Ice Ice Baby

It is likely that the above editorial cartoon by the Globe and Mail's talented Anthony Jenkins will be baffling to non-Canadians — in fact it is too me as well, not because of the content but the context behind it.

Gallons of ink and tears have been spilled over the CBC's decision to walk away from the theme music of Hockey Night in Canada, a jingle that has been bizarrely lauded as Canada's "second national anthem."

I for one reject the notion that every Canadian is obsessed with the game and that our nation's greatest triumph came in 1972 when a Canadian team out-thugged the USSR. But there's little point in saying so — I can't deny the stranglehold that hockey holds on our culture. Even I can talk (sorta) about hockey and I didn't even watch a (whole) game this season.

Admittedly, after 40 years, the song is iconic, so the plan to replace it with the help of a contest seems a touch trite. "It would be the ultimate Canadian Idol, really," mused CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore. Umm, exactly. Idol meets hockey culture — it's the worst of both worlds!

Which brings us to George Stroumboulopoulos. Strombo has been the whipping boy for anyone who hates change at the CBC. As the 'toon says, he "skews to the younger demographic," which was the complaint when he was brought over from Much Music. So he talks fast, get over it. I think I'll have to tune in to The Hour this week to see if we do get an armpit rhapsody.

So there's Canadian culture in a nutshell: hockey and complaining about the CBC.


  1. AnonymousJune 09, 2008

    And that's Dr. Stroumbouloupoulos to you, Mr. Jenkins.

  2. I don't watch hockey(and I live a stone's throw away from Hockeytown)... however, the reasons why the CBC is abandoning the theme to HNIC is because they are being sued for renumeration for using it outside the confines of the previous agreement makes criticizing the network fair game in this case. Because we both know that the CBC really has gotten a lot of use out of that piece of music... it is Canadian Pop Culture Gold now. If the decision had just been one of change, well, then I would have been fine with it... but that's not what is prompting it, which is why I think there should be some friction about it.

    And Stoumbo... I'm OK with him. He didn't do anything to me, he puts on an entertaining show, so I can't complain about that.

  3. Barker posted about hockey...something about four horsemen comes to mind.

  4. The irony, Anon, is that I had to pinch hit (that's a sport's term, right?) and put up a short blog post at work about the exact same topic. They keep pulling me back in...

    MC - In this case, we've got a real mess and I think that both side are battling it out in the media, hoping to get the public on side. I think the CBC will suck it up here as people don't care how much the song costs. I don't know how much any song played on TV costs, so the $500 a play figure is meaningless. Now why couldn't we get people as worked up when they dropped jPod?

  5. And it's all for naught as CTV has swooped in, dumped a truck load of money on Dolores Claman and bought the song rights in perpetuity.

    I guess that Stroumbouloupoulos armpit rhapsody may not seem like such a bad option now.

  6. J-pod hadn't become part of our collective history at that point... HNIC has.

    To me, 500 dollars a per game is really really cheap for how closely associated that composition is with the Hockey Night in Canada brand.

  7. CTV certainly thinks so and I'm sure this is just a warning shot of how much they are going to be willing to pay when the NHL TV rights come up next time. I think the Ceeb is in trouble.

    Reports are suggesting CTV payed upwards of $3 million for the song, but that may turn out to be a bargain to buy an iconic brand lock, stock and barrel.