Nfld. & Labrador

Real-life romance inspires hockey song by musician who's never played the sport

In a room full of some of the greatest hockey players to ever lace up a pair a skates stood a man who has never played the game singing about their sport.

Jody Richardson teamed up with Kim Stockwood and Dave Bidini

Jody Richardson (centre) is joined by Deb and Jim Bellows who inspired his song, Thanks Hockey. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

In a room full of some of the greatest hockey players to ever lace up a pair a skates stood a man who has never played the game singing about their sport. 

Jody Richardson has a long list of talents — singer/songwriter/playwright — but you won't find hockey anywhere on his resumé. 

Instead, he found inspiration in the story of a Newfoundland couple who love the game, and each other.

"I had worked with Ron MacLean and Stephen Brunt at the writers' festival out in Woody Point," he told the St. John's Morning Show

"They've kind of been around me when I had pulled off different creative things so Ron, God bless his heart, and Steve, pulled me in to do this."

On Jan. 17, Marble Mountain Hockey Day in Canada held a night featuring the relationship between music and hockey along with a playful draft for it's alumni game.

Jody Richardson, left, on stage with Kim Stockwood backed by Dave Bidini at Marble Mountain on Jan. 17/2018. (SportsNet)

With former NHL greats like Lanny McDonald, Bryan Trottier and Wendel Clarke in the audience Richardson, with the help of Kim Stockwood and backed by the Dave Bidini Band, debuted his latest work, Thanks Hockey. 

"I wanted to write a song about women in hockey," Richardson said.

Listen to Thanks Hockey in the player below: 

Thanks to a mutual friend he was put in contact with the hockey-loving couple Deb and Jim Bellows. The pair met up for a four-hour interview which turned into 30 pages of notes and a lot for Richardson to work with. 

In 2011 Deb started playing hockey and helped start up the TomCats, an all-woman hockey club that Bellows hopes will turn into a league someday. 

Deb Bellows played on the St. John's TomCats which competed in 2016 for the Westy Award, recognizing "the best beer league team in the world." (Facebook )

"When Jody contacted us, one of the first things I said to him was, 'You may have to shut me up,' because once you get me started talking about the TomCats and women involved in hockey I will go on and on," she said. 

The song tells the couple's life story — one growing up with hockey, and one without. The duet, featuring Richardson as the voice of Jim and Stockwood as the voice of Deb, runs about seven and a half minutes.

"It was surreal," Jim said.

"To have them represent our story pretty close to my hometown [Mount Moriah] and that there was going to be a lot of people there who know who I am. All I could picture was playing pond hockey as kid."

The pair never got a chance to travel to the western part to the province to see the performance but they did get a video that brought tears to their eyes and smiles to their faces. 

"That was amazing, absolutely amazing," Deb said.

As much as the pair loved the tune, their first love is each other, with hockey a close second.

"To be playing as much as I am now and to be playing hockey with my wife on a regular basis is living the dream ... I couldn't have it any better," said Jim.