An east coast song celebrates Team Canada goals at world juniors for second year


For the second year in a row, Team Canada is celebrating its goals at the world junior ice hockey championship with a song from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Great Big Sea’s “Ordinary Day” came blasting out of the speakers on Tuesday near the end of the first period after Canada scored its first goal of the tournament against Finland in Gothenburg, Sweden. The upbeat trad-rock song would play another four times as the team beat its European opponents 5-2.

“Ordinary Day” is a song about perseverance and perspective, with lyrics, “And I say, whey, hey, hey it’s just an ordinary day, and it’s all in your state of mind.” It was chosen after two weeks of intense deliberation, said Scott Salmond, Hockey Canada’s senior vice-president of operations.

“It is taken very seriously, for sure,” Salmond said about the process of selecting a goal song. “We really believe it can have a huge impact on the game and on the team.”

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Before the song is played for the first time, he added, there’s always some anxiety it may not catch on. But on Tuesday night, Salmond said, Canadians in the stands in Gothenburg jumped out of their seats and belted out the lyrics to “Ordinary Day” after Nate Danielson knocked the puck past Finland’s goalie, Niklas Kokko.

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“They were standing and singing and cheering and clapping,” he said in an interview. “When the play resumed, there was still some people that were singing it, and I think it’ll just continue to grow.”

Every team in the world juniors has a goal song, played to ramp up the crowd and celebrate the puck landing in the net. Some countries, such as Finland, have a national song that plays when any of its teams score, Salmond said.

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Hockey Canada wants its team to have a song by a Canadian artist, something the audience can celebrate with, he said, adding, “We want to have a little more personality.”

Salmond wouldn’t say how many contenders there were for this year’s song, or what they were. But he said the debate was a serious process.

Managers, players, coaches and other Team Canada staff began offering suggestions on Dec. 9, and a final decision was made after a meeting on the night of Dec. 21, he said.

“We were all around the table and we played some different songs and people on our own staff were standing up and singing along to ‘Ordinary Day,’ and we just said, ‘That’s it, it’s obvious,’” he said.

Click to play video: 'Canadian music icon Alan Doyle previews his comedy musical play ‘Tell Tale Harbour’'

Canadian music icon Alan Doyle previews his comedy musical play ‘Tell Tale Harbour’

The popular Great Big Sea song, from the band’s album “Play,” was recommended by Team Canada’s doctor, R.J. MacKenzie, who hails from Cape Breton, N.S., Salmond said.

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“Ordinary Day” has a tough act to follow: last year’s goal tune, “Heave Away” by Newfoundland and Labrador band The Fables, had crowds at the world juniors in Halifax going wild, Salmond said.

It climbed to No. 12 on the Spotify Viral 50 Canada chart by the end of the tournament.

So far, it seems “Ordinary Day” will be just as beloved.

“I loved it,” said Team Canada centre Macklin Celebrini on Wednesday, two days after officials unveiled the song for the team.

“We didn’t know how it was going to go. And then we heard it on the ice and then we all loved it,” Celebrini said.

Alan Letang, Team Canada’s head coach, said he was familiar with the song from his days playing with the now-defunct Fredericton Canadiens, in the American Hockey League.

“It’s 100 per cent my vintage, right?” he said in an interview. “I think it’s perfect … We saw how a goal song catches on last year. Hopefully this one rolls along the same path.”

He said the song really “sums up” the team.

The publicist for Alan Doyle, Great Big Sea’s former frontman, did not respond to an emailed request for an interview. But on X, formerly Twitter, Doyle expressed his enthusiasm on Tuesday afternoon.

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“Loves it,” he wrote, using a popular Newfoundland expression. “Go Team Canada!”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 27, 2023.

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