Anyone who’s ever attended a hockey game, from the pros to the minor leagues, has probably heard that folksy, raucous tune: “The Good Ol’ Hockey Game!” usually played sometime during the third period. (There are three periods in hockey.) It is to hockey what “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is to baseball. Easy to sing along with a catchy melody and a foot-stomping rhythm, “The Good Ol’ Hockey Game” is the unofficial anthem to the sport.
The chorus is simple to remember: “The good ol’ hockey game, It’s the best game you can name. And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ hockey game.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sung those words myself along with the thousands of others at a Vancouver Canucks game who stand up and clap their hands along with the music. Of course, it helps to have consumed a beer or two to get into the true mood of the thing.
Songwriter was National Hero
The man who penned those words and music, and in so doing became something of a Canadian folk hero, died this week at this home in Ontario. To tell the truth, I never who wrote this rowdy tribute to Canada’s national sport, but I’d recognize his recorded voice anywhere. A little like the U.S.’s Johnny Cash, ‘Stompin’ Tom Connors, as he was known, was a flag-waving Canadian and proud of it. That in itself is a bit out of the ordinary for Canada, which, until the 2010 Winter Olympics at least, kept their national pride pretty well in check. But Connors told people if they weren’t proud of their country the best thing they could do for their country was to leave it. I’m quite sure he meant it.
Hockey Night Tribute
Saturday night on Canadian TV is traditionally, “Hockey Night in Canada” as games from throughout the NHL (the National in that by the way stands for Canada, not the U.S.) are broadcast starting with the East Coast evening game followed by one from the West or Mid-West. I have no doubt that this week, at hockey games all over, in the U.S. as well as Canada, that tribute will be paid to Tom Connors and “The Good Ol’ Hockey Game.”
For more on Tom Connors, tune in to NPR’s story at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2013/03/07/173746201/stompin-tom-connors-canadian-folk-hero-has-died