“She grew up watching hockey, with her daddy on Saturday nights. He taught her how to tie her skates; her brothers taught her how to fight.”
In the opening lines of irresistible homegrown hit Canadian Girls, country musician Dean Brody could be talking about any of the more than 86,000 females currently registered in minor hockey across the country – or countless more girls and women who grew up playing or watching what we all consider to be the coolest game around.
While Brody, originally from Jaffray, B.C., but now living in Chester, N.S., wrote the song with the intention of making it relatable to Canadian girls of all sorts, from the west coast to the east coast and everywhere in between, he’s of course been most closely inspired by the girls and women in his life.
“I’ve heard a lot of songs about American women and American girls, and as a kid one of my favourite songs was California girls, and I thought, ‘It would be cool if we had our own song,’ ” Brody said of what sparked the idea to pen the patriotic tune. “I sat down, and it was really tough, because the girls (here) are really diverse!”
“So I just thought, ‘Well I will try my best and write this song for the girls that are in my life and closest to me, and see if it means something to them,” he said. “I sang it for them, and they were like, “Yeah, we love this! ”
So who are the females who influenced the sweet, toe-stompin’ tune that since its release in January 2012 has quickly become a bit of an anthem for girls and women proudly born and bred north of the border?
“Well my wife, she’s definitely a big inspiration, (and) my daughter, she’s a little firecracker, she’s full of energy and there’s nothing that she won’t try, and at this point nothing she thinks that she can’t do,” he said proudly of his two main ladies, wife Iris and five-year-old daughter Molly. “And I just think that’s really cool.”
Brody said his wife’s parents ran a camp in the beautiful B.C. forest, “so during the winter they had the lake to themselves and she remembers playing hockey on the whole lake.”
“When it froze, she’d be out there every day playing hockey,” Brody said. “It’s funny, because we grew up about 10 minutes from each other and didn’t know it until we were basically 18 and 19 (years old). I was playing on a pond about ten miles from her.”
Brody is also hoping to get Molly into a pair of skates very soon.
“She’s more into the figure skating aspect of it,” he said with a chuckle. “But in the basement, I’ve got an official sized net and all the street hockey gear, so she likes to play a little bit of hockey down (there).”
“She’s likes to play goal,” he said of his daughter’s preferred position.
When Brody first wrote Canadian Girls, and even after testing it out on his female family and friends, he still worried about whether it would “strike a chord” with radio stations and its listeners. But it didn’t take long for his tribute to toque-wearing chicks to become a No.1 charting hit on Canadian country radio, and No. 1 on Country Music Television’s Top 20 Countdown.
Additionally, the album which features Canadian Girls, Dirt, helped Brody earn six 2012 Canadian Country Music Association Awards, including Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year, and two JUNO Award nominations. Brody has also been featured on television shows such as Degrassi: The Next Generation (the show is mentioned as a favourite of Canadian girls in the song), as well as on The Bachelor Canada.
Now , he’ll be helping to kick off the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, by singing the Canadian national anthem to open Team Canada’s first game of the tournament, a classic rivalry against the United States, next Tuesday, April 2. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. ET at SBP Arena, home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, and is also airing live on TSN.
And of course, he’ll be singing a completely different type of anthem, to all Canadian girls watching the game from the stands and playing the game on the ice, during the first intermission.
Brody said not only is he truly “happy” and “honoured” to take part in the festivities surrounding Tuesday evening’s game featuring Canada’s National Women’s Team taking on the United States, but he’s also “looking forward to some great hockey … and the chance to get behind our team and root for them,” at this year’s women’s world championship in the nation’s capital.
Just watch for the flash of the traditional Team Canada jersey in his Canadian Girls video – a sign of a true fan, indeed.
“There’s just something about when Team Canada plays – I’ve gotta watch,” Brody said. “And in our house it doesn’t matter if it’s the men’s or women’s (team), they’re both as equally as big of a deal to watch those games.”
“We’re just so proud of our country, and our sport,” he added. “It’s part of our fabric; it’s part of who we are … Canada IS hockey.”