Jill Sorenson is one of the most respected and beloved hockey reporters in the area, but she will not be returning to CSN Mid-Atlantic next season.
According to multiple sources who asked not to be identified, Sorenson was let go by CSN Mid-Atlantic on Monday ahead of her multi-year contract expiring at the end of the year.
Sorenson confirmed the news in a message, but had no comment on her departure.
Sorenson has been an on-air talent for 19 years. The two-time Emmy winner first joined Comcast SportsNet in 2005 after serving as a news anchor and reporter for FOX 5 (Washington’s WTTG-TV), where she won an Associated Press Award for her reporting. Before her one-year run at FOX, Sorenson served as a sports anchor and reporter for NBC 4 (WRC-TV) from 2000 to 2004, where she covered the Capitals and claimed an Emmy Award for best sports series in 2000. Sorenson got her start in TV at WDIO-TV (ABC) in Duluth, Minnesota.
During her 12-year run at CSN Mid-Atlantic, Sorenson was one of the most visible hockey personalities on the network, serving a variety of crucial on-air roles. Sorenson interviewed players before and after games, put together captivating stories from practice, and served as a sideline reporter. She also hosted and contributed to Capitals Pregame Live and Capitals Postgame Live, sometimes filling in as an anchor for SportsNet Central. Sorenson’s positivity, intelligence, and quick wit gave her chemistry with seemingly everyone she worked with.
Nicknamed The Sasha Whisperer after a one-on-one interview with Alex Semin, Sorenson, a mother of two, covered every game of the Alex Ovechkin era.
When news of her departure made its rounds at CSN’s Bethesda campus, I’m told many of Sorenson’s co-workers were shocked and dismayed.
“She was a consummate professional, always prepared, well-respected, a pleasure to work with, and we’ll miss her for sure,” one co-worker said. “She was really cool behind the scenes, and didn’t have that big time attitude of ‘I’m on air and you’re not’ type of thing.”
Sorenson had pressed CSN multiple times during the year if she would get an extension, but the company, as one source put it, “strung her along.” Monday, Sorenson received the news that she would not be returning at approximately 2:30 PM on Monday.
“Jill could do it all. I hope she knows how much I loved working with her,” another co-worker added.
In October 2016, CSN Mid-Atlantic announced a new long-term broadcasting rights deal with Ted Leonsis’s Monumental Sports & Entertainment to air Capitals and Wizards games for the foreseeable future. In what a joint press release called “an innovative cross-equity and leadership structure,” MSE received an ownership stake in CSN Mid-Atlantic and representation on the network’s board of directors. Meanwhile NBC Universal took an equity stake in Monumental Sports Network, an over-the-top subscription service which airs Hershey Bears, South Carolina Stingrays, and Washington Mystics games.
Sorenson’s departure is not the only high-profile change the company has made this past year. In April, the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg reported that CSN Mid-Atlantic would not bring back Phil Chenier as color commentator for the Wizards’ 2017-18 season, a job he held for 33 years.
This summer, though, with Chenier’s contract set to expire, executives at CSN decided they should seek a fresh voice, although the decision didn’t become public until this week. Working with Monumental Sports & Entertainment, they created a new job for Chenier spanning multiple organizations. He’ll be a CSN studio analyst on pre- and postgame shows and other content, will sit in on occasional three-man booths, will do on-air work with Monumental Sports Network (including content focused around the upcoming 40th anniversary of the team’s only title), and will serve as an alumni ambassador and a representative for the team’s alumni operation. He’ll remain on the broadcasts through the rest of this season, and for CSN’s first-round playoff broadcasts.
Not only was Sorenson good at her job, she was also a good person. She was supportive of RMNB and many of the new media sites that covered the Capitals. She did tremendous first-person reporting and was quick to credit other peoples’ work and ideas on television. Jill’s reporting was top notch because of the positive and collaborative relationships she forged with players and Capitals personnel.
On a personal note, I looked up to Sorenson as an amateur reporter myself. Thanks you for all your hard work and dedication, Jill. You will be missed.
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RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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