Ben Gibbard Admits to Getting the Rules of Hockey Wrong in the Postal Service's "Nothing Better"

"Like a goalie tending the net in the third quarter / Of a tied-game rivalry"

Photo: Autumn de Wilde

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 31, 2023

The Postal Service's celebrated album Give Up turns 20 this year, and in doing press for the upcoming anniversary tour, singer Ben Gibbard has admitted that he's "embarrassed" about a lyric in the song "Nothing Better" in which he gets the rules of hockey wrong.

The lyric in question is: "I can't accept that it's over / Then I will block the door / Like a goalie tending the net in the third quarter / Of a tied-game rivalry."

Speaking with the podcast Life of the Record in an episode published earlier this month (July 18), Gibbard acknowledged, "There's one part of the song that I feel a little embarrassed about now, and that is just that there's a reference in the first verse to 'like a goalie tending the net in the third quarter of a tied-game rivalry.' And I needed the rhyme, so I figured I could get away with it, even though it's, I guess technically, a reference to hockey. And in hockey, there are periods; they're not quarters."

He went on to acknowledge that Canadians have frequently corrected him on the line over the past 20 years. He said, "I've had a number of Canadians, or I guess hockey fans or sticklers, hit me with that and be like, 'Y'know, I don't know what you're talking about here — they're not called quarters, they're called periods.' I'm like, 'I know, I know. It's artistic license. Maybe poor artistic license, but artistic license nonetheless.'"

Gibbard angered Canadians by messing up the rules of hockey — and now he's insulted our country once again by completely skipping us on his fall tour, when he's playing both Give Up and Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism (which both came out in 2003 and are turning 20) in full.

Listen to him and Postal Service bandmate Jimmy Tamborello on Life of the Record below.

Latest Coverage