Hazy Future for "Hockey Night in Canada" Theme Song
Dolores Claman’s Hockey Night in Canada theme song is so famous that some refer to it as Canada’s second national anthem. But the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (which has been playing the jingle since 1968, at a cost of $500 per play!) is looking for new music.
What happens to theme songs that no one wants anymore? In Canada, the tune is so closely associated with hockey that it will likely never be used for any other purpose. I could see it being appropriated by a T.V. show in the growing Asian media market. Maybe Hockey Night in Canada can trade theme songs with another program. In any case, last night’s Stanley Cup Final could well have been its last official play on Canadian airwaves.
Update: Its almost official. Copyright Music & Visuals, the company that owns the rights to the theme song, earlier today published the following report: "Effective immediately following the last playoff game of this season the CBC will cease using the Hockey Night in Canada theme."
Update #2: In a strange turn of events, CTV -- home of Lost, Gossip Girl, and So You Think You Can Dance -- has bought the rights for the Hockey Night Theme.
The future of Hockey Night in Canada's theme song is in limbo.
The agency that represents the song's composer said Thursday that the CBC will no longer use the familiar hockey anthem, but the head of CBC Sports says the song hasn't been shelved yet.
"Our negotiations continue and if we can do a deal for the theme that's reasonable for both sides, we'll do it, it's a great theme," CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore said in a phone interview. "If we can't, then we have an alternate direction that we're excited about and that I think will create controversy and create excitement amongst Canadians.
"But certainly our first choice would be to keep the theme as it is."
The licence agreement CBC had with composer Dolores Claman ended with this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, which wrapped up Wednesday night.
John Ciccone, whose company Copyright Music & Visuals controls use of the song, said he was given a deadline of noon Wednesday to reach a new agreement. Ciccone said the CBC sent him an e-mail later in the afternoon telling him they would not renew the contract.
"We looked at it every different way we could," he said. "Whatever it takes, let's try and come up with something."
Moore said that he was scheduled to speak with Ciccone later Thursday.
It didn't take long for the public outcry to pick up steam at the possibility of a theme change. The story was a hot topic at the water cooler, on radio phone-in shows - some politicians even weighed in with their reaction.
"I think it's great that people are that passionate about Hockey Night in Canada," Moore said. "We know that they are and we think that we have the best hockey broadcast in the country.
"It's a great tradition."
It cost the public broadcaster about $500 every time it used the theme, but Ciccone doesn't think the issue is money. One of the ideas Ciccone said he offered involved maintaining the same contract for two years, then increasing the rates by about 15 per cent, an increase he calls an industry standard.
Claman could not be reached for comment but released a statement on the website hockeytheme.com.
"I am saddened by the decision of the CBC to drop the Hockey Night in Canada theme after our lengthy history together. I nevertheless respect its right to move in a new direction."
Claman wrote the song in 1968 after it was commissioned by McLaren Advertising. The company was looking for something big, adventurous and brave to go with the broadcast.
Despite going through numerous rearrangements, the jingle has become one of Canada's most recognized tunes.