TORONTO - CBC-TV isn't ruling out using the famous Stompin' Tom Connors hockey song as a replacement for the "Hockey Night in Canada" theme as a new poll suggests most Canadians don't care that the public broadcaster lost the iconic ditty to CTV.
Scott Moore, head of CBC Sports, was coy Wednesday about Connors' beloved "The Hockey Song" serving as a possible stand-in for the familiar tune Canadians have associated with Saturday night NHL games for decades.
"You never know," Moore said Wednesday. "Let's just say we had him on the NHL Awards - that's all I'll say."
Connors' son has said his father is open to licensing the song to the CBC as a replacement. The CBC is currently conducting a nationwide contest to find a new theme song.
A Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll suggests the majority of Canadians - 56 per cent - feel the CBC did the right thing by refusing to pony up more than $1 million for the iconic song penned by songwriter Dolores Claman. Twenty-seven per cent said the CBC should have offered more than $1 million for the ditty.
Among avid hockey fans, 52 per cent felt CBC did the right thing, while 40 per cent felt otherwise.
CTV reportedly ended up paying more than $1 million to Claman for the rights to the tune; the network has not revealed a precise figure.
The song will now be heard before NHL games airing on TSN, which is owned by CTV.
Fifty-nine per cent of Canadians polled also said they were unmoved by CBC's loss of the song, while sixty-two per cent said they thought the CBC's idea to hold a Canada-wide contest to find a new "Hockey Night in Canada" theme song was a good one.
Only 14 per cent of those surveyed thought the CBC would lose "Hockey Night in Canada" viewers because it lost the theme song.
The poll was conducted over three days last week, from June 12 to June 15. Its margin of error is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Moore said he found the survey results reassuring.
"The reality is it's an emotional issue and people had a knee-jerk reaction," Moore said.
"But I am satisfied that people feel we did the right thing. Because as much as I like the song, there's no part of the brand of 'Hockey Night in Canada' that's more important than hockey on Saturday night."
Nonetheless, news that the CBC has lost the famous song came as a surprise to another Canadian icon - Dave Thomas, the former SCTV star adored for his portrayal of good-natured hoser Doug McKenzie.
"God, they keep missing the boat over there, don't they? What is wrong with them?" he said with a giggle in an interview from Los Angeles.
When asked if he'd offer up the McKenzie Brothers' "coo-roo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo-coo" call as a replacement theme, he declined.
"No, because they wouldn't pay me, just like that woman, and I'd have to give it to CTV."