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3 times The Tragically Hip referenced hockey in their music

Donald Weber / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty

Many hockey fans north of the border - and of course east and west of the Hundredth Meridian - were rocked by the news Tuesday that Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie was diagnosed with a terminal form of brain cancer.

The Hip are special in that they're so uniquely, unapologetically Canadian, and so sewn through the fabric of the country's pop culture that even those not necessarily impacted by the news have been affected by their music in some fashion.

This is a group that's taught the history of Canada through song, after song, after song. And Downie has penned the lyrics that don't just hold up in the country's textbooks, but could serve as the curriculum.

This, of course, includes a few lessons in hockey.

Here are three times that Downie, the die-hard Boston Bruins fan and minor-hockey goalie from Kingston, Ontario, referenced the sport in his music.

Fifty-Mission Cap

Quintessential Canadian storytelling, "Fifty-Mission Cap" is undisguised as a hockey anthem, touching on the story, and delving into the myth and mystery, of Toronto Maple Leafs legend Bill Barilko.

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored
Won the Leafs the cup
They didn't win another till nineteen sixty two
The year he was discovered


"Fireworks" is uncharacteristically bubblegum, at least by Hip standards, but stays true to their general thematic. It reflects back to the moment in the young life of many Canadians, or anyone, who suddenly realizes there's more to life than just hockey. And it includes simplistically brilliant references to the 1972 Summit Series and Bruins great Bobby Orr.

If there's a goal that everyone remembers
It was back in old seventy two
We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger
And all I remember is sitting beside you

You said you didn't give a f--- about hockey
And I never saw someone say that before
You held my hand and we walked home the long way
You were loosening my grip on Bobby Orr

Heaven is a Better Place Today

Downie wrote this song after the death of former Atlanta Thrashers forward Dan Snyder, who died in a car crash when his then-teammate, Dany Heatley, lost control at the wheel.

Like most of his hockey references, though, Downie tributes Snyder as part of a larger scope, or, in the case of "Heaven is a Better Place Today," also paying homage to those who serve their country.

Here's a glue guy, a performance god
A makeshift shrine, or newly lain sod
Hardly even trying, gives the nod

I sure hope I'm not the type to dwell
Hope I'm a fast healer, fast as hell
Heaven is a better place today
Because of this, but the world is just not the same

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