Music and Hockey

Justin at 2013 Maccabiah Games

Coming back to SC after 2016 Christmas break, one of the greatest things I’ve done for myself is to get back on the ice, playing in a men’s ice hockey league once a week on Thursday nights.

Getting out on the ice and lacing ‘em up with the boys has brought back many memories given that I played ice hockey for 17 years as a kid growing up in Montreal, Quebec.

Justin Playing Hockey at Hampstead Park


Justin - Sophmore LCC Varsity

Like anyone who played competitive sports growing up will attest to, the competitiveness and camaraderie cultivated on a youth sports team can be very special. And some of the best memories stem from the drives to and from the rink with family and teammates, as well as time spent in the locker room, both before and after being on the ice. Looking back on my sophomore year at USC, I am so happy I brought hockey back into my life.

As a music student, there is an on-going dialogue in many of my classes about the relationship between music and memories. Frankly, I always took this conversation for granted in that I never gave deep thought to music’s impact on my memories. Getting back into hockey triggered me to think about this a lot more.

I can already picture how, someday in the future, the albums I fell in love with this spring will someday bring me back to the moments of happiness and clarity I experienced on Thursday nights. In some sense, getting back on the ice represents my initiative of striving towards a better me, and the music will always be associated with this time as a marker in my memory. Over this semester, it was a slew of hip-hop records, such as: Future (Future), Hendrxx (Future), DAMN. (Kendrick Lamar), Culture (Migos), Everybody (Logic), and lots of Frank Ocean singles.

During one of my drives to the rink with a fraternity brother and teammate, Jack Keatingwe wound up having a great conversation about standout pump-up songs/the immortality of Eye of the Tiger by Survivor. As we laughed, I shared with Jack that one of my favorite things about playing ice hockey had nothing to do with being on the ice – It was curating pre-game pump-up and post-game celly playlists for the team. Year after year, one song from each list seemed to hit home with the group and would inevitably serve as a rallying cry. In hindsight, these songs serve as time markers for the memories of the teams I played on and the “characters” I played with. Shout-out to Joe Lipari.

So, in the spirit of getting back on the ice, here’s a list of my top 10 all-time favorite hockey songs.

As an added bonus to this playlist, I present our video which has accumulated over 1.4 million views. The video celebrates our memories on my family’s outdoor rink at my home in Montreal, Canada. The boys definitely brought out the sauce for the shoot – check out the fun below!