Punk rock’s two essential albums for the hockey fanatic
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
With the NHL’s lousy labour dispute holding hockey fans in a headlock, many have turned to buying their $6.50 beers at Giants games or watching any other occasional junior league broadcast. If those methods of dealing with an NHL-free winter don’t work, try jamming these classic Canadian punk rock albums recorded as a tribute to the “good ol’ hockey game.”
The Hanson Brothers – Sudden Death, (1996)
Recorded by the alter egos of long-standing local punks, Nomeansno, The Hanson Brothers, with obvious namesake from the essential hockey film, Slapshot, sound like a tongue-in-cheek tribute to hockey “brodom” distilled through the simplicity of the Ramones. On Sudden Death, they open with a double-tempo cover of Canada’s second national anthem, Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “The Hockey Song,” with the mock announcer voice in the song (“secund’ peerud’”) replaced with a voice closer to Eric Cartman from South Park than Jim Hughson—tacky, but fitting. The rest of the album sounds like Screeching Weasel with more testosterone. The track “Rink Rat” is the best example of this with its charming chorus lines that’ll take you back to your unrequited rink fantasies as a 14-year old. “I’m in love with the hot dog girl/I’m in love with the popcorn girl/I’m in love with the ticket girl,” sings front-man Johnny Hanson.
The album is full of charming, chuckle-worthy lyrics from end to end. “Stick Boy” opens with “I got no name or number/I just hand out the lumber,” an anthem for benchwarmers across the country. The album is a much overlooked piece of Canadiana—think Trailer Park Boys raised on Ramones and Dead Kennedys.
D.O.A. and Thor – Are U Ready (2003)
Are U Ready is a deadly pact between Vancouver’s most legendary punk band, D.O.A., and the city’s most legendary heavy metal act, Thor. The split consists of groups going track-for-track on a dozen songs, self-described on the back cover to be “Incredible sporting tunes!” The self-titled album opener performed by D.O.A. was actually played at Canucks games for a while upon release. I reckon it was a welcome break from constant barrage of Nickelback and Gary Glitter.
This album belongs in the hockey rink. Thor’s track, “Gladiator Stomp” is designed to be a between-plays chant, and likely would be that for the Canucks if “Go Canucks Go” didn’t exist as the go-to refrain. There was also a familial tie to that track—my uncle played the organ on it. D.O.A.’s best number on the disk is “Beat ‘Em, Bust ‘Em”, a rally-cry for enforcers everywhere. The line “You gotta smash them in the teeth at least once or twice” sounds a lot less goony over the major key tune. The track would sound a lot scarier if it were shouted out by Thor himself, a champion bodybuilder known for bending metal at shows.