Hockey Night in Canada changes tune

Even though the Stanley Cup has been engraved with the 2008 Detroit Red Wings line-up, Canadian hockey fans still have something to rally around this summer. The Hockey Night in Canada theme song is on the verge of extinction.

The jingle that opens every Saturday night broadcast on CBC is likely the most recognized tune across our Nation with the exception of O’ Canada. It was written in 1968 by Delores Claman and not surprisely has become one of the most popular ringtone downloads among Canadian males. Mark Evans blogged this morning about CBC’s plans to phase it out and a Vancouver-based campaign to save the song.

So, it’s a bit of a puzzler that the CBC has decided to walk away from “our song” after declining to renew the $20,000/year licensing rights – the day after the sublime Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. It’s probably some bean counter trying to save our national broadcaster a few bucks while forgetting that Hockey Night in Canada is, by far, the CBC’s most lucrative property. That’s saying something given the, um, commercial mediocrity of many CBC shows.

With the theme song in peril, it’s encouraging to see that people are trying to use the Web to save it.

GiveMeaning, which helps people raises money for all kinds of great charitable causes, is now running a campaign to raise $20,000 – the licensing cost for one year. While it would be an impressive accomplishment if $20,000 was raised, the fact this campaign exists gives you everything you need to know about how some people feel about the theme song.

Of course, there is more to the story. A story in the Toronto Star today suggests the CBC’s move stems from a $2.5-million lawsuit that Claman launched against the CBC four years ago that apparently has to do with ringtone royalties.