"The Hockey Song" will always hold a special place in my heart, not so much as a hockey fan, but rather as a parent.
My journey as a Nashville Predators season ticket holder began at the Save the Team rally in 2007, when the idea struck me to get a 12-game package with two seats, and rotate each of my kids through from night to night (occasionally getting a sitter and bringing Mrs. Forechecker along for a date night). When you've got three children of roughly the same age, most of your time as a parent is spent playing zone defense, so opportunities to get some one-on-one time are extra special.
Anyway, in that 2007-2008 season, at one of the first games I took my oldest son to, the Preds played "The Hockey Song" during intermission, and my then-5-year-old had a grand old time singing along with the crowd. I don't remember who the opponent was that night, or whether the Predators won, but it was a fun night and we hopped in the car for the 30 minute drive home.
My son was long asleep by the time I pulled into the driveway, so I had to scoop him out of his car seat and carry him into the house. That's a delicate piece of work, keeping super-quiet and trying to lift your child as gently as possible so as not to wake him, but by that time I was a pro at such things.
To my surprise, despite my best efforts, as soon as I lifted him into my arms, he started singing in his sleep:
"...the good old hockey game... it's the best game you can name..."
Freaking magic moment, that was.
Earlier today, Stompin' Tom Connors passed away at the age of 77, a celebrated icon of Canadian culture whose influence goes far beyond the signature song heard at rinks around North America.
Here's to hoping we hear this at Friday's Nashville Predators-Edmonton Oilers game, and many more to come (perhaps a live version from the band stage?)...