'Hockey Night in Canada' changing its tune

It’s been hailed “Canada’s second national anthem” but the Hockey Night in Canada theme may have had its swan song last night as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup final.

According to John Ciccone, president of Copyright Music & Visual, CBC has rejected a new licensing agreement for the song in order to “move in a new direction.”

In a news release posted on its website, the Toronto company that controls copyright to the song said they offered the public broadcaster a new license on terms “virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade.” The current contract ended with the conclusion of the NHL playoffs and cost the CBC about $500 per game broadcast.

The statement goes on to say the CBC “has advised the composer, owner and administrator of the musical composition that it is not prepared to enter into a new license agreement with respect to the use of the theme.”

The Hockey Night in Canada theme song was written by Dolores Claman in 1968 and became one of the longest-running theme songs in broadcasting history.

As quoted in the news release, Claman expresses her disappointment: “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 filed a lawsuit against the CBC in 2004, charging the broadcaster with overusing the Hockey Night in Canada theme. The suit has not been settled but Copyright Music & Visuals says the litigation has not interfered with the CBC’s use of the music, nor was settlement of the suit a condition for the proposed new licensing agreement.

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