Children's singer Raffi, best-known for songs like "Down by the Bay", "Baby Beluga", and "Bananaphone", has been making noise in the hockey community since he started the drive to Mute Don Cherry back in December.
Raffi has been outspoken about his desire to "pacify" the game (a word he used consciously in this interview) -- to rid it of the fighting, headshots, and violence that he feels it simply doesn't need. Now, he hopes to wade a little further into the discussion with a brand-new hockey song titled "On Hockey Days", which focuses on the hockey family preparing for a day at the rink.
It's a simple, both lyrically and musically, but if you were expecting Radiohead-level complicatedness, you must not know Raffi. Like most of his music, the song is meant for children and families.
But there's a message in the simplicity. The lyrics celebrate hockey while omitting topics such as fighting and head hits because Raffi feels the game, like the song, is better off without them.
"With the growing concern about the rough stuff in the game and injuries and so on I just thought that maybe a song would be the right thing do," Raffi said. "And when I heard that in minor hockey, both Hockey Canada and USA Hockey are moving to ban fights from the game, I thought, this is the time to write a song about the pure love of the game. I wanted to capture that spirit of fun and fair play that starts with shinny and outdoor rinks and all that kind of stuff and then goes indoors... What I hope is that it will be well-known for a song that celebrates the pure love of the game at the grassroots level."
Furthermore, the lyrics are inclusive both to boys and girls, as Raffi feels the game should be. He praised the Canadian national women's team, as well as Cassie Campbell's work on CBC.
Hockey had a major impact on the singer's childhood.
"I've been a hockey fan for a long time," he said. "My story is a classic imimigrant story. I came to Canada at the age of 10 and I was in Toronto, and my father used to buy a pie on Saturday nights. He'd bring it home and we'd watch Hockey Night in Canada, and when the Leafs scored we'd have a slice of pie. You don't forget something like that. What happens in your childhhod stays with you."
Raffi wants hockey to have that same impact on the next generation of children. "We owe it to kids to model fun, fair, smart hockey," he said.
So does Raffi hope the song replaces "The Hockey Song" at the top of hockey song pyramid? "I wouldn't stomp on Stompin' Tom," chuckles Raffi. Then, in typically inclusive fashion: "There's room for everyone."
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney