Hosers and Fifty Mission Caps

Comments 2 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’ve learned a thing or two in the last couple of days that may seem completely automatic for any other Canadian, and for this I apologize.

The first being the origin of the word “hoser”, which is a commonly used Canadian slang term, similar to calling someone a “loser”, popularized by Bob and Doug of The Great White North [wiki].

Thanks to this post by fellow Crazy Canuck, Alanah over at Canucks and Beyond, John got to the bottom of the term.

“Alternatively, the term may originate as a variation of “loser”; in amateur games of hockey the losing team would have to “hose down” the rink, resurface the ice with a water hose.” [wiki]

It’s the last explanation that I’m sticking with for now. I mean, the rest of it makes sense, but relating it back to hockey works for me. [audihertz]

Second, is something I learned while watching Hockey: A People’s History, and I just haven’t applied it to anything until this morning listening to the radio while getting ready for work. During the series on CBC, they mentioned Bill Barilko and a curse that plagued the Maple Leafs for several years [FiftyMissionCap Blog].

Photo credit: HipMuseum

…On August 26, he joined his dentist, Henry Hudson, on a flight aboard Hudson’s Fairchild 24 floatplane to northern Quebec en route to a fishing trip. On the return trip, the single-engine plane disappeared and its passengers remained missing despite a massive search. On June 7, 1962 a helicopter pilot discovered the wreckage of the plane about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Cochrane.

Notably, the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup that year, after not winning it at all during the eleven years that he was missing. The Tragically Hip‘s song “Fifty Mission Cap” (from their 1992 album Fully Completely) prominently features Barilko’s tragic story and the absence of the Leafs victory until the year he was found [wiki]

As a good Canadian, I should be able to interpret any lyric written by Gord Downie, but at least now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

2 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. BradleyWednesday, March 7th, 2007 — 6:57pm PST

    According to the racial slur database, “Hoser” originates from the early days when automobiles were just becoming affordable for everyday people and canadians were notorious for siphoning gas with hoses and developed a reputation as being siphoners. Hence the “hoser”

  2. BradleyWednesday, March 7th, 2007 — 6:57pm PST

    and yes the Racial Slur Database really exists. Despite the name its actually quite fascinating as to where the terms come from in a way, haha

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