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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ranking Every NHL Team's Goal Horn and Song by @kjcmalakai

There is nothing like a goal being scored in a home team's arena.

The red light flashes.  The crowd jumps to their feet. The deafening sound of the goal horn is blasted. A celebratory song is played.

It's a two minute party of jubilation until the next face off.  It is one of the best things in sports to be a part of live.

So what team has the best combination of goal horn plus song?

The following ranking is done purely by me and does not necessarily represent the views of the other members of pensinitiative.com and is done purely for fun.  Every time a list like this is published, there will inevitably be those that disagree since lists like this can only be produced by personal preference, so please feel free to leave a comment (keep them constructive, please) about how you feel I did.

In order to create this list, I gave point values to the goal horns and songs based on the following:

Goal Horns:

My personal preference for a goal horn sound is three blasts of equal length from a horn with a low, multiple toned register.

+3 for three blasts
+2 for two blasts
+1 for any other multiple of blasts
+0 for only one blast

+3 for low, multitone
+2 for high, multitone
+1 for low, monotone
+0 for high, monotone

Additional +1 for added element

Goal Songs:

My personal preference for a goal song is a song that no other team uses and is one that gets the crowd involved.  I generally prefer a rock song, but I find that I sometimes liking something more electronic.

+5 for original song written for team
+3 for song used by no other team
+1 for all other songs not Rock'n Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter

Additional +1 for song appropriate for team (ex. song title has to do with team, or band is from region of team)

Automatic bottom ranking for any team using Rock'n Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter.  Click here for why.  I know some Penguins fans have a special affinity for that song, but too bad. This is my list and that is how I feel about a team supporting this artist by playing that song.  I'm sure that some other artists have a criminal history, but not (hopefully) like Gary Glitter's.

Ties in goal horn and goal song scores are broken simply by what I like better.

All goal horns and songs were provided by wejustscored.com and might not reflect the most current goal horn and/or goal song used by each team.

The List:

30:  San Jose Sharks
Horn:  4 blasts, low monotone
Goal Song:  Rock'n Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter (synthesizer version)

The horn sounds like a record that is skipping with the short breaks between the blasts, with a fourth blast thrown in later.  It may be a synthesizer version of Rock'n Roll Part 2, but it's still Rock'n Roll Part 2. That song combined with the odd horn places San Jose at the bottom.

29:  Colorado Avalanche
Horn:  3 blasts, low monotone
Goal Song:  Rock'n Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter with sound effects and The Whip by Locksley

Three blasts of a generic sounding monotone horn and then Rock'n Roll Part 2.  Well, part of Rock'n Roll Part 2 which then uses wacky FM DJ sound effects to transition to The Whip.  The Whip is a nice get the crowd going song but overlaid sound effects don't do it for me.

28:  Florida Panthers
Horn: 3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Rock'n Roll Part 2 by Gary Glitter with oddly and randomly placed Panther roars

One of the better horns in the NHL is absolutely ruined by Gary Glitter and those incredibly awkward panther roars.  The timing of the panther over the song is so random it's like my 4 year old is just mashing the space bar on my computer.

27:  Columbus Blue Jackets
Horn: 1 blast, low monotone
Goal Song:  For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) by AC/DC and The Whip by Locksley

The horn is so short that it can probably be missed if the crowd is loud enough.  Come on, 'lumbus, the horn is one of the best parts about scoring a goal.  You can do better than that.  The AC/DC is a nice lead in to The Whip, if you like AC/DC.  Columbus received the overall lowest score, but don't use Gary Glitter, so here they are.

26:  Boston Bruins
Horn: 2 blasts, low monotone
Goal Song:  Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation

Of all of the monotone horns, I think this one sounds the best.  I like the length of the horn and the pause between the blasts, but it's still a boring sounding horn.  The horn, plus the poster child of Now That's What I Call Stadium Music places the Bruins near the bottom.

25:  Philadelphia Flyers
Horn:  1 blast, low monotone then 1 blast, low monotone
Goal Song:  Booyah by Showtek and Hot Hot Hot by Buster Poindexter

One, incredibly long monotone horn blast is not the recipe for a good sounding goal horn.  So long it makes me feel like the operator passed out face first on the button.  For some reason, Philly feels the need to do two iterations of that horn with two songs.  I kind of dig the Booyah, but Hot Hot Hot just doesn't go with hockey, unless it is used to describe how Claude Giroux feels when he sees the rear end of a police officer. UPDATE:  I was informed that Philly plays Hot Hot Hot after a fourth goal is scored.

24:  Edmonton Oilers
Horn:  1 blast, high multitone
Goal Song:  Don't Stop the Party by Pitbull

The horn sounds more like a train is approaching than a goal horn which would be ok if they were the Edmonton Locomotives and, like Philadelphia, is obnoxiously long.  I don't even need to get into how bad Pitbull is for a goal song so... yeah.  Not good, Edmonton.

23:  Nashville Predators
Horn:  1 blast, low multitone
Goal Song:  I Like, I Love It by Tim McGraw (rewritten for the Predators) and Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys with "you suck" chant

I like the sound of the horn, but it would be better if it was separated instead of one long blast.  I am not a fan of country music at all, but totally get using it for Nashville.  That being said, rewriting I Like, I Love It to have the line "don't know what it is about the Predators scoring, but I like it, I love it" makes it sound like Nashville doesn't understand that scoring a goal is good.  Also, the "Hey, You Suck" during Gold on the Ceiling seems poorly timed.

22:  Pittsburgh Penguins
Horn:  2 blasts, high multitone
Goal Song:  Kernkraft 400 by Zombie Nation

Sorry Penguins fans, but our beloved team needs some work in this department.  The horn, while pleasant on the ears, is missing something.  I think the overall tone of it is just too high.  As for the song, see Boston.  Enough said.  The one thing that I will say about using this song is that it is fun to troll the Bruins' fans since they think the Penguins stole their colors.

21:  Winnipeg Jets
Horn:  4 blasts, high multitone
Goal Song:  Hell Yeah by Rev Theory

Winnipeg would have been ranked higher because I really like the goal song and the addition of the tornado siren, but that horn is really bad.  It sounds way too much like a train whistle from an old HO scale model train that I had under my Christmas tree as a kid.

20:  Vancouver Canucks
Horn:  1 blast, low multitone then 3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Gold on the Ceiling by The Black Keys and Holiday by Green Day (may have been replaced by The Miracle of Joey Ramone by U2)

Vancouver goes here because they are a hot mess.  The goal horn is appropriate because it actually sounds like a dying whale.  Like Winnipeg, I applaud the addition of the tornado siren and like Philadelphia, I don't get why they do two iterations of the goal horn with two songs.  Just decide what you are, Vancouver, and stick with it. Vancouver's song has changed so much that the internet can't decide which one is right and I don't get to watch Vancouver games to confirm.

19:  Tampa Bay Lightning
Horn:  2 blasts. low monotone
Goal Song:  Fluxland (The Sports Chant Anthem) by XL

Would prefer if the two horn blasts were a little more even in length and the horn has a non-descript low monotone sound.  The song, while having a part that the crowd can sing along too, really has nothing going on besides that.  It's actually pretty bad, but it is unique to Tampa so they rank higher than some other teams.

18:  Toronto Maple Leafs
Horn:  2 blasts, low monotone
Goal Song:  Turbulance (feat. Lil John) by Steve Aoki

The horn sounds almost identical to Tampa Bay's, but Toronto gets the length of the blasts right.  Toronto also uses a song that nobody else uses, because it sucks as a goal song, unless a goal has been scored at a strip club.

17:  Ottawa Senators
Horn:  5 blasts, high multitone
Goal Song:  Wake Me Up by Avicii

Ottawa would have ranked higher because I love the use of Wake Me Up as a goal song.  Excellent choice.  The horn, however, holds them back.  It sounds like a guy laying on his car horn in rush hour traffic.

16:  New York Islanders
Horn:  3 blasts, high multitone
Goal Song:  Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani

The Islanders' horn is almost excellent.  3 even lengthed blasts of a horn that says something good just happened.  But, like the Penguins' horn, it's just a little too high in tone.  The use of Crowd Chant does exactly what it is supposed to do in the song title, but isn't a unique choice.

15:  Montreal Canadiens
Horn:  1 blast, high monotone
Goal Song:  Goal Song by L'Oreille

Oh that Montreal horn.  It is just awful.  It is the sound of a car alarm horn that is going off in an apartment complex at 3 in the morning.  It is the worst horn in the NHL.  The song, however, boosts Montreal's overall score as it is uniquely French Canadian and when you hear it, you know that Montreal scored.  Montreal should be ranked higher on the virtue of their goal song alone, but this list is about the horn plus the song, so Montreal unfortunately is right in the middle.

14:  Carolina Hurricanes
Horn:  3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Song 2 by Blur and random sound effects

Sometimes the rules that have been set rank things higher than they should be, such as the College Football BCS and the Carolina Hurricanes goal horn and song.  The horn has good length on the 3 blasts but is an ugly, sharp sound.  Song 2 will always be one of my favorite goal songs, but this version just replays the "woo hoo" part and adds just terrible, childish sound effects over top of it.

13:  Calgary Flames
Horn:  1 long blast, 2 short blasts, 1 long blast high multitone
Goal Song:  Righteous Smoke by Monster Truck

Calgary uses a great song for a team called the Flames.  It's hard rock, upbeat, and gets the crowd involved.  The horn, however, sounds almost computer generated, especially when it pauses in between blasts.  The breaks just don't sound natural.

12:  Arizona Coyotes
Horn:  1 blast, low multitone
Goal Song:  Howlin' for You by The Black Keys

Howlin' for You is tailor made for the Arizona (not Phoenix) Coyotes.  A perfect choice that also has a crowd sing along part.  The goal horn is just ok.  It has a nice low tone, but it's only one long blast.

11:  Minnesota Wild
Horn:  3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Crowd Chant by Joe Satriani

Minnesota's goal horn would be perfect if the first blast wasn't so long.  I really like the way it sounds.  Crowd Chant, again, isn't a unique goal song, but I do like that Minnesota plays more of it than just the "crowd chant" part and makes me think I'm about to watch Quick Pitch on the MLB network.

10:  Buffalo Sabres
Horn:  3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Song 2 by Blur

Buffalo's goal horn gets it exactly right.  Too bad Buffalo is terrible and it doesn't get to be heard all that often.  Also, if you are going to use Song 2 as a goal song, the way Buffalo does it is correct.  I'm looking at you, Carolina.

9:  St Louis Blues
Horn:  3 blasts, low monotone then 3 blasts, low monotone
Goal Song:  When the Blues Come Marching in by arena organist and Song 2 by Blur

I don't particularly care for the St. Louis goal horn all that much, especially the short blast in between the two longer ones.  What places St. Louis so high is the old school arena keyboard playing "When the Blues Come Marching In".  It reminds of the movie Slapshot when the Chiefs were getting repeatedly scored on after they found out that the team was going to be folded.  Just to feel modern, I guess, the Blues then throw in Song 2 to let everybody know that they are an NHL team.  The addition of Song 2 takes away what makes the Blues' goal song unique.

8:  Dallas Stars
Horn:  1 blast, low multitone
Goal Song:  Puck Off by Pantera

The Dallas goal horn has a nice, low warm tone to it, but it is only the one blast.  Goal horns need to be blown more than once!  As for the song, one word is needed:  Pantera.  It may be kind of a dumb song, but Pantera wrote a song just for the Dallas Stars.  Not much more needs to be expanded upon than that.

7:  New Jersey Devils
Horn:  3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes with "you suck" chant

New Jersey has a great goal horn, three blasts of a horn that has low tone that actually sounds like a horn.  Couple that with the goal song that is basically a bunch of people from New Jersey yelling "You Suck" and you get the quintessential celebration for a team from the Garden State.

6:  Washington Capitals
Horn:  2 blasts, low multitone with police siren
Goal Song:  The Wicker Man by Iron Maiden

The Caps have a nice sounding horn, but the short blast followed by a long blast, while unique, takes something away from it.  The addition of the police siren is nice, especially when it goes into the longer stretches of the sound when the incredible choice of Iron Maiden kicks in.

5:  Chicago Blackhawks
Horn:  3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis

Chicago is another example of getting the goal horn right.  Low, three blasts, and all of the blasts are the same length.  As for the song, Chelsea Dagger has become synonymous with the Blackhawks, especially since every nationally televised game seems to have the Blackhawks as a participant.  It has been heard a lot over the past few seasons.

4:  Anaheim Ducks
Horn:  3 blasts, low monotone with police siren
Goal song:  Bro Hymn by Pennywise

If Anaheim didn't use a monotone goal horn, they would crack the top three in overall ranking because of Bro Hymn.  This song is beyond perfect for a team from Southern California (Pennywise is from Hermosa Beach, about 30 miles from Anaheim).  It's loud, raucous, and gets the crowd going.  It makes me want to break things every time I hear it.

3:  Detroit Red Wings
Horn:  3 blasts, low multitone
Goal Song:  Hey! Hey! Hockeytown! by Kid Rock

Of the top three teams, Detroit has the best goal horn by far.  The goal horn, however, wasn't enough to put them over the top.  This is because of the dreck that Kid Rock wrote for Detroit's goal song.  It's unique, and specifically for Detroit which earns it high marks, but it also sucks.  I guess you have to be a fan of Detroit to like that song.

2:  Los Angeles Kings
Horn:  3 blasts, high multitone
Goal Song:  I Love L.A. by Randy Newman and Power Ride 2010 (LA Kings Goal Song) by Fred Coury

The best part about the Kings' goal horn is the length of the three blasts.  The horn sounds nice, but is a little too high.  The song starts with the appropriate I Love L.A. and then transitions to what is known as the L.A. Kings Goal Song by the drummer for the 80's hair band Cinderella.  The song is precisely what a goal song should be.

1:  New York Rangers
Horn:  3 blasts, high multitone
Goal Song:  Slapshot by Ray Castoldi

Love it or hate it, the Rangers have an excellent all-around goal celebration.  The horn is the horn from a New York City fire engine and emits three bellows of perfect length.  The song was written by Ray Castoldi, who is the music director of Madison Square Garden, and was first heard on January 20, 1995 when the Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup banner was raised to the rafters.

(The actual #1 goal horn and celebration can be heard here)


  1. You failed to mention the cannon that is the loudest part of the Blue Jackets goal celebration. There doesn't need to be multiple blasts of the horn when you have an actual cannon firing.

  2. The Sens horn is actually a VIA train horn mounted in the ceiling. It's partly because VIA is about all the train activity we have here in Ottawa, as well as VIA acting as a sponsor (they show a VIA train whipping past on the scoreboard too). It's something you have to see in person to get I guess. Edmonton is sort of the same, but it has been a staple there for so long, it has become a tradition. BTW the Washington horn/siren has a funny story behind it and is worth checking out.

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