Yvon Pedneault Fired by RDS

Daniel BigrasCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2008

It’s always sad to see someone lose his job, especially when that person was working for that company for the past 10 years.

But most importantly, it’s sad to see the departure of someone that helped that company in its debut by sharing his reputation, his experience, and respect with this new television station—RDS, the French counterpart of TSN in Canada.

Yvon Pedneault, the famous French Canadian journalist, was inducted by his peers into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1998. It’s a great gift to someone so well known in the sports industry, in the hockey business. Yvon Pedneault is a monument in his line of work.

On Friday, July 18, RDS announced that Benoit Brunet, an ex-player of the Montreal Canadiens, will replace Yvon Pedneault as the broadcast analyst. Yvon Pedneault was not offered another position in the organisation.

Yvon’s contract ended on June 30, 2008—the same as the entire hockey broadcasting team. The entire team was renewed, except for Pedneault. He learned only recently that his contract was not going to be renewed, and that the television station had no future plans for him.

For those who don’t know, Pierre Houde and Yvon Pedneault have been analysing the hockey games for RDS for the past 19 and 10 years respectively. Another fact that many might not know is that they don’t always share the best of reputation amongst Canadiens fans—a very tough bunch.

My guess is that RDS felt a change was needed for this team and Yvon was easier to let go than Pierre. But it doesn’t matter if we like or not Yvon Pedneault.

The fact remains that he didn’t learn before his contract ended that it wouldn’t be renewed, and he didn’t know he would return to the television station that he helped at the beginning. RDS did not behave professionally in regard to its iconic broadcaster.

Why do I think that? Because I also work with contracts.

As a computer consultant I know the life of going from one contract to another. It’s unstable, it’s unsecure, and it’s difficult—but it’s manageable. And I don’t care if some people will say that it’s a cruel world, because there’s a work ethic that needs to be followed and respected.

RDS did not respect this ethic.  I really think they behaved like amateurs in this situation.

And don’t tell me that’s it’s the business world, because I work in it and I know how it works. As a contractor, you never want to be without a job for a long time, therefore you require that your employer warn you if your contract will not be renewed. If your employer is not telling you, you need to find out—it’s a matter of survival.

But when you look at the history of RDS, when you compare it to other television stations, when you compare its shows and broadcasts to other professional sports, it’s easy to see that RDS is still young in this business and they are making amateur mistakes—like the way they handled Yvon Pedneault.

Yvon made his own mistakes. Did he assume that his contract would be renewed? Of course he did. Was it a mistake? Obviously. Both RDS and Yvon Pedneault mishandled this situation.

While I really don’t agree with the disrespectful way they handled it, I do think that RDS needed to make some changes. 

Yvon Pedneault needed to be replaced as analyst during the hockey games.

Why did he need to be replaced? Because the pair of Pierre and Yvon did not fare well amongst THOUSANDS of Montreal Canadiens fans. Many will mention that they often used very weird expressions, and went on lengthy digressions while the puck was in play.

I guess RDS didn’t like the fact that many Web sites ridiculed the pair, that Facebook groups would have thousands of supporters against Pierre and Yvon, and dozens of videos on YouTube made fun of them—and made fun of RDS.

During games, in order to avoid listening to Pierre and Yvon, how many people found a way to listen to the CKAC radio broadcast while watching RDS on TV? Quite a few.

If you look at other professional broadcasts, who are the analysts during games? Many times they are ex-players or ex-coaches.

Before the Habs games were transferred to RDS, the analyst during hockey broadcasts at Radio-Canada was Gilles Tremblay, an ex-Montreal Canadiens player.

That’s why I agree with RDS's decision to hire an ex-NHL player as analyst.  Benoit Brunet was doing a good job as an analyst during game breaks, so I’m sure he will do a good job during the broadcast.

It just makes sense. The analyst for the Montreal Alouettes is an ex Alouettes player. It’s just the way it should work during sports broadcasts—if the ex-player/coach can handle himself behind the microphone, of course.

But the ends don’t always justify the means. And RDS’s means were a joke, even thought their reason was justified. I hope Yvon Pedneault finds himself a good situation in which to continue his career, and I hope that one day another French Canadian sports channel opens to compete with RDS, and force them to increase their quality.

Because when you compare RDS’s quality with English Canadian or American broadcasts, RDS looks like amateurs—in my book.