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OTTAWA – Baseball has as its unofficial anthem “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
And hockey has “The Hockey Song.” Its creator, Canadian country music star Stompin’ Tom Connors, has died from natural causes. He was 77.
Connors left that catchy tune, played at every Toronto Maple Leafs NHL home game, as his legacy in small-town arenas countrywide.
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Born Charles Thomas Connors and rising from working class roots in Saint John, New Brunswick, Connors lived with his mother in a women’s jail before he was taken by the Children’s Aid Society to live with an adopted family on Prince Edward Island. He worked in mines and road box cars in his youth.
Connors became a guitar-playing Ontario cowboy who held audiences across Canada rapt by pounding the floor with his left foot while performing onstage.
He wrote about 300 songs during his long career, including hits like “Sudbury Saturday Night” and “Bud the Spud.”
In a final letter to fans released this week, Connors said that, without them, there would never have been a Stompin’ Tom.
“It was a long and bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world,” he added.
“We have lost a true Canadian original. R.I.P. Stompin’ tom Connors. You played the best game that could be played,” Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, a hockey historian, said on his Twitter account.
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