PLAY ESPN’S NHL THEME MUSIC
Today, ESPN announced a landmark new agreement with the National Hockey League. While the agreement is new, one part of ESPN’s NHL coverage that starts this fall will feel nostalgic for longtime hockey fans.
For its live NHL game telecasts, ESPN will be bringing back the iconic ESPN NHL theme music that was first introduced to viewers in 1992 as the theme on ESPN’s National Hockey Night. Created by composer Bob Christianson, the theme fired up NHL fans through 2004, and has continued to make occasional appearances ever since.
The music, which brings back fond memories for many, is currently the theme for the nightly ESPN+ program In the Crease, hosted by Linda Cohn, and it also has been used on ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four since 2014.
The launch of the hockey music in 1992 was just the latest of many projects Christianson had done for ESPN.
“When ESPN first started, a good part of the music that was on ESPN was mine, maybe even the majority,” he said. “I had baseball, NCAA basketball, NBA basketball, hockey.
“They liked what I did,” he said. “Almost always it was a competition. It would be me and whoever else they worked with, and I’d do two or three demos and send it to them, and if they liked it, then I got the gig. My relationship with the people at ESPN was good in the sense that at least I got asked to compete.”
Christianson told Front Row in 2014 that he estimated he spent 25 hours composing the NHL theme music, which included recording hockey sounds at a Buffalo Sabres game.
The NHL music’s longevity is pleasing to Christianson, whose career has touched not only sports but also television programs such as HBO’s “Sex and the City.” He has composed more than 30 sports themes for different networks.
“I’ve written so many sports themes, and some of them I’m really happy with, and some of them not, but that’s one of the ones that I’m really happy with – it just came out really good,” he said. “It did what it was supposed to do.”
So much so that fans will hear it again this fall.
“As excited as we are about our new agreement with the NHL, we’re also very excited that we will be bringing back the ESPN hockey theme music that is very familiar and iconic to hockey fans,” said ESPN Senior Vice President, Production and Remote Events, Mark Gross. “We’re in the very early stages of getting ready to launch our coverage, but there was never a question as to what the music would be.”