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On Wednesday, several Flames players sounded off on what Gord Downie meant to Canada


On Wednesday, it was announced that Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie had passed away. He announced his diagnosis of glioblastoma - an aggressive form of brain cancer - in May of 2016, and engaged in a final cross-country tour with the Hip that summer, all the while continuing to work on musical projects. The impact of his death was felt throughout Canada, as well as the NHL, and the Flames were certainly no exception. See what they had to say about the musical icon's impact on Canadian culture:

Mike Smith on his experiences with The Tragically Hip and the passing of Gord Downie

"I think I was in Dallas my first year and they played the House of Blues. It was a small venue, it was probably one of the more unique concerts I've been to. Got to hang out with them after, have some beers, and just enjoy kind of talking to those guys and seeing how passionate they are about their music, but also about the game of hockey. And just having a few minutes to talk to Gord and the rest of the band members, it was a unique experience."

"It's hard. It's hard. I think it's a sad day as a Canadian boy, growing up outside of Kingston, and the Tragically Hip being such a big part of my life for over 25 years now."

"I remember driving around high school listening to their music with my buddies, and going fishing, having their music on my Discman. I grew up in a town half an hour north of Kingston, less than a thousand people, so I think … It's something exciting, you know, you grow up in a small town, a blue collar town, our claim to fame is a Ford dealership."

"I think Gord was such a unique writer. If you watch the way he performs, no one else would be able to imitate what he did."

"I don't think it's just one song, I could be here all day naming songs that I love. But I think just, how unique he was as a person, as an artist, he'll live on forever, but obviously it's a really sad day."

"I think just how special he was to watch in person and live. It's one thing to listen to his music on the radio or I guess on your Discman back in the day when there was actually CDs, but his performances live would be unmatched. He's an entertainer, and obviously he's definitely going to be missed."

"I'm sure every dressing room in the NHL this morning was listening to the Tragically Hip, and I'm sure I'll be listening to a lot more down the stretch here."

Matt Stajan on Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip's impact on Canadian culture

"Yeah, it's a sad day. I think everybody in the hockey world knows the Hip, in the dressing rooms. He was a great person, he's done a lot the last year, going across Canada was unbelievable and very inspiring, so today is a sad day. I know we all knew it was going to come at some point, but when the day comes it's very, very sad."

"I was lucky enough in Toronto, I believe we had just traded for Andrew Raycroft. And Gord, being a big Boston Bruins fan, he was all about meeting Andrew, and obviously being a goalie and playing in Boston. So we got to go to one of his shows, Massey Hall, and meet the band. It was great. Their shows were unique and a lot of fun and it was a good experience."

"I think as kids we all dream of playing in the NHL, and when you get here you meet a lot of the people you look up to. The jukebox in high school was Tragically Hip over and over, so when you get to the NHL and you get these opportunities to meet certain people and someone like Gord Downie you jump at that opportunity, because they're great people, they're inspirational … Some people, with the culture in Canada, it's hockey, and Tragically Hip's right there with them."

"My favourite song would be Fiddler's Green. I loved putting it on the juke, on the radio, or in my car. That's the song that really is my go-to, but their whole album, I could put it on and listen to all their music and enjoy it."

Kris Versteeg on Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip

"Growing up, obviously his music, being very Canadian, and him being a big face for the country, it's pretty sad today. You listen to his music, and very nostalgic songs that bring you back to your childhood days."

Glen Gulutzan on Gord Downie's passing

"I know coming in early this morning the Hip was playing on our music system there, so obviously the guys were acknowledging it a little bit."

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