Lights Out for 'Hockey Night' Theme Song?

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

A dispute over the rights to the theme song for one of Canada's most popular television shows has sparked outrage north of the border. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is threatening to stop using the theme to "Hockey Night in Canada" if it can't resolve a dispute over payments to composer Dolores Claman. Claman's theme has been in place for 40 years and it's hugely popular. It's often called the second Canadian anthem.


(Soundbite of "Hockey Night in Canada" theme music)

SIEGEL: That music, the theme to "Hockey Night in Canada," first at the air waves in 1968.

(Soundbite of "Hockey Night in Canada" theme music)

SIEGEL: It's been heard just about every Saturday night in every hockey season ever since on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. But after 40 years a dispute over rights to the music could send the theme into retirement. Take our word for it, north of the border this is a very big deal. "Hockey Night in Canada," which features the game of the week, is a colossally successful TV program. The theme is often called Canada's second national anthem. A quick search on YouTube proves its popularity. We've found renditions by an orchestra in Kanata, Ontario...

(Soundbite of "Hockey Night in Canada" theme music)

SIEGEL: Canadian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights...

Unidentified Men: Hockey night in Syria!

(Soundbite of "Hockey Night in Canada" theme music)

SIEGEL: a ukulele master...

(Soundbite of "Hockey Night in Canada" theme music)

SIEGEL: ...and the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band.

(Soundbite of "Hockey Night in Canada" theme music)

SIEGEL: Also, there are videos of toddlers dancing. The list goes on and on.

(Soundbite of cymbals)

SIEGEL: This is actually a "Hockey Night in Canada" theme ring tone. News that the CBC might not re-up its contract with composer Dolores Claman is being taken kind of hard. One blog post says: more proof that the CBC is on crack. And one fan told the Detroit News: they must be joking, I've been telling people I want them to play that theme song at my funeral. Well, the dispute may not be easily resolved. Among other things, the CBC wants Claman to drop a $2.5 million lawsuit that accuses the network of overusing the theme. Pretty big story, eh?

(Soundbite of "Hockey Night in Canada" theme music)

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.