No More Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song

Comments 38 by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s as Canadian as beaver pelts and Bruni Gerussi and more people can keep up with its tune than our National Anthem. However, the CBC announced recently that it will not be renewing the Hockey Night in Canada theme.

One of this country’s most familiar tunes may have been heard on CBC-TV for the last time Wednesday night when the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins and won the 2008 Stanley Cup.

The Toronto agency representing the composer of the theme tune for Hockey Night in Canada says the CBC has declined to enter into a new licensing agreement for the song for next NHL season. [CBC]

In disbelief, many Canadians are shocked, outraged, and there is a huge reaction from the blogosphere. One of my teammates from January’s Test the Nation is even starting a petition:

If ever there was a sign that the CBC has lost touch with Canada, this is it… …are they mad? No, really. Are they mad? I mean, I know no one watches the CBC, but I thought that was a bad thing, not something to be encouraged by screwing with one of the few bankable properties the Corp actually owns. [There is a petition you can sign at the bottom of this post at Nunc Scio]

There are copyright issues, legal battles etc. but when it boils down to it, I truly think this tune belongs to all Canadians. When I hear the scratchy, “Hello Canada, and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland,” intro I get chills. The tune kicks in and you know you’re setting in for a great night of hockey. There’s a even a Facebook Group dedicated to make the HNIC theme the song for medal ceremonies at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

If you’d like to keep the song on air, sign a petition, write a blog post, create a Facebook Group and let your voice as a hockey fan and a Canadian be heard.

Update: “Contrary to published reports, CBC Sports hasn’t yet pulled the plug on the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.

Scott Moore, the executive director of CBC Sports, told Newsworld on Thursday that negotiations for a new licence fee are ongoing with the representatives of composer Dolores Claman.

“We’ve been reaching out to [Claman] and her representative, and haven’t heard back,” Moore said. “We’re prepared to do a deal, we’re prepared to talk, but we’re not prepared to do a deal at all costs.” – [CBC Sports]

Update: CTV buys the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song: “Like an aggressive team snapping up a rival’s top player, Canada’s CTV television network has acquired rights to the “Hockey Night” jingle that has traditionally opened hockey broadcasts on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The move, announced by CTV on Monday, is a major blow for public broadcaster CBC, where the theme has acquired iconic status as the opening for Saturday “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts of National Hockey League games since 1968.” [Reuters]

Update: CTV/TSN buys the HNIC theme song “in perpetuity” [InsideTheCBC]

Stephen Colbert even chimes in about ownership:

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38 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. JasonThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 10:03am PST

    Its quite sad to see CBC’s sports dept. demise really. I was never really a fan of their programming outside of NHL and CFL. First was Cuthbert, then the CFL and now their staple? Their trademark? It won’t be the same.

    (Incidentally, the theme’s been my ringtone for 2+ years now — I’d gladly pay my license fee every few years 🙂

  2. Duane StoreyThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 10:39am PST

    It might not be related to CBC at all though, right? I mean, the guy has a monopoly on the song, maybe he asked for a price that just wasn’t in the budget.

  3. HezThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 11:10am PST

    Oh noes! When I went to a taping of David Letterman’s show, that was what I asked before the show started during the Q&A – could Paul and the band play the HNIC theme for me.

    I haz a sad now.

  4. zonaThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 11:10am PST

    Idiots. They have the $$. I mean it’s already Hockey Night in Toronto because they get to show that game cheap. They tried to cut Don and Ron loose too at one point. I probably have only one more season in Canada anyway but it really pisses me off.

  5. Miss604Thursday, June 5th, 2008 — 11:11am PST

    @Duane, here are some of the $$ details: “Copyright Music & Visuals says it had offered the CBC a chance to renew its licence to use her song on terms that were “virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade.” Each use of the song in the past has cost the broadcaster about $500, the company says”

  6. ChrisThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 11:33am PST

    I can’t imagine HNiC without the theme. It’s synonymous with the NFL on Fox theme (or the Friday Night Football on TSN theme – a personal fave of mine) and imagine the uproar if that was dropped like a hot potato.

    The CBC is really beginning to hurt my feelings.

  7. fotoeinsThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 12:02pm PST

    D’OH.

    I miss hearing the dulcet notes to this song, after having been introduced to the song long ago as a wae lad in the mid-70s.

  8. teflinjediThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 12:59pm PST

    That is just horrible. The 1970s verson of the tune is my ringtone as well. It is an intrinsically Canadian song. We Canadians in China use it as a way of recognizing each other. HNIC is making a big mistake!

  9. Doogie2KThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 1:14pm PST

    For me, it’s the 1988 version of the song (which they resurrected after a brief experimentation with a new recording) that stirs the soul. That song, and the incidental music derived therefrom, that they used throughout the 90s, were a staple of my childhood hockey viewing, and while I hope that CBC comes to its fucking senses, if nothing else, I’d settle for some other Canadian telecaster finding a new home for it. It wouldn’t be the same, it wouldn’t be “right,” but it’d be better than this ignoble ending. This song deserves to live on.

  10. colleenThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 1:20pm PST

    :O this is… inconceivable! And dumb. It’s costs HNIC $500 per use? Um. isn’t that a drop in the bucket in comparison to everything else that is required for HNIC to go live? come on!!
    Massive FAIL.

    i’s gonna blog about this one myself.

  11. buzz bishopThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 1:48pm PST

    I caught of a bit of a chat on Radio 1 at noon today. As of that time there had been no official statement from the CBC.

    This is all coming from the composer. It’s a negotiating tactic, similar to what a union would do when the employer is being uncooperative.

    Nothing is official, she’s just trying to stir the pot to get the public on her side so the Ceeb will come back to the table.

    It’ll get done, this is all just a part of the negotiation.

    That said, if it doesnt get done, I’m sure Stompin Tom would take $500 week and let us use the Hockey Song and it would be a fair trade.

  12. Much Ado Aboot Nothing | The Blog According to BuzzThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 2:56pm PST

    […] However, the CBC announced recently that it will not be renewing the Hockey Night in Canada theme. [Miss 604] CBC ditches Hockey Night in Canada theme! THIS WILL NOT STAND. Sign the petition! [Nunc […]

  13. GZ ExpatThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 3:15pm PST

    The update is encouraging.

  14. Chris D dot caThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 3:28pm PST

    Hopefully the CBC can reach a new deal. This theme is almost like a second national anthem for Canadians.

  15. GZ ExpatThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 3:55pm PST

    Teflinjedi said: We Canadians in China use it as a way of recognizing each other. HNIC is making a big mistake!

    I’m not Canadian, but it’s my ringtone as well. It’s not so much a Canadian song as it is the theme to hockey in general. Much like the ESPN Sportscenter or old Monday Night Football themes.

  16. BC Brit – Mark Cannon blogThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 4:28pm PST

    […] got particularly agitated about anything, but this seemed to touch an exposed nerve (check out Miss604. You can count on Rebecca to have the nations pulse firmly under her thumb). So, lighten up Canada […]

  17. teflonjediThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 5:17pm PST

    I was so disturbed I could not spell my own name right! 🙁

  18. Canada freaks out with a massive internet FAIL | Vancouver MetblogsThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 6:40pm PST

    […] The best blog post out there that I’ve seen on it is from Miss604 [m604]. […]

  19. Mr. Beer N. HockeyThursday, June 5th, 2008 — 7:58pm PST

    The HNIC theme music is a sack of crap. Stompin’ Tom Connors could use the cash more than Dolores. Hello out there, we’re on the air…

  20. GuinevereFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 6:24am PST

    That petition is blocked from in side CBC “Reason: The Websense category Sex is filtered.”

    Here’s an article about the theme song from insidethecbc.com. They quote this article back:

    http://www.insidethecbc.com/hnictheme

  21. labelmeableFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 7:33am PST

    Don’t fret too soon! I hear it IS coming back, it’s just the usual rigmarole of licensing contracts and negotiations. CBC has to license the song, the contract’s expired, so they’re in negotiations. it’s not over yet!

  22. ChristineFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 8:43am PST

    I am not a hockey fan. In fact I can’t stand hockey and I think we would be better off without no hockey at all forever.

    But…. even I know that song!

    That just proves that their theme song is great marketing. If I’m going to have to go to friends house or a pub and have to sit in a room with a hockey game on, at least give me the pleasure of hearing the theme song! What else could replace it?

  23. Abandoned Stuff by Saskboy » Blog Archive » Copyright Puck to the HeadFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 10:07am PST

    […] You can Digg this post by Nunc Scio. Hockey nut Miss 604 of course writes about this too. Sphere: Related […]

  24. RayFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 1:01pm PST

    If CBC is willing to give up on the HNIC theme song they should also give up the right to broadcast any further NHL games. The song has been a standard by which many Canadians have spent their cold winter Saturday nights. It is a melody that is recognized and responded to by TRUE Canadians. I have personally experienced impromptu versions of the song in the Caribbean, Europe, and many spots in the US. It is a song that unites Canadians and creates instant friendships. I find it difficult to believe that those who state “It’s time for a change” are true hockey fans or Canadians. Accept it or not, the theme is part of our heritage. So if you want to get rid of it, why not get rid of a few other Canadian symbols? How about we cut down every last maple tree from coast to coast? While we’re at it, those pesky beavers don’t serve any purpose either. Let’s shut down all the Tim Hortons. We as Canadians have become so complacent in our lack of identity and pride, and this is just another example.

    Has anyone asked any “Canadian” NHL’er what their view is on this matter? I’m sure they all grew up listening to it with their families and dreaming of someday making the Big Show.

  25. LorraineFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 4:13pm PST

    What the ….. is wrong with this country? We have so few things that really bind us together, this is one that we can not lose. Write, phone, email, blog…do it all. Long live OUR Hockey Night in Canada theme.

  26. buzzbishopFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 4:21pm PST

    NOW, it’s official. $100 000 to go to the writer of a new theme

    http://www.buzzbishop.com/blog/2008/06/06/hockey-night-in-canada-theme-cancelled/

  27. RobFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 5:52pm PST

    The tune is like the appetizer before a great steak dinner. It whets the appetite and gets you ready for the main course. I just might have to buy the CD.

  28. Chris D dot caFriday, June 6th, 2008 — 10:01pm PST

    It’s official – the CBC just announced that negotiations have failed. The theme is no more. 🙁

  29. Murray Kush – Red Deer, AlbertaSaturday, June 7th, 2008 — 8:41am PST

    Good Night CBC, you could screw up a one car Funeral!

    Stop the weak excuses of why you can not get this deal done, just do it!

    Daily CBC executives throw more money into less important issues and defend their actions so why is this so different?

    You might as well cut your other wrist and kill Coaches Corner as well; then I will certainly have no reason to watch CBC!

    I thought CBC was for people, once again the CBC executives have shown they truly do live in a vacuum and play nicely only with themselves!

    I am not sad, I am mad and you can be assured CBC is off my Christmas list, wake up CBC, wake up!

    CBC you have stepped on your tail one more time; I can hardly wait until our Government finally puts a stop to this waste, job well done, you should feel very proud of yourselves!

  30. Wes McLachlanSunday, June 8th, 2008 — 1:34am PST

    I am a dedicated sports nut who left Canada permanently in about 1971. Listened to and watched Hockey Night continually from about 1956. When I heard about this arguement on the BBC I tried to hear a recording of the music. Must say I found it rather dull and unmemorable though I must have heard it on trips home. Nonetheless I can understand people who have listened to it for 40 years continuously (bar strikes or lockouts) being nostalgic.

    Though it ain’t Mozart good lock to my country. Hope it don’t result in a Yank invasion as they are in to that at the moment.

  31. Wes McLachlanSunday, June 8th, 2008 — 1:35am PST

    I am a dedicated sports nut who left Canada permanently in about 1971. Listened to and watched Hockey Night continually from about 1956. When I heard about this arguement on the BBC I tried to hear a recording of the music. Must say I found it rather dull and unmemorable though I must have heard it on trips home. Nonetheless I can understand people who have listened to it for 40 years continuously (bar strikes or lockouts) being nostalgic.

    Though it ain’t Mozart good luck to my country. Hope it don’t result in a Yank invasion as they are in to that at the moment.

  32. ChrisMonday, June 9th, 2008 — 10:42am PST

    These morons have to get thier priorities inline. It should actually be our anthem

  33. JasonMonday, June 9th, 2008 — 3:36pm PST

    Yeah, CTV for the WIN. At least it will live on through TSN and the Olympics. I feel the song, while not larger than hockey, is certainly great enough to transcend networks. To me, this theme IS hockey!

    BTW, I heard Scott Moore (CBC Sports exec) on the Team late last week, trying to spin the story. His excuse on CBC’s reluctance to re-up the license deal on the theme is because the CBC doesn’t negotiate with person(s) who are suing them, and apparently Dolores Claman has an open case against them.

  34. soundbyteTuesday, June 10th, 2008 — 2:07pm PST

    It was a no win situation for the CBC. They let the song go, they lose and piss people off. Or, they lay out 2.5 – 3 MILLION DOLLARS of tax payers money to buy the rights, and they would have pissed people off.

  35. LynnWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 10:35am PST

    Did you know she let them use if for free for 15 yrs.. this lady is wonderful

  36. GaryWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 11:49am PST

    FYI, there is no such thing as “in perpetuity” insofar as Canadian copyright law is concerned; copyright lasts 50 years after the death of the author. See http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc/cs/C-42/bo-ga:l_I-gb:s_6//en#anchorbo-ga:l_I-gb:s_6.

  37. DavinWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 12:03pm PST

    Suggesting that the song belongs to Canadians because the CBC licensed it for so long is pretty ignorant in my opinion. Good for CTV, too bad so sad for CBC, and good for the composer for getting what they’re worth in the market place. It’s not often that composers can make a living in this day and age where intellectual property is respected less and false ownership is assumed by many.

  38. SWEETLOUISWednesday, September 3rd, 2008 — 2:00pm PST

    The guy has a monopoly on the song, maybe he asked for a price that just wasn’t in the budget.

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