Hundreds of people can now say “I Was There” after they flocked to a Calgary shopping centre Wednesday to watch country artist Paul Brandt unveil and perform the 2012 IIHF World Junior Hockey anthem.
Fans showed their hockey pride by sporting red foam Team Canada cowboy hats and their favourite team jerseys, cheering on the award-winning Alberta singer as he hopped on stage to release his anticipated song I Was There.
Some fans even greeted Brandt with neon “I Was There” posters.
As Brandt began singing, a mob of dancers in red Canada T-shirts shimmied and danced among the crowd.
“I’m just so excited to see the response it got today here at The Core. I can’t wait until people start hearing it,” Brandt said during a media scrum after the event.
“It feels great,” Brandt said about finally being able to release the theme song for World Juniors, being held in Calgary and Edmonton from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5.
“We all put a lot of work into this project. The song is one piece of it. To look out into that audience today and see the feelings of pride that were coming out, I feel like it’s mission accomplished.”
The Calgary Herald, The Edmonton Journal, and Corus Radio partnered with Hockey Canada to spearhead the World Juniors song project, which was written with the help of contributions from Albertans who submitted their thoughts on what hockey means to them. The project also includes a music video to be released in December. Before Brandt took the stage Wednesday, a big screen showed footage of past world junior games.
“I hope I Was There infuses a sense of togetherness and a sense of community,” Brandt said, noting the anthemic quality of the song reminds him of his own hit song, Alberta Bound.
“I hope what the song ends up saying about what we are here in Alberta and what hockey is as a sport is that we go hard, we take no prisoners, we do the best that we can. But that it’s all done in the spirit of togetherness. I hope the song brings that to the tournament.”
Also on hand was former Flames captain Jim Peplinski, the co-chair of the 2012 IIHF world junior championship, who said the song embodies the best qualities of hockey and what it means to be a Canadian.
“That’s the emotional piece of this,” Peplinski said, “that I think has got real connection with what the world juniors has become.
“It’s become synonymous with the holiday season, with being Canadian, with all of the good things that come from hockey: getting up when you fall down, helping each other out, looking after your health, learning how to lose and learning how to win — all of those elements are part of I Was There and I think that comes through in Paul’s music.”
I Was There is available for digital purchase on the Hockey Canada website (hockeycanada.com) and Paul Brandt’s website (paulbrandt.com).
Net proceeds from all downloads of the song go to the Hockey Canada Foundation to help underprivileged children take part in the national game.