TORONTO – “Sticks To The Ice” by Robert Fraser Burke and “Canadian Gold” by Colin Oberst are the two finalists from over 14,000 entries in the search for a new Hockey Night in Canada anthem.
Voting for the winner has already begun. Burke is a 13-year-old composer from Toronto who jumped in joy when he was announced as one of the semi-finalists. He participates in the school band and has been playing piano for as long as he can remember.
“Sticks To The Ice” was initially intended only for his friends’ enjoyment until his uncle heard it and encouraged him to enter the Anthem Challenge.
Oberst, composer of “Canadian Gold,” is an elementary school teacher from Beaumont, Alta., and has been teaching music for the last decade.
Oberst, an avid music writer and member of an Edmonton-based band, submitted five entries to the challenge.
The Anthem Challenge winner is to be announced Saturday during the traditional Saturday night NHL double header (Montreal at Toronto or Detroit at Ottawa/Vancouver at Calgary) on CBC-TV.
People can vote online, by phone or by text messaging.
Before Thursday night’s announcement, some major Canadian entertainment figures had weighed in on the Anthem Challenge.
Rock icon Burton Cummings listened to the five tunes in the running and said the high-energy, funky “Ice Warriors” by Gerry Mosby of Toronto “kills the rest of them.”
Apparently, it didn’t.
“Sticks to the Ice,” caught the attention of Chris Patterson of the Toronto-based group the Arrogant Worms and David Hamelin of the Stills in Montreal.
Canadian country music star George Canyon said he was drawn to the Oberst composition.