Everyone knows that Canadians love their hockey. However, many non-Canadians don't know how far this obsession stretches.
Hockey Night In Canada is a very popular Canadian television program. It has aired on the CBC for over 50 years and, due to Canada's love affair with hockey, it has become a Canadian institution. The show introduced a new theme song in 1986. Fittingly, the song was called "The Hockey Theme."
This all sounds completely normal so far, right?
Yes. But then it gets weird.
Due to the popularity of hockey and the sport's close connection to the Canadian identity, the song eventually became known unofficially as "Canada's second national anthem." Patriotism and hockey are very, very closely linked in Canada. The fact that the show was frequently sponsored by beer companies completed the circle. A hockey show sponsored by a beer company would definitely become a Canadian symbol.
Now, you would think that the theme to a TV show being equated to a national anthem would be as bizarre as this situation gets, right?
You see, Canadians are a very strange people. They latched onto this theme and they loved it. They REALLY loved it. They played it at weddings. They played it at concerts. They used it as their cell phone ringtones. It was THAT big.
Then, at the end of the 2008 NHL hockey season, the CBC's license to use the song ran out. The CBC, a publicly funded institution, was not able to afford the new, increased asking price for the song. They announced that the following season of Hockey Night in Canada would feature a new theme that would be chosen by a nationwide contest.
Then all hell broke loose.
It was as if every Canadian had been suddenly punched in the stomach. They were hurt. They were confused. They were angry. Their stomachs hurt. Canadians didn't want a new song. They wanted "The Hockey Theme." National campaigns to "save the theme" were set up. It was near pandemonium. The theme song change was the topic of every call-in show, every water cooler conversation and every social gathering you can think of. You can mess with a lot of things in Canada - politics, religion, the bear population - but messing with this theme song was going too far. Canadians wanted the song back.
Of course, all attempts failed and the CBC set out to find a new song.
Rival network CTV ended up "saving the song" when they paid the increased asking price, but Canadians were still upset. A hockey game on CBC wasn't the same without that song. It would never be the same! The very nature of television viewing was forever altered!
Then the puck dropped for the next season and everyone went back to watching the games.
That's how Canadians get angry. In a civilized, organized manner where they eventually end up just going with the flow.
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