National Treasure #133: Charles Thomas Connors

Better known as Stompin’ Tom, likely.

Hello out there, we’re on the air, it’s Hockey Night tonight

Best known for The Hockey Song, maybe, released in 1973 but achieving iconic status in 1992 when it was played at an Ottawa Senators game.  It’s now played at every Toronto Maple Leafs home game.

Tension grows, the whistle blows, and the puck goes down the ice

This man whom SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada) called our national poet laureate (300 songs, more than 30 albums, 4 million copies sold), was a bit prickly:

  • Returning his Juno award to protest them being awarded to expatriate Canadians
  • Declining to be inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Accepting a lifetime achievement award from the East Coast Music Awards only on the condition that they establish an “award to honour those who made a long-term contribution to the East Coast music industry and paved the way for other East Coast artists” (Canadian Encyclopedia)

The goalie jumps, and the players bump, and the fans all go insane

We drove through Skinners Pond PEI, once, which is as close as I ever came to the man himself.  That and being able to sing along with The Hockey Song (but can’t every Canadian?) and Sudbury Saturday Night.

Someone roars, “Bobby scores!” at the good ol’ hockey game.

After he died, NDP MPs sang Bud the Spud in the foyer of the Parliament buildings.

But he got – and gets – the last word, on his tombstone:

The body has returned to sod,
The spirit has returned to God.
So on this spot, no need for grief,
Here only lies a fallen leaf.
Until new blossoms form in time,
The tree is where I now reside.
But with this poem, as you can see,
They haven’t heard the last of me.

 

 

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