By: Benjamin Hargreaves
At a ceremony held at Scotiabank Arena on Oct. 27, the late Stompin’ Tom’s The Hockey Song was officially cemented into Canadian history.
Connor’s son, Tom Connors Jr., watched on from the audience as his father’s catchy tune was inducted into the Canadian Song Writers Hall of Fame (CSHF) last Saturday.
“I’m so happy that the Leafs felt that we could use their facilities here,” says Connors Jr. “It’s a perfect setting for such a song as The Hockey Song.”
Released in 1973, The Hockey Song was not an instant commercial success, however.
“It took 25 years before the first pro arena started playing it,” says Connors Jr. “It never got played on the radio back when he released it in the 70s.”
It wasn’t until the 90s until it was being played in arenas like Scotiabank, according to Connors Jr., but by that time it had already become a part of Canadian hockey culture.
“All the hockey players that I’ve ever met, the pro players, they always said when they were kids their parents played the song for them,” said Connors Jr. “They always heard it at their rinks in minor league games.
Former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Wendel Clark, who also attended the induction ceremony, remembers the song well.
“I’ve heard it since ‘85,” said Clark. “‘92, ‘93 they started playing it regularly in the games, so it means a home game in Toronto.”
The Leafs hosted a home game against the Winnipeg Jets following the ceremony, with a scheduled performance of The Hockey Song by Canadian musician, Tim Hicks, during the second period.
Hicks also performed a rendition of ‘the good ‘ol hockey song’ during the induction ceremony. A performance Connors Jr., jokingly said, was not quite up to par with his father.
“He’s got it down pat pretty good,” said Connors Jr. “ I don't think his stompings are very good yet, he's going to have to work on that.”
Connors, who passed away in March of 2013 at age 77, finds his song amongst the likes of Rush’s Closer to the Heart and Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock as other CSHF inductees.