The Stroumboulopouli

The Stroumboulopouli

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hockey Themes

This editorial cartoon appeared in the Globe and Mail on Saturday the 7th 0f June
Because it has George Stroumboulopoulos in it, we decided to talk about the HNIC theme drama.
I don't have any comments about the cartoon itself except to say I have heard George play piano
but never heard him play the pits before.

Na na Na na Na naaaa!
I thought hockey season was over when the Habs were out of the series. For me there was no need to focus on it until next season right? Wrong, because there was hockey contest happenings at The Hour to get you in box seats with George at a Leafs game (won by Stephanie Page of QC, Congrats to Stephanie and if you need a fourth person I am not doing anything that night) Also there was another hockey contest being announced by the CBC. A contest for composers to create a new Hockey Night in Canada theme song.
Lots of drama that involve music, money, and lack there of, sports, national pride and egos.

The story changes every day. Wikipedia seems to have it covered best though.

The theme was written in 1968 by Dolores Claman, the composer that laid a golden egg by creating the Hockey Night in Canada Theme music. Good for her. It's a very stirring piece that evokes a lot of emotions for hockey fanatics and hockey casuals alike. No question it stirs excitement and pride in the hearts of many Canadians and may make some Canadians thirsty for beer...

I like to peruse the non traditional news sources like insidethecbc for their take on the growing story. On the 5th of June they reported HNIC Theme use still being negotiated
On June 6 th they reported that It's Done: Hockey night in Canada theme is gone.
On June 9th it was being renegotiated and then the same day CTV just comes out like a sugar daddy and offers the musician what she wants. A ton of money honey. What was it 2.5 to 3 Million ? Yeah thanks CTV ! You saved it for all Canadians (that have cable and get TSN). Now each time I hear the theme I will remember what it cost, and what CBC lost. To me it feels a bit tainted now. But to be honest I don't know how I will feel hearing the new theme brought about by a music contest.

You can let us know what you think of this musical drama or you can let the CBC or CTV know your views.

Now back to hockey The Hour style... no HNIC theme needed.


Adrian said...

The songwriter's daughter has opened up about the affair on her blog:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The Hockey Theme

I just wanted to thank you, on behalf of my mother, for your support of
the hockey theme. I also wanted you to know my side of the story,
because it's important to me. What I hope you will acknowledge is that
the CBC has had an exclusive media platform on which to air its side of
the story.

First, to clear up some misconceptions. For 25 years, CBC paid my mother
no license fees at all for the music. It was only in the last 15 years
that they began to pay any license fee at all.

Last week, after more than a year of CBC bullying, threatening and
endless changing of positions, we offered the CBC the following deal:
forget the lawsuit - just pay our legal fees (which we incurred because
of CBC's breach of usage as agreed in the license deal) and let's keep
the same licensing deal as before. That's it...same as before. $500 per
episode of HNIC. They did not accept.

They kept bullying us, telling us the song was worthless, threatening to
drop the song altogether if we didn't give them exactly what they
wanted, absolutely on their terms. If not, they'd hold a national
contest and replace the song. Honestly, it became increasingly clear to
us that this was their plan all along - to offer deals that were
impossible for us to accept, so they would have the excuse to drop the
song without being blamed for doing it. On Thursday, they sent us an
email rejecting the offer and saying that it was sad we could not come
to an agreement.

Then on Friday, Scott Moore of the CBC announced the Song Contest to
replace the theme. So, it was clear, for sure, that this was over for

My belief is that when it started to become clear to the CBC that the
public wasn't happy with their decision, they announced that they would
negotiate further. Frankly, my mother was so depressed, she just said -
no, they don't really want the song. It's better at least if it dies a
dignified death.

When CTV made an offer, they promised that they'd use the song, and
they'd use it in association with Canadian hockey. Of all the things,
this mattered most to my mother.

I know you are probably upset that we didn't resolve our differences
with the CBC, but no matter what they say publicly, they really,
clearly, didn't give a shit about the theme. Their only concern was they
should not be seen to be the villains in getting rid of it. My mother
became a very convenient scapegoat.

To a composer, their music is like their baby - they don't want to see
it buried, or forgotten, or sidelined. And my mother, being a rather
strong woman, just wasn't willing to be bullied and threatened any more.
A lot of people are going to call her greedy and opportunistic. Well,
they just don't know her at all. It's going to sound trite if I say that
"it wasn't about the money". But ask any composer of music if they want
to see their work buried, and never played again. It's easy to focus on
the money. But it was never, ever about the money. Life, and people, are
just a lot more complex than that.

That's my side of the story, for what it's worth.

Madeleine Morris

Barbara said...

Thank you adrian for sharing that. Good to hear from a close source with their of view on this story.

Adrian said...

D'accord. The blog post by Madeleine Morris is a welcome addition to the public record.

Jenuine said...

It's always good to hear the other side of a story, and if accurate, good for Delores!
Sad to see it change hands from CBC (tradition, and all), bizarre they wouldn't take her final deal & bewildered by their behavior/bullying tactics.
It would seem that Corporate Canada is climbing higher on the trail behind Corporate America.
It's no wonder they're ducking from this public avalanche.

Anonymous said...

There are three versions to every story. In this case, we've heard the CBC's version and now here we have Ms. Morris' version. The third version is the truth, which is somewhere in between.

George was right on last night's show, the CBC would be damned, no matter what.

Anonymous said...

I don't think CBC "lost" the song. If they really cared about it, and actually did recognize its importance to Canadians they would have paid her what she wanted, instead of spending millions on game shows from the U.S.A. How can they complain that it was too expensive to keep a piece of canadiana and still justify them poneying up the dough for Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune?

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone seem to give such high praise to stroumboulopoulos? Has anyone noticed that on George's 'myspace'page his mood status is set to 'evil', with a subtitle,'evil lurks'? I have come to believe him, that HE IS EVIL! This makes George the anti-christ! Who is only motivated by money and fame and who ever he can get to suck on his little bit of 'goodness'! Sell the CBC and sell George to his first love, HOLLYWOOD USA!

Jenuine said...

Anon 12:14
Anti-Christ? Really?

I would normally say wtf is up with that, but this blog's theme IS:

"Rant, Rave & Rally for all things George & The Hour"

so you're entirely welcome to your opinions, but I really don't think you'll get much support from a blog promoting him & the show.

Yours truly,
Maleficent, Mistress of All Evil.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone but George knows his motivations. If his blog or myspace or whatever says that - I think it's probably just one of those silly things people say to sound cool. He seems lovely, energetic, youthful, a thinker, passionate, and having almost a boyish play in dressing up in black, heavy metal, & all things associated with that. He'd probably think it's cool to be called the anti-christ :)

Barbara said...

Evil Lurks is about what the new trend in music will be according to George... it's just a forecast about the kind of music George likes...
I could testify what a good man George is in real life but I don't want to embarrass the guy any more that I have to.

Steph A. said...

Thank you Adrian for the information regarding the former HNIC theme song. Anon @ 6:53 you are quite right. There are three sides to every story: Side A, Side B and somewhere in the middle of those two, the truth.

Anon @ 12:14: I would not read much into the "evil" moniker with regard to George. I will defer to the observations of my 66 year old mother...on two occasions in the past six months, my mom has accompanied me to a taping of The Hour. After both tapings she has had nothing but praise for the show's host. In describing her interactions with George she will tell you that he was polite, charming, respectful, friendly and genuine. Evil? Not so much. :)

Anonymous said...

Some of you people are delousional to think the world of someone who classifies themselves as evil. For anyone to think it would be 'cool' to be called the anti-christ, well it's called dumdfukmentaity! Evil lurking? A music trend? Please, get this jerk off the air! The world desperately needs good role models, not someone who advocates evil!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:02 It's hard to tell if you're joking or just really like playing around with such extreme statements about people.

You seem kinda extreme, but we're all trying to be compassionate to you. Take the olive branch!

Barbara said...

Anon 1:02 do you even watch the show?
The Hour showcases people who do wonderful things in this world. The show has has interviews with people who work for organizations like Rights to Play,War Child and subjects like"An Imperfect Offering", and how humanitarian aid can best be provided in war-torn countries.
International Development Enterprises was talked about this week as was Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism.
So many people taking action to help this world at this time are all featured on The Hour sharing their ideas. George himself is a spokesman for Make Poverty History and you will be seeing the ads for that soon...
Many people and their parents who have met him will tell you the same thing, that George is a very nice person. I can tell you George is a good soul.
We all have that 'good' and 'evil' stuff inside us and it's about what we chose to do with it.
Now it would be nice if everyone would choose to be nice.
What a good place this world would be.

Anonymous said...

To make an assessment of someone's character who I imagine you do not know - based on a Myspace mood setting? Holy giant leap ANON. To me, THAT is what sounds delusional or if we go by your spelling "delousional" - implying that people who like George have lice? Thank you for alerting folks
why they should just say no to Strombo.

Now I am freaked. Can someone come over to my place and help me check my hair for nits with those little sticks? THANK YOU anon 1:02 - you rock!

Anonymous said...

BARB, could you explain further to your comment posted 11:55. "it's a forecast of the kind of music George likes"...What do you mean by a music trend? My next comment may get some of you Strombo fans upset, but remember not that long ago a young person either committed suicide or killed someone and blamed their actions on the heavy metal music they were listening to? Thoses in the public eye need to be careful how they enfluence their followers! As for the CBC supporting worthy causes, keep in mind TV programs & their hosts rely on ratings!? I've seen the latest 'end poverty' advertisment. What I want to know is, why spend another million or so dollars on a new ad, when they could run previous ads, and actually put that money towards fighting poverty? Where are the results? I find it hard to listen to rich people want to fight poverty with words, when their careers made them rich, from writing! Remember that old saying, "action speaks louder then words"...

Armies of Music Lovers Unite said...

Barb, I'd like to invite you to check out our new blog and share your insight on the hot topic of...'evil lurks' a music trend. I'm working on a piece right now about how music is the universal language of love.

Barbara said...

I am no expert on music but I like what I like.
You could call in the Strombo show on Sunday and ask George about the kind of music he likes... He is free to like any kind of music he wants and express that!No one has to follow what George likes but they are forever asking him so he tells 'em. It's a conversation about music nothing more.
'Evil' is just a label like 'heavy' or 'punk' nothing to get excited about. Why are we speculating about a speculation anyway?
George has introduced some music I now love (like Yoav,Rancid,Arcade Fire, System of a Down and Dame )and some music I don't want to hear again (that is a longer list) but that is his job as a radio presenter; play and talk about the music and let the people decide for themselves.

Adrian said...

There are three sides to every triangle, but not three sides to every story.

For such a simplistic notion to hold true, there’d have to be no verifiable facts in a case, and, both parties to a dispute would have to be not fully forthright in their detailing of such facts.

Of course, countless cases - from small claims, divorce courts etc. on up to the Supreme Court - demonstrate that some people lie a lot, some tell the whole truth, and, some fall in the spectrum between.

It’s the role of a responsible journalist to sort through the facts of a matter and ally themselves with the truth, in the public interest.

Charles Campbell, former editor of the Vancouver arts weekly The Georgia Straight, (the equivalent to the Now or Eye weeklies in Toronto, The Coast in Halifax and others across the land), writes:

“It's nearly 20 years ago now, but Dolores Claman had to fight for such basic respect as a credit at the end of HNIC. They begrudged her that, while listing the name of every gaffer and knob-twiddler who worked on the show.”

Mr. Campbell, concludes: “I don't think the media coverage so far properly conveys the lack of respect CBC has shown for Dolores over the years.”

I love hockey and I love the CBC. Naturally this story has my attention. And, it’s distressing for I hold to the view that people are deserving of respect, personally and professionally.

As someone who works in the music industry, it does not surprise me to learn of a mainstream record label disrespecting and/or not paying a creator their due. But, it’s not something I expect our national public broadcaster to do.

Perhaps George can revisit this issue - when the snow has settled.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think Claman loved every moment of holding the CBC hostage and rejoiced when she could one up the corporation with her demands and then when she was able to slap them in the face with selling out to CTV. Yes, that's right, I think she sold out to CTV. Face it, the song is now tainted. It will never have the glory it did before. Good. I thought it was great when it became available for sale on iTunes. I've now deleted it from my library because the song is ruined. Sure the CBC can have some of the blame, but I strongly believe Claman planned this all along.

Adrian said...

Twenty-five years of non-licensed use, (of which 20 years included no credit), followed by 15 years of contested payments. That Ms. Claman is one wily negotiator. She set a 40 year trap for the CBC.

By jove, anonymous, you've got it!

Anonymous said...

Amazingly witty in your sarcasm, adrian. Really. Don't quit your day job. Good job missing the point. The 25 years is only the backstory to the negotiations, nothing more. It's obvious that because of the previous issues with the CBC, Claman decided she had enough and set out through the negotiations to pay back the CBC, humiliate them and ultimately ruin the song that has so heavily branded hockey coverage on the CBC. Yes, I think this whole thing was Claman's form of payback and retaliation for all those years of being "used and abused". There is no way in hell CTV came in at the last minute and negotiated an agreement, it's impossible to negotiate that big of a deal in a matter of hours. Sorry. The whole situation reeks. Claman was talking to CTV long before the talks broke down. That is another reason why I believe Claman wanted nothing more than to retaliate against the CBC. And before you get up my ass about not supporting musicians and all that. I do support them. Just not this one.

Anonymous said...

CBC is not exactly a gentle giant there anon. They may be a public broadcaster but don't forget that Corporation is still part of the name. It's a business. What does it matter if CTV came in and stirred things up. Had the artist been treated fairly and had a good relationship with CBC no one would have been able to coax her away. I'm grateful and proud that we have the CBC but I hold no illusions that it is some sort of victim in this situation.


Adrian said...

I enjoy Gunpowder, Treason and Plot conspiracies as much as anybody. However, a reading of the case history points to a more appropriate literary reference: never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

Hockey Night in Canada Litigation notes that: “On May 29, 2008 a mediation was conducted before former Ontario Superior Court Justice George Adams. The mediation did not result in a resolution of the legal proceeding.”

Within days of that failed mediation, we all heard the news about the Hockey Theme song dispute, the “ultimate Canadian Idol” contest, and, within a few more days, the Hockey Theme song moving to CTV.

Tony Agostini, Senior Director of TV Network Sports, in his sworn testimony ~ Examination for Discovery Transcript #1 and Examination for Discovery Transcript #2 acknowledges years of unauthorized and not properly paid usages (for the NHL”s Centre Ice Package and various other broadcasts) of Dolores Claman’s song.

The CBC Sports team would, and should, never allow it’s HNIC brand to be so misused, yet, based on a reading of the transcript testimony, it didn’t give a rink rat’s ass about so violating Ms. Claman’s rights.

A central rationale, as stated in Mr. Agostini’s examination for discovery, for these repeated violations is that the CBC believed it would eventually make such agreements and/or may legally required payments to Ms. Claman. All at some unspecified date - which has never arrived.

Wouldn’t we all be happy if we could not pay our rent, not make our loan payments, not pay our mortgages, or fail to meet any other of our legal/financial commitments - and wave such non-payment off, when the landlord or bill collectors arrive, by saying, “Hey, I plan to pay you some day. Just wait another - well, I can’t tell you how many - but, years and years.” Do you move into your new condo or house before you buy it, or drive a car off the lot, telling the rightful owner - “Hey, I’ll sign an agreement and/or pay you some day. I’m just going to live here, drive this, use this - until that day comes.”

What world do you live in, anonymous #1, where such behaviour is applauded, and then used to attack the injured party?

Steph A. said...

This week's Macleans magazine has a cover story about "the CBC letting its flagship (HNIC) sink"

Check it out at

Anonymous said...

My name is John Ciccone and I've been taking care of the copyright in the Hockey Theme song for 15 years.

For anyone who might be curious, I've posted an open letter at (click on "Important Announcement"). Every effort's been made to provide specific details and facts sometimes omitted from accounts of the story.

The reader is encouraged to look for *both* sides of the story, formulate their opinion, and express them. I will continue to make myself available to answer any questions you might have.

A couple of points, if I may:

Anonymous, having personally experienced the last six hideous years, I cannot see where you derive your info from. As a public forum, I'd like to say that I take exception to your theory that "Claman loved every moment of holding the CBC hostage..."

Dolores spent the better part of her 70's being ignored, offended and threatened by the CBC. The CBC has now *admitted* to claims in the litigation under oath. (Transcripts of these discover examinations are a matter of public record. Anyone can access them. Please do. You might be shocked.) I do not know how anyone could've "loved" that.

I was on the phone with Dolores in 1993 when I pointed out that she'd been entitled to 25 years of royalties that the CBC did not pay (confirmed in Mclean's by one of the first HNIC producers, Ralph Melanby). I heard Dolores' response which was "Oh. My. Well, no. I should’ve known. I’m not going to hold someone else responsible for my lack of knowledge. Why don’t we just see if we can all agree on a fair license fee and move forward in a friendly way”.

The greedy person you’re trying to paint would’ve said “Let me find a lawyer. I’ve just hit the lottery.” She didn’t even ask to sleep on it. She decided on the spot.

As for me, even if I received 100% commission, 100% of zero is zero. I not only fully supported her decision, I was proud to represent that decision. It’s the good part of humanity.

This forgiving of 25 years in conjunction with being comfortable with $400 - $500 per 3-hour game exemplifies how Dolores is nothing short of gracious, compassionate and fair. During these 6 years of this CBC nightmare it has indeed crossed my mind that maybe they thought she could be kicked around more easily given her amicable disposition.

These days, it sometimes seems that there are more people with the propensity to win big at all costs. Or to hurt or take advantage of others. So when you meet a one-in-a-million person like Dolores, it kind of picks your spirits up. Over the years I’ve seen countless displays of quiet generosity and charity from that woman. When someone paints her as the opposite, with no basis of fact or reality, it’s just as crushing to one’s spirit.

Anonymous, since I know first hand all facts, I know that you do not. I'd once again encourage you to keep asking questions, then voice your opinions.

Anonymous said...

PS: to be clear, my reference above to being threatened pertains to years of threats to drop the song, or to replace it by holding a national contest to find a new theme, etc.

Adrian said...

Thanks, Steph. A, for the link to that informative article. And, thanks Mr. Ciccone for your explanations.

Going in a different direction, but, one that is fascinating in its own right, is Hockey theme song taps Canadians' primal needs - a piece which begins:

"Every time you share a pint with a pal, win the lottery or have sex, a liquid chemical floods the brain, stimulating the grey matter scientists link to feeling good and a sense of reward.

"And, if you are Canadian, chances are the same thing happens when you hear the former theme song of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

"At least, that's one scientific way of explaining why nearly an entire nation expressed such deep loss when the public broadcaster dropped 'Canada's second national anthem' after a weekend battle of copyright chicken."

Further:" To Levitin, the tinny-sounding, fanfaring jingle helps illustrate more than the significance of cultural touchstones, it actually emphasizes the evolutionary role music plays in human history. Simply put, over 100,000 years of evolution, humankind has selected music as an important form of communicating emotion, says Levitin."

Reminding me of the Oscar Wilde quote, about a cynic being a person who knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing - I trust the value of music in our lives is something upon which we can all agree!

Tracy said...

This might not be the popular view, but here goes. Yes, I like hockey fine but I am not obsessed by it. However, my Peter Puck Halloween costume when I was 8 DID
kick butt - thanks Dad.

The theme is a highly recognizable part of the game, part of the celebration of the night and the experience of getting together with friends and family to watch the game. It's part of the Canadian experience. Cool.

In talkng with friends though we wondered aloud - imagine how great it would be if the same kind of passion, attention and fervour could be harnessed to focus on other pervasive issues such as violence in our communities, helping the disenfranchised and many other worthy causes.

As Canadians, we're often too complacent and polite. I am intrigued by the intense focus on a common goal (no pun intended) with this HNIC uproar and wonder if this kind of 'community' effort could be ignited again to make a palpable and meaningful impact elsewhere?

Ok folks, drop the puck. Am I in the penalty box?

Mich said...


I absolutely agree. Imagine the good that could be accomplished if only that vigour and passion could be harnessed.

I'm not saying that it's wrong to be upset by the outcome, change is always hard particularly when it's something so ingrained in our culture and psyche. I know I have my passions that I'd be crazily upset if they were to change hands or disappear. I see blame on both sides, but now that doesn't really matter and I guess because it's a done deal I just think it's time to refocus. But that's just me.

Maybe it was just time for a change and maybe now we'll find a fresh, young, up and coming composer who will deliver an even better anthem for HNIC. The possibilities are endless... and change isn't always a bad thing.

Mich said...

Press Release out today regarding the contest:

CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA announces Canada's Hockey Anthem Challenge
TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - CBC Sports today officially launched its search
for an all-new musical theme for its flagship sports broadcast CBC'S HOCKEY
"Between now and October, we invite musicians to create and everyone in
the country to help us select the perfect new music to represent the most
famous hockey broadcast in the world," says Scott Moore, executive director of
CBC Sports. "With Canada's Hockey Anthem Challenge, we will create a new theme
for the Hockey Nation, something that will tell the world what CBC's Hockey
Night In Canada is all about."
Along with the most sought-after musical bragging rights in the country,
the winning entry will receive $100,000 in cash. The songwriters will receive
half of the ongoing performance royalties, with the other half going to
Canadian minor league hockey.
"Our team of experts and judges will represent a cross-section of the
country's musical and hockey talent," Moore says. "We'll be making some more
announcements shortly about those personalities. We're going to create just
the right mix to ensure we come up with a winner that's both musically
exceptional and appealing to the all-Canadian hockey fan. The winning theme
will capture the essence of our national sport, provide a signpost for great
hockey programming and excite fans from coast to coast to coast."
Starting today and continuing until 11:59 p.m. ET on August 31, Canadians
will be able to submit their musical creations to CBC. Submissions will be
available for review and rating on the new Canada's Hockey Anthem Challenge
website at At least five semifinalists
will be presented to the country on a network television special on Saturday,
October 4. A panel of celebrity judges will weigh in with their
views-controversial or otherwise-after which Canadians will have a chance to
vote for their favourite.
The following week, two finalists will be revealed at the beginning of
CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA doubleheader on Thursday, Oct. 9 and fans will
have the opportunity to cast their vote for the ultimate winner. A new theme
for CBC'S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA will be revealed on Saturday, October 11th.
"Since we announced the search for a new hockey anthem on June 6, we've
been deluged with suggestions and requests," Moore says. "We think the next
couple of months are going to be right up there with the playoffs in terms of
excitement, passion, debate and controversy. Canadians have never been shy
about anything to do with hockey. This is going to be an event where hockey
history is made."
Competition Rules and Regulations will be available at: