Hokey Fight in Canada
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Hokey Fight in Canada

There’s controversy brewing around CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Anthem Challenge, and it doesn’t even involve “Hockey Scores”!
Every weekday this past week, a new semi-finalist has been unveiled on The Hour, and the competition’s down to “Canadian Gold” by Colin Oberst, “Sticks to the Ice” by Robert Fraser Burke, “Eleventh Hour” by Graham McRae, “Let The Game Begin” by Jimmy Tanaka, and “Ice Warriors” by Gerry Mosby. (For what it’s worth, “Hockey Scores” still has more views than all of the semi-finalists put together.)
Aside from the expected complaints about deserving entries that didn’t make it and undeserving entries that did, it’s “Ice Warriors” that has fans getting so worked up. Gerry Mosby, you see, once (probably) worked with Lou Pomanti, who the CBC brought in to co-produce the final five songs. Adam White—who had a submission in the contest himself—wrote about the connection on his blog, pointing to a Playback listing that showed Mosby and Pomanti working together at the dozen-person staff of “Jungle Music Productions” at 512 King Street East. Fans are intermitently furious about it!
Just like the five semi-finalists, though, the controversy isn’t quite as exciting as you’d hope. Yes, Mosby and Pomanti do seem to have worked together, but a ways back back: the only reference we can find on Playback (or anywhere) is from a list of the “top audio post and post shops” in Canada, dated 1999. The listed phone number doesn’t work, the fax number is no longer in service, and a Yellow Pages search of the building it’s listed as being in turns up nothing. Besides, says the CBC:

Each of the approximately 15,000 eligible anthems was rated according to established criteria by five jurors from a pool of approximately 400 jurors. A smaller group of the leading anthems was then reviewed by a panel of experts including members of the Canadian music and hockey communities. Following that, a senior jury of music professionals, CBC and Hockey Night In Canada executives met together to review and select the semifinalists. The five semifinalists Canada will vote for were chosen unanimously by this senior jury….with regard to the potential conflicts of interest, in the event judges had personal or professional contacts with contestants, they were disclosed and appropriately noted through the selection process.

In other words, there’s not too much of a basis for the argument that any of the final candidates snuck in through the back door.
Still, the non-controversy is a welcome bit of animation for a competition that badly needs it. Now that “The Hockey Theme” is in CTV’s hands and “Hockey Scores” has been relegated to the “Fun and the Quirky” section of the CBC’s site, the last best hope for a “Hockey Night in Canada” anthem seems to be in the hands of thirteen-year-old (Torontonian!) Robert Fraser Burke, whose semi-final anthem is half sports anthem, half classic video game theme. It just might work.
Photo by scaturchio from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.