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IN MEMORIAM | Dolores Claman, Hockey Night in Canada Theme Composer Dies

By Michael Vincent on July 19, 2021

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Dolores Claman, the 94-year-old writer of the theme song for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts, has died.

Claman’s daughter, Madeleine Morris, confirmed that she died in Spain on Saturday, July 17. She had been diagnosed with dementia two years ago.

Born in Vancouver, her formative years were heavily influenced by her mother, who was an opera singer. She studied music at the University of Southern California before moving to New York City to study piano at the prestigious Juilliard School.

While living in the UK in the 1950s, Claman composed music for ITV Britain and for West End musical revues. Alongside her writing partner and husband, lyricist Richard Morris, Claman composed over 3,000 commercial jingles over a 30-year period, and the couple received over 40 awards for their work.

After moving back to Canada to settle in Toronto, she and her husband continued to write jingles. She wrote themes for A Place To Stand, including the iconic “Ontari-ari-ari-o” lyric for the 1967 Expo.

Her most recognizable jingle was the theme song that opened CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.

She had no idea the song, which has been dubbed “Canada’s second anthem,” would become so popular. Claman and her music agency were initially unable to strike a contract with CBC’s sports division in 2008, but eventually negotiated the credit before the licensing rights for the beloved track were transferred to CTV.

The song landed her a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2016, she was awarded the Cultural Impact Award for The Hockey Theme at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto.

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