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Ice, Ice Hockey by Mike Myers

Mike Myers wrote this article a few years back in Spin Magazine.

Ice, Ice Hockey
by Mike Myers

Growing up in Canada I only ever wanted to do two things: (1) play in the Stanley Cup for the Toronto Maple Leafs and (2) play in a rock band.

I've often wondered if my love of both hockey and rock was an inherent passion or if it was a product of a Canadian upbringing. I had an embarrassment of riches as Canadian role models growing up. Hockey players such as Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler, Gordie Howe, Ken Dryden, Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Yvan "the Road Runner" Cournoyer, Frank Mahovlich, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky and, of course, my friend Stan Mikita, just to name a few. They'd all be on my Rink of Dreams - if you flood it they will come.

Now let's look at Canadian musical role models, the list is just as dizzying. Such artists as Neil Young, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Rush, the Guess Who, Leonard Cohen, the Band, Lighthouse, the Stampeders, Max Webster, April Wine, Martha and the Muffins, and, more recently, such bands as the Pursuit of Happiness, the Barenaked Ladies, Tom Cochrane, Alannah Myles, and the Tragically Hip. (Then of course, there's Joni Mitchell, who, in my opinion, should be the Poet Laureate of Canada. Her song "Case of You" should be the Canadian national anthem. I have listened to that song on many homesick nights, and the line "I drew a map of Canada, Oh Canada" always brings a tear to my eye. But I digress.)

I guess in this nature-nurture argument there is overwhelming evidence that my love of rock and hockey is a result of a Canadian upbringing.

You may ask why I'm combining "the fourth sport" and pop music in the same article. It's because I believe hockey and rock are related.

(A) Both rock and hockey are fast and hard-hitting.
(B) Hockey is played with a black disclike object and a stick that curves at the end. Rock music is also played using a disclike object (records) and a stick that curves at the end (needle arm).
(C) A hockey stick makes an excellent air guitar. (D) A drummer and a goalie are similar. Both sit in one position hidden by special equipment, while the rest of the team/band moves around the playing area freely.
(E) Rush, Aerosmith, and Queen have played at Maple Leaf Gardens. Similarly, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, and the Montreal Canadiens have also played at Maple Leaf Gardens.
(F) Neil Young's dad Scott Young was a hockey reporter in Toronto and wrote children's hockey books. The first book report I ever did was about his Boy at the Leaf Camp. (Neil wore a Toronto Maple Leafs patch on his jeans when played on Saturday Night Live. It was cool.)
(G) Finally, and I admit this is not my strongest point, both words have "OCK" in them.

The correlation between rock and hockey has been known in Canada for some time. The Toronto Star has a column written by Toronto musician Dave Bidini that is about rock and hockey. His band the Rheostatics have a song called "The Ballad of Wendel Clark." (Clark is a Maple Leaf veteran, No. 17 in the program, No. 1 in my heart.) Bidini plays in a pick-up hockey league for rock musicians in Toronto. I never got to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs and I never got to play in a rock band. My brother Paul, however, is in a band in Toronto called the Gravelberrys, but that's as close as I've been.

I guess the best way to sum up the Canadian rock and hockey connection is to quote a verse from Joni Mitchell's song "River": "It's coming on Christmas / They're cutting down the trees / They're putting up reindeer / And singing songs of joy and peace / I wish I had a river / I could skate away on."

Published on: 2004-08-05 (15524 reads)

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