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Hockey has always found a way to insert itself into pop culture. Whether it’s Happy Hogan having a New York Islanders jersey on the wall in his apartment in the movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home, or the hilarious Saturday Night Live skit with Chance the Rapper as a sideline reporter at a hockey game, it’s fun to see hockey references in TV and movies. As a self proclaimed multi-genre music enthusiast, here’s a look at some of the different ways hockey has shown up within different genres of music.
Like an Original Six team, hockey and hip-hop have a storied relationship together. Back in the 90s, Snoop Dogg wore a custom Pittsburgh Penguins jersey in his music video for “Gin and Juice,” and in the music video for “Flava In Ya Ear,” Craig Mack wore a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey. Snoop Dogg has also collaborated with the Los Angeles Kings and the NHL. Canadian rapper, Cadence Weapon, even wrote a song called “Connor McDavid”, after the Oilers star forward. Other hip-hop artists to rep NHL jerseys include Rihanna, who once wore an Ottawa Senators jersey on a night out, SZA who sported a custom St. Louis Blues jersey on the cover of her album, S.O.S, and Italian rapper Salmo who wore a Chicago Blackhawks jersey on stage at an Italian music festival. Finally, Lil Yachty set his music video for “Minnesota” in a hockey rink and sported a jersey that looked similar to the New York Rangers.
In the music video for “90’s Love” (which has over 130 million views on YouTube), NCT U takes the ice as a hockey team. Another group, Up10tion incorporated hockey into their music video for “White Night.” DIA did two live performances of their song “Somehow” in New York Rangers and Boston Bruins jerseys, which drew praise from NHLers. Current Ranger, Chris Krieder had the performance of the group decked out in New York Rangers jerseys linked in his Twitter bio, and former Bruin Milan Lucic praised the group to his Instagram followers. Finally, in a teaser for his debut album The Story, Kang Daniel wore a Tyler Seguin jersey.
Derek Discanio, the lead singer of State Champs, is a former youth hockey player and current Dallas Stars fan. The “Hard to Please” by State Champs music video is centered around the band as members of a hockey team and is performed in a hockey rink. In 2021, Seaway did a merchandise collaboration with hockey clothing brand, Violent Gentlemen. Lastly, in Paramore’s music video for “Pressure,” lead singer Hayley Williams sports a Philadelphia Flyers tee while singing in an abandoned warehouse.
Post-hardcore and metalcore have intense vocals and aggressive energy that has to be released, kind of like a playoff game. The most notable example of this rock subgenre in hockey is “Puck Off” by Pantera, the goal song for the Dallas Stars. Although they’re from Burlington, Ontario, Silverstein has collaborated with the New Jersey Devils, and their song “Ultraviolet” was used as the team’s song for the 2022-23 season. Bands can also use hockey as artistic inspiration, such as Donnybrook, whose album artwork for Lions in the Game features a hockey fight. On the ice itself, Jake Luhrs, lead vocalist for August Burns Red, plays hockey recreationally and even shook hands with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky at the 2023 NHL Winter Classic. Lurhs also counts himself as a Boston Bruins fan. Puck Hcky, a hockey clothing brand, combines hockey themed merchandise with different rock artists such as Metallica. Last in the post-hardcore and metalcore genre is Point North and The Ghost Inside, who dropped a hockey-themed music video for their collaborative song “Safe and Sound.”
Hockey has shown up in pop music primarily when artists like One Direction and Taylor Swift receive a jersey whenever they play a show at a hockey arena. Perhaps the most celebrated musician in hockey right now is noted Toronto Maple Leafs fan Justin Bieber. Bieber created a special music video of his song “Hold On” as a love letter to the team, is friends with Leafs’ forward Auston Matthews, and also did a merchandise collaboration with the team in 2021. Michael Bublé, another Canadian artist, is a Vancouver Canucks fan who once sang Christmas carols with Canucks forward Elias Pettersson.
Hockey continues to expand into different genres of music, an expansion and platform that can aid the growth of hockey, bring new fans to the game, and build connections between sport and pop culture.