Tribute to Dolores Claman, composer of the theme Hockey Night

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Dolores Claman composed the Hockey Night in Canada theme that has drawn millions to the television set for seven decades.

Sitting at her piano one day in 1968 in Scarborough, Julliard-educated Claman stared out the window at Lake Ontario, where an idea of ​​Roman gladiators or medieval knights battling on skates came to mind. It didn’t take him long to complete the instrumental for MacLaren Advertising and HNIC executive producer Ralph Mellanby.

“Generations have recognized this iconic theme,” Kevin Shea, author and Hockey Hall of Fame resource specialist, told The Sun. “On Saturday night, my father, my brother and I were planted on the sofa, ready to hear the signal from Claman that the game was about to take place. Dare I say this is probably our second national anthem.

Claman died last week in Spain at the age of 94.

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“She was of old age and she had an incredible life,” her daughter Madeleine Morris told The Canadian Press.

Vancouver-born Claman first rose to prominence with her British-born husband, Richard Morris, for composing “Ontari-ari-o!” theme (A Place To Stand, A Place to Grow) for the provincial pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal and also wrote numerous advertising jingles for MacLaren.

While working on the HNIC theme, Claman told author Michael McKinley that she tried to follow the progression of a hockey game, players putting on their gear, coming out for warm-up, then the hits, the goals, the saves” and a cold beer afterwards.

The earworm took on a life of its own and became popular at every hockey rink and at many sporting events where full marching bands played it. Soon it was used on answering machine messages or played at birthdays, weddings and funerals. In 2004, a mass of 930 saxophonists played it in unison at Dundas Square in Toronto.

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At first, Claman didn’t see much financial windfall for such a popular coin. It had a fixed $800 charge when it debuted as the opening and closing game night announcement. But the show quickly adopted it as its official theme, with arranger Jerry Toth perfecting the familiar version. . This spiked Claman’s annual earnings to $4,000, before she secured an agent and fired “Hockey Theme” for $500 per show.

Claman eventually sued the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for misuse of his work when he appeared in so many media, including thousands of ringtones from cordless phones. When a new royalty agreement could not be reached in 2008, the rights eventually went to rival CTV and its hockey broadcast arm, TSN, for over $1 million.

Claman never expected it to become such a hit across the country.

“Some of my son’s friends at school thought I was amazing. They came to the door to see me. Claman told The Canadian Press in 2016.

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