BURLINGTON, Ont. – Over the course of the next couple weeks, member schools from across Ontario University Athletics (OUA) will pay tribute to the late Gord Downie in a way that is a fitting honour for a great Canadian icon.
While no gesture or tribute will ever be enough to encapsulate what Gord Downie meant to this country, schools from across the province will look to do their part in their upcoming men's and women's hockey games. Schools such as the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), the University of Waterloo, Royal Military College of Canada, Wilfrid Laurier University, and others will replace the goal horn with a song from the Tragically Hip, helping to link someone who was truly "ahead by a century" with moments of sincere celebration on the ice.
The impact that Downie, who sadly passed away on October 17, 2017 at the age of 53 after a lengthy battle with cancer, had on the sport of hockey and the athletes therein knows no bounds, and his iconic lyrics became intertwined with the sport. Legendary songs such as Fifty-Mission Cap, Fireworks, and Heaven is a Better Place Today all speak to the place that hockey has in our lives – whether it's helping us relive some of the most memorable moments in Canadian hockey history or honouring those who were sadly taken from the game over the years. But whatever the tune, there is perhaps no more meaningful link between music and sport than that of Gord Downie and his passion for hockey.
So it is only fitting that these OUA member schools turn to their on-ice efforts to celebrate the Tragically Hip front-man. And no matter where you tune in to OUA hockey action over the coming days and weeks, make sure to pay close attention to the music in the background. Whether it comes after a goal is scored, during the warm-ups, or during the stoppages of play, the Tragically Hip theme, along with the spirit of Gord Downie, will ring loud and proud across these Ontario university arenas – just like it should.