It's a match made in hockey heaven.
Canada's second national anthem will still be heralding the puck drop for games this fall -- but on TSN and not the CBC. CTV Inc., which owns TSN, scooped up the exclusive rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme in perpetuity yesterday.
The private broadcaster hammered out the deal with Copyright Music and Visuals after CBC announced it couldn't reach a deal with the company and the song's writer, Vancouver-born Dolores Claman.
CTV officials said the theme will be used with its TSN and RDS hockey coverage and during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.
It's a coup for the network, picking up what has been a Saturday night soundtrack for Canadians since CBC began using it for Hockey Night in Canada in 1968.
The public broadcaster had spent the last 13 months negotiating to secure the song but announced talks had ended last Friday.
CTV officials did not reveal how much they paid but stressed they got tremendous value securing the song, along with rights to its sheet music and cellphone ringtones.
"It is an iconic tune, embraced by Canadians everywhere, and we felt it was imperative to save it," said Rick Brace, CTV Inc.'s president of revenue, business planning and sports.
"It's an honour and a privilege to own such a cherished piece of Canadiana."
Brace stressed the network didn't go after the song until CBC announced they were walking away from it last Friday at 5 p.m.
The song writer, who is still embroiled in a legal dispute with CBC over past use of the song, sounded pleased with the new arrangement.
"The Hockey Theme means so much to Canadians, and we know it's in good hands with CTV," Claman said in a news release.
Earlier in the day, CBC had announced it was offering to pay for a third party intermediary to help reach an agreement.
But CBC sports executive director Scott Moore said the network wasn't willing to pay anything between $2.5 million and $3 million to secure the song.
"If they can justify that to their shareholders," Moore said, "I don't think I can justify that to our critics.
"Every time they play it, it's an advertisement for CBC."