Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Hockey's Finest Album

by Greg

Jes asked/pleaded with me to write something, anything. I can hardly blame him -- my name's up there in the masthead, but I write about as often as the Blue Jackets make the playoffs.

The problem is, right now, that I'm strangely dispassionate about this year's playoffs. Last year neither of my teams really had a chance -- the Avalanche made the second round, but were obviously not a contender -- yet I was rabid throughout. This year... ehhhh. I found last year's Oilers and Hurricanes compelling -- not so this year. This was best illustrated Sunday night, when I got a text message informing me of the Canucks' loss (my new favorite team, you'll recall) from a heartbroken Vancouver fan. My response was to shrug, go back to drinking sangria, and sing Pogues songs at friends who would have preferred I didn't.

And the playoffs are really the only subject worth writing about, unless I want to feign interest in Mats Sundin's health, so I had to look around.

Thankfully, inspiration struck in the form of an old, half-forgotten CD -- a CD that's possibly the finest hockey-themed album ever made.

Late in my college career, a small package from Canada showed up at the paper where I was working, and inside: "Johnny Hanson Presents Puck Rock, Vol. 1". I knew about the Hanson Brothers, of course -- but a compilation of a whole bunch of different punk bands playing hockey songs? Hotcha!

I hadn't heard of any of the groups aside from the Hanson Brothers, SNFU, and DOA before this ... and really, I haven't heard of most of them since. They were, I'm pretty sure, mostly from western Canada (there's a sort of Edmonton/Vancouver skew in the song subjects), and doing google searches on 'em (Glenn Ford and the Piers, for instance) turns up very very little.

Whatever -- it's great. The aforementioned Piers and their "What's Wrong With Lumme?" are still a frequent player in my mental jukebox (meaning that ol' #21 still takes up valuable mental real estate, while I can't remember where I left my keys each day). DOA and the Hansons are fantastic as always. And there's a retrospective wistfulness to the Smugglers' "Our Stanley Cup," written in 1994 -- dreaming of the imminent day when Vancouver would have the trophy. Whoops.

The packaging is a gem, too -- each band gets its own hockey-style logo, and "Johnny Hanson" gives snotty little reports on each band. They've got Cleveland Barons, Colorado Rockies, and Kansas City Scouts hanging in the back of the photos -- A+ for that.

Unfortunately it's long out of print (Amazon has it for a kind of loony $67 Canadian), as is volume 2 (also well worth a listen, though a bit of the novelty had worn off). If you can find one, though, snap it up and play it this playoff season. Much better than listening to the announcers.


Perhaps if you were cheering on the side of the righteous (aka not the Canucks), you would have more fun watching the playoff. For instance, I am having a ball.

The Hanson Brothers take on the Hockey Song is priceless (search youtube for the stupid video). Seriously. Horrid. Who said hockey isn't funny?

BTW: Did I still tell you the secret place to find Czechvar? Maybe even in Atlanta?
SECRET place to find Czechvar? No -- do tell. I'm jonesin'.
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