As the lead play-by-play announcer for Hockey Night in Canada, Jim Hughson knows sports. His storied broadcasting career has included highlights such as calling the ’92 and ’93 World Series and Wayne Gretzky’s last game on the ice. But when the NHL Playoffs come to a close, Hughson will be spending time on British Columbia’s Green Lake, kicking back and clearing his head of all those stats—well, mostly.
Cottage Life: With hockey being such a strong passion of yours, would people be wrong to assume winter is your favourite season?
Jim Hughson: Like most Canadians, I can’t wait for summer. We talk weather and hockey in Canada and in the spring it’s playoffs and good weather, and I can’t wait to get to the lake. I check the weather forecast for my cottage on Green Lake almost daily in the spring.
CL: For most people, there’s lots of early spring anticipation and thinking about the cottage well before they actually get up there. For you, playoffs are starting. Does that affect how early the cottage gets opened?
JH: We do open later than most people at our lake; I’ll be the last dock in this spring, though opening up at our place is simply turning the key and firing up the hot water tank. As soon as the playoffs are over I’ll sneak away to Green Lake and spend some time sweeping away a few cobwebs—from the cabin and my brain.
CL: Generally, the cottage is a place to unwind and disconnect from the outside world. Are you happy to forget about hockey for a couple of months?
JH: I’ve found it’s best to not lose touch. If I weren’t working the cup final, I’d be at Green Lake watching it. I don’t rest easy if I don’t know what’s going on around my work, so I spend time on the internet before everyone else is up in the morning, then I can relax and enjoy the day without them knowing otherwise. I also don’t like to miss big events like the British Open, and I love baseball. If I’m at the lake by myself, the TV is always on so I can stick my head in and see how the Jays are doing. For me, it’s okay to combine technology and solitude. I can swing in the hammock with a good book and then catch the ninth inning, it works for me.
CL: You spend a lot of hockey season travelling back and forth from Vancouver to Toronto. Does that affect how much you feel like travelling up to the cottage?
JH: No, I love to travel to the lake. The drive from Vancouver to Green Lake—through the Fraser Canyon, alongside the Fraser River, then the Thompson River— is one of the most scenic ever; I never get tired of it.
CL: Lots of cottages have family traditions. So what about yours?
JH: There’s a bay at the north end of Green Lake hidden behind an island where the water is about 40-ft deep and you can see your shadow on the bottom. My kids named it Lone Loon Bay and anytime we’re all together or have company, we spend at least one afternoon anchoring and tying the boats together for a bit of swimming there.
The view from Hughson’s cabin on Green Lake.