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Short Shifts

ESPN NHL theme returns with Bieber-narrated composer story, orchestra

Bob Christianson explained his creative process for music that hadn't been used for 17 years

by Lauren Merola @laurmerola / Staff Writer

For 17 years, Bob Christianson's iconic NHL theme song sat in silence.

Tuesday night, with a little help from Justin Bieber, it came back.

For the league's return to ESPN, NHL on ESPN produced "Harmony," and Bieber - a huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan - narrated it. The six-minute video explains how Christianson's composition came to be. 

Tweet from @espn: It's the soundtrack to some of hockey's most iconic moments 🏒 As the ESPN @NHL theme song we all love returns tonight for the first time in 17 years, @justinbieber takes a look at how it all came to be.

Twenty-eight years ago, Christianson got a call from ESPN, which said the network needed a new NHL theme song, so the composer took a crack at it. 

He ended up submitting history. 

"It was the perfect pairing of sport and sound," Bieber said. "A crescendo of power, precision and passion. The soundtrack to some of hockey's most iconic moments."

In 2014, Christianson told ESPN's Front Row it took him nearly 25 hours to create the theme music, including recording hockey sounds at a Buffalo Sabres game.

The composition played on ESPN from 1992 until 2004. Now, it's alive again and will continue to anchor ESPN's hockey coverage.

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