Sports

Gord Downie's songs rich with Canadian sports history

The sad news that Gord Downie has died after battling terminal brain cancer reverberated across Canada on Wednesday, and sports fans have their own reasons to cherish the man whose lyrics were frequently peppered with references to Canadian sports history.

Tragically Hip frontman dies at age 53 after battling terminal brain cancer

Gord Downie, shown here performing during the halftime show of the 2004 CFL Grey Cup game in Ottawa, has died after a battle with terminal brain cancer. (Canadian Press)

Editor's note: This story was originally published on May 24, 2016. We're re-sharing it with Wednesday's news that Gord Downie has died.

The sad news that Gord Downie has passed away after battling terminal brain cancer reverberated across Canada on Wednesday.

Sports fans have their own reasons to cherish the man whose lyrics were frequently peppered with references to Canadian sports history.

The subject of the 1992 single Fifty-Mission Cap was Bill Barilko, the Maple Leafs player who scored a Stanley Cup-winning goal for the team in 1951 but disappeared in the months following the win.


Downie got right to the point in the first lines of Fireworks, from the Hip's Phantom Power album, referencing the biggest victory in Canadian hockey history: "If there's a goal that everyone remembers, it was back in ol' '72..."


The band teamed up with Sarah Harmer to record the song Silver Road, featured in the 2002 Canadian film Men With Brooms.


The curling comedy also featured the Tragically Hip as the rink representing Kingston, Ont., in a tournament.

You may recognize another Kingston, Ont., native in the video for The Darkest One.


In fact, Don Cherry's former boss, (and former Boston Bruins GM) Harry Sinden, is Downie's godfather.

For the 2006 album World Container, Downie penned the song Lonely End of the Rink, which may be one of the only love songs in the history of music to reference dekes.


The song Heaven is a Better Place Today, off 2004's In Between Evolution, was written about the 2003 death of Atlanta Thrashers player Dan Snyder, who died in a car crash.


Courtesy of The Canadian Press, here are a few other selections of Canadiana from Downie and the Hip:

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