The prospect of missing yet another NHL playoff season has two Edmonton musicians singing the blues and belting out a new anthem for long-defeated hockey fans across the country.
The Suffering Hockey Fan Blues, written and performed by Ken Brown and Stuart Adams, is dedicated to every fan who started the season with hope only to have it crushed.
“Losing at hockey is universal,” Adams said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.
“I mean, think about how they feel in Vancouver.”
While there are some classic songs about victory on the ice, Adams felt there was a void in the blues genre.
‘Weeping into my tea’
“I was watching Team Canada getting knocked out of the World Juniors … and I thought, ‘Man, there’s no hockey blues for losing hockey fans,'” Stuart said.
“So the next time I saw Ken I said, ‘We should do this together. ‘”
After three weeks refining the lyrics over coffee, the pair recorded the song in Brown’s kitchen — with Brown on guitar and bass, and Adams on harmonica and vocals.
Some of the lyrics include:
Our nightly drubbing on the boobtube. You can hardly call it sport,
I wish my TV remote had a button called abort,
Seasons tickets costing as much as an ocean’s cruise,
Fans way past restless, why take this much abuse?
I’ve got the care until it hurts me, hockey fan blues.
As Edmonton hockey fans, Brown and Adams — who have been jamming together since 2002 — feel they were uniquely equipped to pen the song. They’ve had rinkside seats to the Oiler’s failures for decades, and their plight proved the perfect muse, Brown said.
He has shed many tears over the team.
“Weeping into my tea or beer, depending on the time of day they’re playing and remembering the glory days of the Oilers also contributes to one’s sense of tragedy about what’s happened to the team over the last few years,” Brown said.
The song, however, is not exclusively an ode to the Oilers, Stuart said. He’s a Montreal Canadiens fan and said the song rings true for anyone.
Those doomed to root for a losing team for another losing season are all singing from the same song sheet, he said.
A loss on the ice can cut deep.
“I’m an authentic Albertan but I was a Habs fan before the Oilers came into the league, and I was actually living in Montreal when they knocked us out the playoffs in 1981 and after about 20 years, I got over it.
“This song is for the 10-year-old hockey fan in all of us. Come June there will be 30 losing teams.”
Stuart hopes the song is shared widely and inspires other browbeaten fans to craft their own musical hockey howls.
“That would be fun, having people write their own versions,” he said.
“I mean, there are so many terms and puck-suck-luck rhyme schemes that you can come up with.”
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