Yes, there is a lawsuit. Yes, there is tradition. But my main concern about the HNIC theme news was how awful a new song would surely be. Something on the order of Hank Jr., Bryan Adams, or that generic punk-rock Stompin’ Tom cover on CTV.

Well, turns out it’s so much worse (or so much better, if you’re Scott Moore and Terry McBride):

The CBC is set to launch a song-writing contest open to all Canadians in hopes of finding a new theme song for Hockey Night In Canada, the head of CBC Sports said.

With negotiations faltering between the public broadcaster and the agency that represents the famed theme song™s composer, the CBC will next week kick off the contest with Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group ” if the two sides can™t hammer out a new licensing agreement in the next few days, CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore said.

œIt would be the ultimate Canadian Idol, really, Moore said. œBecause whoever wins it would have their song played on Hockey Night in Canada for the next six years at least.

I guess this really does mean that the likes of Carl Newman, Joey Keithley, Torquil Campbell, Stuart Berman, George Canyon, Bif Naked and the Nihilist Spasm Band ought to give this thing a shot. (And at least two names on that list seriously should.)

Meanwhile, at the same time that Rick Reilly joined ESPN for a bazillion dollars, it was discovered that he did a little writing for the Vancouver Province gratis.

The good news is there won’t be any tortured Jayson Blair memoir coming out from David Pratt, nor did he resort to the old accidental cut-and-paste (“it was in my notes, I must have been confused!”) defense. Nope, he’s guilty! Of the plagiarism, that is, not in his own conscience.

Pratt told CBC News on Wednesday that he made a mistake and has apologized repeatedly in the last 24 hours.

He describes the plagiarism as a “minor gaffe,” saying he saw the Reilly column and thought “that’s a pretty good line.”

“It was a Saturday and I wanted to get out of [the office] before noon,” he said over the phone.

Pratt’s been fired from the paper, but not from his sports talk show on a local AM station. One of these days I’m sure some MSM columnist or highly esteemed author will take talk-radio to task for insufficient journalistic standards, right?