Much has been written in the Canadian popular press in the last week respecting “The Hockey Night in Canada Theme”, sometimes called “The Hockey Theme” – the familiar music which has accompanied broadcasts of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Hockey Night in Canada” telecasts nearly every Saturday night during the hockey season, for the last 39 years. The music is well-known to most Canadians, hockey-lovers or not: it is frequently referred to “Canada’s Second National Anthem.”
Late last week, it appeared that negotiations to renew the recently expired license agreement between the CBC and Copyright Music and Visuals (agent for the rights-holder, Dolores Claman) fell through: Copyright Music and Visuals announced the CBC had elected not to renew their license, ending their long relationship with Claman. The popular press quickly picked up on the news: articles bemoaning the end of the long and storied history of the song on the CBC filled the weekend papers; hockey fans on radio call-in shows and on the internet grieved the loss of the song; Facebook groups were organized to prepare petitions for the “Preservation of the Hockey Night in Canada Theme”.
With a new week, came new hopes: on Monday morning, the CBC announced it had appointed a well-known entertainment lawyer to assist it in making a deal for a new licensing arrangement. Then, in a somewhat surprising move, rival network CTV (owner of the popular TSN and RDS sports stations) announced it had “saved” the song, completing a deal that, according to press reports, gives it the right to use the song “in perpetuity” in association with its NHL hockey broadcasts, as well as in association with its hockey coverage as part of the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games. Read more