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'Hockey Night in Canada' gets new anthem

Saturday, 10.11.2008 / 9:00 PM / News

Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) -Saturday nights in Canada in the winter will now have a note of gold in them.

After receiving nearly 15,000 entries, the song "Canadian Gold," written by an elementary school teacher from Alberta has been voted as the new anthem for CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada."

Colin Oberst's winning composition was up against "Sticks to the Ice," a piece by 13-year-old Toronto composer Robert Fraser Burke.

Oberst and Burke stood side-by-side as Don Cherry announced the Anthem Challenge winner to a live studio audience in Toronto. The song was then played to start the network's Saturday night doubleheader.

In a telephone interview after his composition was declared the winner, Oberst described hearing his music played as part of the introduction to "Hockey Night in Canada."

"It's intense. To see that animation with (Wayne) Gretzky and Bobby Orr, I was absolutely floored," Oberst said as he was arriving at the Air Canada Center to see the game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.

Oberst envisioned his song being the winner, but said he was also prepared for second place.

"I think through my head a million times I heard Robert's and my name, so it was literally 50/50 and it came out with mine," said Oberst, who has taught music for the past 10 years.

The high-profile contest in which the voting public picked a song to replace the original "Hockey Night in Canada" theme was created after CBC lost the rights to the iconic tune earlier this year. The original song is now the property of TSN.

Oberst, an avid music writer and member of an Edmonton-based band, submitted five entries to the challenge.

Along with hearing his song start nationally televised hockey games, Oberst also gets $100,000 for winning the contest.

"I'm married, I've got two young kids and a mortgage so, as far as the kids' education and my house, I think (the prize money) will go pretty quick," he said.

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