Carrying on the tradition of other Hockey Night in Canada female personalities, Andi Petrillo is carving her own niche on the fabled broadcast. With HNIC celebrating its 60th season on Canadian airwaves, Petrillo represents the quantum leap that women have made on the broadcast in the last 10 years.
The first-ever female to be a full-time member of HNIC’s studio team, Petrillo is breaking ground for the next generation of female sportscasters. Following the legacies of other female members (past and present) of the broadcast—such as Helen Hutchinson, Brenda Irving, Martine Gaillard and Cassie Campbell—Petrillo is helping to inject new life into an integral component of Canadiana.
Currently serving as the host of the Chevrolet iDesk portion of the HNIC broadcast (the iDesk also allows fans to chat live online during HNIC broadcasts), Petrillo brings a fresh perspective to the game. She has also served as co-host of HNIC’s pre-game show, Game Day. With guests that range from hockey players to pop culture figures, Game Day incorporates an element of fun and entertainment while looking to enlighten the fan on the current goings-on in hockey.
Her friendly but hip demeanor also translates well to the iDesk, where she monitors the impact of social media during hockey. In addition, she has also composed opinion pieces on the CBC website titled Trillo Talk.
While older female sportscasters such as Andrea Kremer, Christine Simpson and Lesley Visser have earned the respect of their male counterparts, younger women still face several challenges. In attempting to overcome the hurdle of being perceived as light-headed, too perky, hired for their looks or just not deserving of the job, the sports broadcast field can be a baptism by fire for young women.
Raised north of Toronto, Petrillo is also an animal lover that volunteers at the Etobicoke Humane Society. Other humanitarian work included trips to Haiti and Afghanistan. With Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, she was part of a good-will mission to Afghanistan (which included former NHL players) to host a concert for Canadian soldiers.
Knowledgeable about the game, Petrillo’s on-air work is shattering those stereotypes. Last fall, she provided great commentary on why it would be inappropriate to stage the NHL Winter Classic in Detroit despite the lockout (it could lose face with sponsors).
She has paid her dues in a male-dominated field. From cable access and local television (where she covered high school sports and minor league hockey), she made the jump to LeafsTV.
Owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (the parent company of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA’s Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC from MLS), Petrillo covered a broad range of sports for the network. She also conducted player interviews for broadcasts of the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. In addition, she served as a sideline reporter for contests involving the Raptors and Toronto FC.
While this season only marks her second with Hockey Night in Canada, she has been a great addition to a broadcast that works to remain fresh and relevant to numerous demographics after 60 seasons. Among the personalities that she has interviewed for CBC, she also had the opportunity to interview NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
For her groundbreaking work, she was recognized in spring 2012 with a Woman of Influence Award. The honor was bestowed upon her during her duties as Master of Ceremonies at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Women’s Basketball Final 8 gala event.
Employing alacrity, Petrillo also had the opportunity to work for CBC during its coverage of the London 2012 Summer Games. Should the NHL decide to send its players to compete in hockey at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, there is no question that Petrillo would be a valued asset for HNIC’s coverage of the event.