s not what I meant to say. Sometimes it’s not true, but I still say it, and I say, ‘What do I do?'”

She laughed again: “And I’m just staring at her, and she’s staring at me. And I’m like, ‘I don’t know!’ You just talk about these ‘I’m so sorry’ moments.”

What is the key to survival in many games?

“It will be Halls (cough drops), it will be some tea and maybe, I think, an effort to limit our conversation between games,” said Lalonde. “But I think between Cheryl and me, it’s almost impossible. So we’ll do our best going forward.

“We’re more than happy to do that. I’m totally OK with more, the better. It’s all about getting those stories out there.”

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(Image: TSN screenshot)

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