"The Hockey Song" legend Stompin' Tom Connors dead at 77
A sad day for Canadians and hockey fans around the world. Stompin' Tom Conners has passed away.
Best known for his irresistible sports anthem, "The Hockey Song," the man born Thomas Charles Connors was 77 years old.
A heartfelt outpouring on Twitter immediately followed news of the icon's death.
"Rest in peace Stompin' Tom Connors - a true Canadian hero. "And he's sailin' on to glory, away in a golden dory,"" wrote Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
The official Twitter account of the National Hockey Leagues posted this message: "Sad to hear that legendary Canadian Stompin' Tom Connors has passed. His legacy lives on in arenas every time "The Hockey Song" is played."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also offered his condolences, "We have lost a true Canadian original. R.I.P. Stompin' Tom Connors. You played the best game that could be played."
The following statement was released via the singer’s official website:
Today Canada lost one of its' true musical icons with the passing of Stompin’ Tom Connors O.C.,LL.D.,Litt.D. Connors died of natural causes at his home in Ontario. He was 77 years of age.
Stompin’ Tom literally put Canada on the map with such songs as “The Hockey Song”, “Sudbury Saturday Night”, “Bud The Spud”, “Tillsonburg”, "Big Joe Mufferaw" and countless others.
Born Thomas Charles Connors in Saint John New Brunswick on February 9th 1936, he was separated from his mother at a young age and raised by foster parents in Skinners Pond, P.E.I. until he was 13 years old. His life of poverty, orphanages, hitchhiking and playing bars would eventually turn into a life of hit songs, national concert tours and fame in spite of a constant uphill battle to be recognized by the music industry in Canada. In 1979 in a fit of frustration and disappointment he returned all 6 of his Juno awards as a statement of personal protest against the Americanization of the Canadian Music Industry, a sentiment he continued to express to this day. In 1989 Tom signed with EMI Music Canada, teamed up with talent promoter Brian Edwards and returned to the stage where fans young and old embraced his music once again as he quickly became one of the biggest concert draws and sought after performers in the country.
Due to the unwavering love for promoting his home country, some of the many accolades he has received include becoming an Officer of the Order of Canada, his own Canadian postage stamp, he was invited by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson to receive the Governor Generals Performing Arts Award, he was the recipient of both the Queens Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals and he earned 3 honorary doctorate degrees (Saint Thomas University in Saint John New Brunswick; "Laws", University of Toronto; "Laws", and the University of P.E.I.; "Letters").
He now has an astounding 61 recorded albums, 10 of which have yet to be released to the public. His songs will continue to be made available worldwide and remain a legacy to his career, his life and his beloved country.
Tom is survived by his wife Lena, 2 sons, 2 daughters and several grandchildren.
The Celebration of Tom's life is being planned for Wednesday, March 13th in Peterborough, ON at 7pm at the Peterborough Memorial Centre and per his request, will be open to the public.
In lieu of flowers, the Connors family has asked that donations be made to your local food bank or homeless shelters, in memory of Stompin' Tom.