Tom Connors, sang 'Hockey Song,' dead at 77

Wednesday, 03.06.2013 / 9:35 PM

Canadian country-folk legend Stompin' Tom Connors, who was responsible for "The Hockey Song," also known as "The Good Old Hockey Game," died Wednesday. He was 77.

Connors passed away from what a spokesman described as natural causes.

Dubbed Stompin' Tom for his propensity to pound the floor with his left foot during performances, Connors garnered a devoted following through straight-ahead country-folk tunes that drew inspiration from his extensive travels and focused on the everyman.

He was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, on Feb. 9, 1936 to an unwed teenage mother. According to his autobiography, "Before the Fame," he often lived hand-to-mouth as a youngster, hitchhiking with his mother from the age of 3, begging on the street by the age of 4. At 8, he was placed in the care of Children's Aid and adopted a year later by a family in Skinner's Pond, Prince Edward Island. He ran away four years later to hitchhike across the country.

Connors bought his first guitar at age 14 and picked up odd jobs as he wandered from town to town, at times working on fishing boats, as a grave digger, tobacco picker and fry cook.

Legend has it that Connors began his musical career when he found himself a nickel short of a beer at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins, Ontario, in 1964 at age 28.

Connors' accomplishments included an appointment to the Order of Canada in 1996, and his own postage stamp.

Connors is survived by his wife Lena, two sons, two daughters and several grandchildren.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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