Toronto Mike

Hockey Songs: The Best Music About Our Game

Greatest Hockey Songs

There is nothing more Canadian than hockey.  It's a little past noon on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and I'm already thinking about Hockey Night in Canada tonight as my Leafs take on the Rangers.  Hockey is life and pretty sweet.

Alison, who refers to herself as a stranger-friend because she drops by daily, wrote me to ask if I had ever posted a hockey playlist.  She was looking for songs that would pump up a young hockey team in the dressing room, but my mind instantly turned to songs about our national game.  I started thinking about hockey songs and decided to post the top ten hockey songs.

Here are the best ten hockey songs, in no particular order, and with apologies to Hayden because the amazing "Skates" isn't about hockey.

Hockey - Jane Siberry - Before she changed her name to Issa, Torontonian Jane Siberry was best known around these parts for "Mimi on the Beach", but my favourite Jane Siberry track is "Hockey" from her 1989 album Bound By the Beauty.  Check out these pretty lyrics.

They rioted in the streets of Montreal when they benched Rocket Richard,
And that is true bona fide Canadian history, that's what really counts
That's what we're all about
Don't let those Sunday afternoons
Get away get away get away get away
Break away break away break away break away
You use your rubber boots for goal-posts
And you're so proud of that, cause they're your boots that they're usin'

Have a listen here and if you're not touched by the beauty you didn't grow up around here.

The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors - This song is simple, but has rightfully become a national anthem of sorts.  Of all of Stompin' Tom's songs, this is the one we'll still be singing nightly in fifty years.  I know you know the lyrics, but here's a taste anyway.

Where players dash with skates aflash the home team trails behind
But they grab the puck and go bursting up and they're down across the line
They storm the crease like bumble bees they travel like a burning flame
We see them slide the puck inside - it's a 1-1 hockey game!

I was lucky enough to see Connors perform "The Hockey Song" live when I saw Conan O'Brien back in 2004.  Here's awesome footage of Connors doing it up with some great vintage footage of our game.

Hockey Night In Canada Theme - The Shuffle Demons - Speaking of unofficial Canadian national anthems, the opening theme for Hockey Night In Canada is right up there.  It was written in 1968 by Dolores Claman and it only takes one note to prepare for puck droppage in Pavlov's dog-style.  I threw The Shuffle Demons' cover on this list because it's chock full of bop rap goodness.  Note to self: share "Spadina Bus" this weekend.

The Ballad of Wendel Clark, Parts I and II - Rheostatics - I recently wrote about this song  as the video contains glimpses of the now defunct Old Mill Donuts on Dundas Street West.  It's a great hockey song with a Toronto slant and mandatory listening for those of us who suffered through the 1980s Norris division follies.  Check out the lyrics.

Well I heard Wendel talking to Dave Hodge last night
he said that he was confident and keen
he said that Jacques Plante didn't die
so all of us could glide
he said that hard work is the ethic of the free.

And here's that video I mentioned with classic Etobicokery.

50 Mission Cap - The Tragically Hip - The Hip's classic homage to my favourite legend, Bill Barilko, needs no introduction.  It's everything that's great about this country rolled into one inspiring package.  Here's the lyrics.

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored won the Leafs the cup
They didn't win another until 1962 the year he was discovered
I stole this from a hockey card I keep tucked up under
My fifty mission cap I worked it in to look like that

Here are the Hip playing "50 Mission Cap" back in '93 on The Another Roadside Attraction Tour.

Hockey Skates - Kathleen Edwards - This song isn't really about hockey, but it's called "Hockey Skates" and it's really good, so I'm throwing it on this list.  I fell upon it while listening to the Men With Brooms soundtrack and it instantly captured my fancy.  Here's a taste of the lyrics.

Going down in the same old town down the same street to the same bar
And the same old people saying hi and I don't care
Going down in the same old bar and I don't even order anymore
I am so sick of consequence and the look on your face
I am tired of playing defense
I don't even have hockey skates

While looking for Kathleen singing "Hockey Skates" I found another song of hers opening Hockey Night in Canada.  This seems appropriate for this entry.

Gretzky Rocks - The Pursuit of Happiness - I remember the video for this song getting airplay on MuchMusic.  It was well after Love Junk, and not TPOH at their best, but Gretzky does in fact rock and that needed to be said in song.  Here's how it starts...

Walter Gretzky had a son,
he grew up to be the great one
He came from Brantford, Ontario;
he liked Gordie Howe you know.
Americans don't understand,
the national sport of the northland
The worlds best game they're always dissin'
but they don't know what they are missin'

Unfortunately, I can only see this video in my mind because there's no trace of it online.  Moe Berg was in the penalty box for a while, I believe.

Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song) - Warren Zevon - 2002's My Ride's Here is the second last album of Warren Zevon's career and the cover shows him sitting in a hearse.  For this album, he recorded "Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)".  Mitch Albom, a sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, helped write the tune while David Letterman chipped in by yelling "Hit Somebody!"

There were Swedes to the left of him
Russians to the right
A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight
Brains over brawn--that might work for you
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?
But what's a Canadian farm boy to do?
What else can a farm boy from Canada do?
Hit somebody! was what the crowd roared
When Buddy the goon came over the boards
"Coach," he'd say, "I wanna score goals"
The coach said, "Buddy, remember your role,
The fast guys get paid, they shoot, and they score
Protect them, Buddy, that's what you're here for.

The Zamboni Song - Gear Daddies - This song is probably best known from MasterCard commercials and from The Mighty Ducks soundtracks.  It's pretty popular at arenas throughout this country and the kids dig it.  It's safe to say this is the only Gear Daddies song you'll ever hear.

Now ever since I was young it's been my dream
That I might drive a Zamboni machine
I'd get the ice just as slick as could be
And all the kids would look up to me

Here's the song from this Austin, Minnesota band.

The Lonely End of the Rink - The Tragically Hip - I couldn't resist putting a second Tragically Hip song on this list.  They litter hockey references all over the place and I could easily justify including "Fireworks" because of the references to The Summit Series and Bobby Orr.  "The Lonely End of the Rink" is drenched in a romantic hockey sentiment we can all relate to.  It's explained briliantly by Gord Downie in the clip below.

At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
At the lonely end of the rink, you and me
Oh to join the rush
As the season builds
I hear your voice 'cross a frozen lake
a voice from the end of a leaf
saying, 'you won't die of a thousand fakes
or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes'

This song opened the first Hockey Night in Canada telecast last year and it was perfect.  Enjoy the unofficial video for another great hockey song.

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