Stompin' Tom Connors with his iconic black cowboy hat in a promotional photo in 2000 prior to Canada Day celebrations (via CBC)

The Hockey Song- Hall of Fame

It was 45 years ago that country star “Stompin’ Tom Connors” introduced “The Hockey Song”.  Ever since literally millions of fans have sung the unofficial anthem at hockey games throughout Canada, and in the U.S.

This weekend before a home game with Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team playing the Winnipeg Jets, the song will be entered into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Starting in the 1990’s both the Ottawa Senators team, and shortly after the Maple Leafs, began playing the song during every home game.

It’s popularity caught on with other teams and arenas as well.
YouTube- The Hockey Song- Stompin Tom Connors

Connors who had a difficult childhood, was an intinerant worker who got his start as a performer in a bar in northern Ontario when he couldn’t pay for a beer. The bar owner said he could have a beer if he could play songs with his guitar.

Stompin’ Tom Connors with black hat, black vest and banging his heel “stompin” in time to the beat.  He usually performed on a plywood board (shown) after stage owners complained that his cowboy boot stompin damaged their stages (1973 Still Photo Collection-Paul Smith via cbc)

That led to over fourteen months performing in his unusual style of stomping his foot to keep time.

Not the best singer by far, nor guitarist, his simple songs about Canada and Canadians were easy to emulate around campfires and caught on with the public and other country and folk music performers at local events.

During his career, his songs were entirely focussed on Canadian places, people and lifestyle and he remained exclusively in Canada.

A winner of several Juno awards- the top award in Canadian music- he once returned them in protest in 1978 for the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) giving awards to Canadians who had left the country who both lived and made their careers almost entirely in the U.S.

Connors passed away in March 2013 at age 77. Over his career Stompin Tom wrote some 300 songs, including hits like Sudbury Saturday Night, and Bud the Spud.

His son, Tom Connors Jr will accept the Hall of Fame plaque during the ceremony before the hockey match and country singer Tim Hicks will perform the song for the crowd.

YouTube- Stompin Tom Connors “My Stompin Grounds” (There is much of his personal life in the song such as riding freight trains-hobo style in his youth)

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