Former ‘Leafs Lunch’ host Andi Petrillo trades airtime for we time: ‘I had to adjust my life balance’

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Andy Petrillo, who has talked about maple leafs as much as anyone on the planet in his time in the air, has decided to take a break.

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This week, the Toronto native stepped down after more than five years as host of TSN Radio’s “Leaf’s Lunch” — to focus on her other two jobs, and simply to take care of life. .

“I think it’s always good when you have a decision, but it’s bitter,” said Petrillo, 41, who announced the move on Twitter on Tuesday. “The people at TSN, the people I worked with and who I laughed with, that’s the hard part. But it’s a life choice that needs to be made.”

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Petrillo, whose broadcasting career began in 2004, was behind the mic for the popular show Leafs on all things Leafs since February 2016, when she became the first woman in Canada to have her own daily sports talk show.

In that time he has also served as a host on CBC’s coverage of the Olympics and as an analyst for OneSoccer.

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“When people talk about 50/50 and the balance between life and work, it’s like 90/10 here,” Petrillo said. “There are so many gatherings of family and friends that you can miss. There’s just so much time you can miss with my husband (Toronto FC goalkeeping coach John Conway). So I had to adjust my life balance.”

TSN Radio has not announced a replacement, but Julia Tocheri of TSN’s Bardown has been mentioned.

While Petrillo still plans to attend hockey shows, the first woman to work in a full-time studio role on “Hockey Night in Canada” acknowledges that women have a long way to go in their industry. A 2019 Ryerson study found that only five percent of sports radio voices across Canada were female.

However, Petrillo, who began her career in a food show before entering sports broadcasting by calling the Newmarket Hurricanes Games, notes that there are many women in the business working in other important roles.

Referring to Stephanie, he said, “We talk about women in front of the camera, like ‘If we can see this, so can we’… Apolito, one of her best friends and TSN A key member of the radio production crew.

Petrillo has worked with all of TSN’s high-profile hockey insiders.

“Her love for the Leafs was always obvious, yet she could maintain a balance,” said broadcaster and Star columnist Dave Paulin, one of those insiders, a “Leafs Lunch” regular. “Except when it came to Freddie Anderson. Zero Balance. Then she was just a fan.

“I also think that her overall knowledge of the game and its history was an important part of what she brought in. She was literally in the trenches, through junior hockey, through the minors and then through the leagues, and the sport. Her admiration was obvious. She was a teammate. A really good one.”

Petrillo has traveled the world in connection with sports: Haiti with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to deliver supplies after the devastating earthquake in 2010, and Afghanistan with former NHLers in support of Canadian troops.

It has left all sports radio formats in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Hamilton to TSN’s owner, Bell Media, while household names such as Dan O’Toole and Natasha Stanizewski have been dropped from the TV side.

Petrillo says it was difficult to see all the changes, but was not a factor in this week’s decision.

“I needed to take care of myself,” she says.

Mark Zwolinski is a Toronto-based sports reporter for Granthshala. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol
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