Anyone who knows me knows I like my sports history. Hell, I’m trying to get a doctorate in the subject. I love all sports and their long histories: rugby, football, soccer, baseball, cricket–even the biathlon speaks to me with its beautiful mixture of skiing and guns.
Above them all is a special place in my heart reserved for hockey. My first sporting event was at the good ol’ Brendan Byrne Arena to watch the New Jersey Devils take on The New York Rangers in ’93. My heart skipped a beat when I heard the Devils won the cup in ’95 while living in the not-so-frozen landscape of Arizona at age 8. Would you believe me if I told you a woman got me back into the game after the lockout in 2005? It has sparked intense friendships, intense rivalries and led to challenges of my honor. Most people in the US of A could care less about hockey, and yet punk bands love singing about them!
Punk bands love hockey! They love the hits! They love the regionalism! They modify logos of their favorite teams for merch! Read on ya hoosiers, here are some punk puck-centric songs.
Check it out below.
10. The Hextalls – “I Bred This Beard For Slaughter”
One, The Hextalls name is a reference to notorious Flyer goaltender Ron Hextall. He liked to fight. A lot. Second, “I Bred This Beard For Slaughter” is an ode to the playoff beard. A beard is so scared it is not shaved until your team loses. The Hextalls take it out of the rink and into the real world, hoping The Flyers might just…nope. Blackhawks won the cup that year in overtime (blame Patrick Kane, Philadelphia). Better get the shaving cream and some tissues, you’re gonna need them. The second best song about beards since “Razor Burn” by Lagwagon.
9. The Misfits – “I Wanna Be A New York Ranger”
Leave it to a band from Jersey to sing the praises of a New York sports team. This is why I can’t like The Misfits, if anyone is wondering. Goulish horror-punk howls that rhyme “Ranger” with “Danger” makes my head spin like a possessed Patrick Roy during a penalty shot. To the fans of the frakking blueshirts, at least you got the Misfits on your side. Go Devils.
8. The Hextalls – “I Don’t Wanna Be A New York Ranger”
Flyers fans and Devils fans agree on few things. Was Scott Stevens hit on Eric Lindross legal? Do gingers like Scott Hartnell have souls? Is Sidney Crosby the Antichrist? Okay, so there are TWO things we agree on: We don’t like the Penguins and the Rangers (Except Jaromir Jagr…he’s cool).
The Hextalls tells us the tale of misplaced love and beer at Madison Square Garden. Sometimes you can’t trust a girl in a Stephan Richter jersey. A nod to The Misfits, I’m sure, but I’ll take my women with a love for Marty Brodeur jersies (or Jagr! I’m not picky!).
7. D.O.A. – “Donnybrook”
Sometimes you gotta just drop the gloves. The guy from Quebec is saying something about your mother in French-Canadian, your Russian teammate is ignoring your pleas to backcheck, and worst of all the commissioner of the NHL is thinking about adding a team in Las Vegas! Horror of horrors, what is a Canadian farm boy to do?
Like, Warren Zevon before them, the answer D.O.A forwards is to “hit somebody.” “Donnybrook” recounts the need for a good old fashion fight to get some blood back in the game. I’m not pro-fighting in hockey, but sometimes you gotta make the other side remember who you are dealing with. Be it the Big Bad Bruins, the Broadstreet Bullies that are the Flyers or Captain Crunch himself Scotty Stevens. Leave it to the Canadians to get it done. I’d pay good money for this two-minute music minor to be played for my team during a bench-clearing brawl.
6. The Zambonis – “Goalie (feat Atom and his Package)”
More classic emo-indie than punk, but The Zambonis and Atom and His Package make a great point: what do you do when you are too big to back check? Too heavy to hit? You play goalie!
Goalies of the modern era are known for their acrobatic skills. Be it Dominick Hašek, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, Mark-André Fleury, Corey Crawford, or Johnathan Quick; they all have to be faster than the speed of light to make some of the most daring saves imaginable. The Zambonis point out a very true fact–none of these saves would be needed if Roy or Hašek was just a teeeeeny bit bigger. Pucks bounce right off you then! No spin-o-rama or slapper from the blue line is going to get past a guy STUCK between the pipes.
It’s an anthem for the big guys on the playground. The ones who are always getting picked last. You’ll have your day in the limelight. You can still make the Hall of Fame, boys!
Dreaded overtime. My New Jersey Devils see it too damn often. Overtime, in life–I see it every time I go to a bar. D.O.A. gets it. Sometimes it takes an extra period to get a phone number or put the biscuit in the basket, as it were. Get those two points, but don’t let it go into a shootout.
4. The Vandals – “Change The World With My Hockey Stick”
The Vandals remind us that a good hockey player can change the course of history. Gretzky, Howe, Richard–all bronzed in one way or another in the annals of history for the skills they displayed on the ice.
Yet The Vandals ask for more. If they can get good enough with their hands, stick and puck handling that they may be able to cure HIV/AIDS, cancer, rule the universe. Patrick Kane is good with a stick, but he ain’t THAT good. Classic Vandals speed through the opposing zone on this one pushes the fantasy home.
3. The Hextalls – “J.S. Giguère Is A Robot”
Jean-Sébastien Giguère is on my shit list for two reasons. One, he plays a style of hockey that is unholy and inhuman in its precision in keeping the puck out of the goal. Two, he won the Conn Smythe in a cup final loss to the New Jersey Devils. After seven games, you know that award was earmarked for one of our guys!
The Hextalls agree with me that Giguère cannot be human. He has to be a robot. “Take your Conn Smythe/shove it up your robot ass.” Oh Hextalls, your brand of hockey-centric pop punk warms my cockles.
2. Dropkick Murphys – “Time To Go”
The epitome of hockey songs for the homer in all of us. “Time To Go” honors the Boston Bruins with some old time hockey love from the Murphys. Dropping lines that reference the best ways to take the T to the Garden, Rene Rancourt, and the “Causeway Crowd”–the Dropkick Murphys make the most of their love of the black and gold.
I don’t like the Bruins, I respect them. They are scrappers, tough guys on the ice. I despise Milan Lucic but I respect the Bruins. That’s what this is all about–respect! Yeah! Old time hockey! Gordie Howe! The Hanson Brothers! It’s Time to go!
1. Propagandhi – “Dear Coach’s Corner”
The creme la creme of hockey songs. Starting out with a soundbite of Don Cherry and Ron MacLean on Hockey Night In Canada, Propagandhi connects hockey to the military industrial complex of Canada and its specific brand of patriotism.
Gender roles, war hawking, sour “Grapes” and a love for a national sport all shine through on this track off of Supporting Caste. This is not a damnation of sports–it is an open letter to the bastardization of hockey in a national consciousness. Leave it to Propagandhi to make you question if they are for or against Canadian culture. Hockey is Canada’s best known export–the baseball of the great white north–it is entrenched in the very being of a people.
It makes sense that Propagandhi would have a convoluted and complicated answer to hockey as an (inter)national sport. Like a three on five penalty kill, sometimes you gotta make sacrifices for something you love.
Ten puck songs that present their love of hockey. Did I miss any? Wanna have a deep conversation on the merits of hybrid icing? Leave me your comments below!