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CBC officially launches contest to replace Hockey Night in Canada theme

TORONTO - The search is officially on for the next "Hockey Night in Canada" theme song.

The CBC has launched Canada's Hockey Anthem Challenge, a national contest to find a new song for its weekly hockey broadcast. The network is currently without a song after the rights to the iconic jingle that opened the show for some 40 years were snapped up by CTV last week.

Canadians have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 31 to submit their musical entries, which will be available for review and rating on the broadcaster's website (CBCSports.ca/anthemchallenge).

At least five semifinalists will be presented on a network television special Oct. 4 in a setting similar to "Canadian Idol." A panel of celebrity judges will critique the entries after which Canadians will have a chance to vote for their favourite.

The two finalists will be revealed at the beginning of the "Hockey Night in Canada" doubleheader on Oct. 9 and fans will have the opportunity to cast their vote for the winner. The new theme will be unveiled Oct. 11.

The winning composition will receive $100,000 in cash and the songwriters will receive half of the ongoing performance royalties. The other half will go to minor league hockey in Canada.

CTV reportedly ended up paying more than $1 million to composer Dolores Claman for the rights to her 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.

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