It might not end up being a Winter Classic, but a song written by Nova Scotia musician Dave Gunning has claimed top spot in CBC's Songquest competition.
The announcement came during the second intermission of the NHL Winter Classic, the Jan. 1 outdoor game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings that took place before 105,000 at Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium.
The song, entitled A Game Goin' On, was in the lead as of late December according to a tweet by Gunning. "A little bird just told me that I'm almost in the lead now. The race is close. Thank you so much for this..."
Moments after the announcement Gunning expressed his satisfaction. "@CBC @cbcmusic Thank you so much to you folks and everyone who voted," he tweeted. "I'm blown away. A big hug to co-writer David Francey."
According to the CBC, the song will be performed by Gunning live during CBC's telecast of Scotiabank Hockey Day In Canada in Lloydminister Alberta/Saskatchewan.
Gunning said the song -- inspired by an idea singer-songwriter Francey had -- originated during the NHL lockout between owners and players last season which resulted in an abbreviated 48-game regular season schedule.
"I was certainly frustrated along with so many other hockey fans and it felt it was good timing to release a song that encapsulated the old-fashioned love of the game, the real reason why so many of us play hockey either professionally or for fun," Gunning said.
The song came during a songwriters' workshop at the annual Celtic Colours music and arts festival in Cape Breton, according to Gunning's site.
"There's hockey on TV/ It's Saturday night at the rink across the road they play under the lights," the song begins, later describing meeting at the end of a lake where the anthem is a "shovel-scraping" sound of clearing the ice.
The song will also be produced by Joel Plaskett and featured as part of a future opening montage for Hockey Night In Canada. Nearly 1000 songs were entered into the contest with a "long list" of 50 nominees pared down to a 10-song "short list." Judges for the contest included Plaskett, Chantal Kreviazuk and Sara Quin (Tegan and Sara) along with former NHL players Theo Fleury and P.J. Stock.
Other nominees on the short list included Harlan Pepper, Toronto band, Annex and Sudbury group, The Puckhogs with their song "For The Love Of The Game." And as previously reported, fan voting was integral to the final decision.
Beside winning the Songquest contest, Gunning will spend the early portion of 2014 on a Canadian trek with dates already slated into the summer, including a stop at the annual Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, Nova Scotia.
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