When watching a hockey game, whether in person or on television, there is so much to take in; the crowd, the music and videos during stoppages and media time-outs, and of course the game itself. When a goal is scored, it’s one of the most exhilarating moments a hockey fan can experience, and one thing that can play a role in enhancing that moment is the goal horn, and the song that follows. Some are high-pitched, and some sound like a tuba. Some are great, and some are…well, less great. For some horns, a song can be the savior, while for others it can simply kill the vibe.
There’s no way around it, I am a goal horn nerd. While this list is mainly focused on just the horns themselves, goal songs have been taken into consideration in certain instances. That said, here are my rankings of all 30 NHL goal horns.
And please, don’t worry if your team’s horn isn’t directly under my review. A video of all 30 horns is posted at the bottom. I didn’t forget about your team, posting 30 separate videos just seemed like a bit much.
30) Philadelphia Flyers
This horn has been the same for years. It is one long blast, and it’s very, very loud. But this year, the change in goal song has sunk this horn – which would be low on my list anyway – straight to the bottom of the league. After last season’s experiment with Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark,” the Flyers now have some odd, uncomfortable techno song which comes on following their goals. It doesn’t fit, and certainly doesn’t feel like hockey. Go back to Fall Out Boy, and this might rise in the rankings, but for now, Philadelphia will have to make due in the basement.
29) St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues goal shebang is a perfect representation of my day, from the time I wake up, until the moment I crawl back into bed at night. The horn itself is like the alarm that wakes me up in the morning. It’s loud, and will get me up and excited. The crowd in the arena is loud –or so it sounds through my TV – which represents all of the people I interact with throughout the day. And then the goal song is like the lullaby I would listen to when going to sleep at night –that is if I listened to a lullaby each night. While the horn itself is mediocre at best, this is one of those horns where the song, which absolutely kills the vibe, must be taken into consideration. Just listen for yourself. Would this really get you pumped after a nasty, jaw-dropping Tarasenko goal? I didn’t think so.
28) Boston Bruins
There’s just no character to this horn. It’s loud, and feels rigid, and while the song choice is a good one, it isn’t enough to save Boston here. Chris Treft, who is an aspiring broadcaster currently doing radio color commentary with the Adirondack Flames of the AHL, is also a goal horn enthusiast, and he doesn’t think too highly of the Bruins’ horn either. Treft told The Hockey Writers, “I don’t like how Boston is an original six team with a lot of tradition but they use a recorded horn, and it’s the same every time. It’s not unique at all, and it’s not an actual horn. It doesn’t matter how loud you get it, I don’t think it’s that great, because they don’t have the actual horn with the vibrations, like Chicago, which is so powerful. I just don’t like that they have a recording.”
I’ll leave it at that.
T-25) San Jose Sharks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs
Listen to these horns side by side, and you’ll realize that these three are nearly identical to one another. There is almost nothing unique about these horns and I refuse credit them as such. They are loud, yes, but there is just very little character to each of them. They are fog horns, plain and simple. Thumbs down in my book.
24) Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche’s current horn is another one that just doesn’t have much to it. It’s loud, and blasts three times, but it’s generic and has Gary Glitter to follow it. While the horn nowadays isn’t anything to write home about, fellow THW writer Sebastian Hedley-Noble has made it clear that he wants the old avalanche siren style horn back, which before switching over to the fog horn they have now, was unique, and had some meaning to the surrounding area. Below is the old horn, and one which would be well worth bringing back.
23) New Jersey Devils
Growing up watching the Rangers, this is a horn that I’ve heard one too many times. When Devils made the move from the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, to the “Rock” in downtown Newark in 2007, the horn was changed to what it is currently, but in my mind it is still the “new horn.” I will give the Devils a little credit here, though. This horn is better than a simple fog horn. It is fairly unique, and loud, but it’s no Continental Airlines arena horn, and the new goal song drags it down a bit. Ask a diehard Ranger fan, and they’ll tell you it’s a rip off of their goal song. I’m not totally sold on that, but I’m still not a huge fan of this horn-song combo.
22) Ottawa Senators
Moving right along to number 22. We’re now exiting out of the generic horns that make me want to pull my hair out, and onto the one’s which really require some thought. I’ll admit that the Ottawa Senators horn is one that has grown on me in recent years, but not enough to crack my top-20. It’s another loud one that you can’t miss, as it will more than likely make your ears bleed with how high-pitched it is. It’s decent in the sense that it has a few different blasts to it, and it leads right into a fast paced song. It celebrates the song well, but not too well. The issue is that if you hear too much of it, the migraine is sure to follow suit.
21) Winnipeg Jets
Talk about unique and different. The Winnipeg Jets goal horn is pretty cool sounding, something akin to a higher pitched train horn, with a great siren to compliment it. I’m a big fan of the sound of this horn. My one gripe, however, is that it needs to be louder. I’ll admit, though I would love to, I have yet to catch a game at the MTS Centre, so I cannot speak to how it sounds in the arena, but from my living room, it has never sounded very loud. Up the volume a few ticks, then we’ll be talking.
20) Vancouver Canucks
Here’s another unique horn, but there’s something about it which isn’t very pleasing to the ear. It may just be one horn, but it’s as if there are three horns blended into one; three that don’t create harmony in any way shape or form. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that it’s a little different, and not generic like many others, but it just doesn’t have a great feel to it. With regards to the song, even though I’m a big fan of U2, but also doesn’t quite fit with the whole “we scored!” energy. I want to rank this higher, but I just can’t in good faith.
19) Carolina Hurricanes
I like this horn. It sounds like none other in the league, and they’ve had it for a while now. I cannot get past the fact, however, that they have a bunch yelling in the background, which continues even after the horn. Eventually, Fred Flinstone is heard shouting “yabba dabba doo” throughout the arena, with various animal noises coming and going. It’s bizarre, and I just can’t seem to look past it.
T-16) Washington Capitals, Nashville Predators, Buffalo Sabres
While the songs may be different, these three horns are strikingly similar. Yes, the Capitals have a siren to go with theirs, but I’m really not a big fan of that type of police-esque siren (The old Avalanche one is cool, and makes sense). Listen to these horns side-by-side, and you’ll realize that they’re almost the same horns but in different locations. I like the sound of them, and they give a strong presence in the arena, but I can’t get past the fact that three teams have almost identical horns. Two teams? Fine. But three? You can do better.
15) Edmonton Oilers
When I was younger, this used to be one of my favorites, though as I’ve grown older, my love for this horn has tapered a bit. That said, I still appreciate the energy that his high-pitched blast of sound can bring. But as loud as this horn can get, THW’s Edmonton Oilers contributor Shane Sander noted that during the 2006 playoffs in which the Oilers made a run to the Stanley Cup Final, it wasn’t quite loud enough. The crowd in Edmonton was so loud during that run, that the horn eventually had to be run off of two air supplies in order to not be drowned out by the noise of the crowd. Surely a testament to how loud Rexall Place could be when things are going well in the great North.
14) Anaheim Ducks
Here’s another horn that, if a few ticks louder, would move up a few spots on this list. The Ducks goal horn is so low, it’s like a tuba, and unfortunately that often means that it gets drowned out and is hard to hear. It’s a great sounding horn, when it’s heard. I just wish it was so loud that the Honda Center would shake with every blast. Also, as I mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of the type of siren that the Ducks have (very similar to the Capitals). Take that out and the results would only improve.
T-12) Florida Panthers and Arizona Coyotes
This was such a tough call, that I just decided to call it a draw. These two horns, while so similar, have the slightest difference in tone when listened to closely. Both have more than one pitch to them, but unlike Vancouver, the pitches work well with one another and they sound great. These horns are also both long in duration, and loud. Both the Panthers and the Coyotes incorporate their animal’s sound into the celebration as well. For Arizona, the Coyote howling at the moon comes right at the end of the horn, which is something goal horn enthusiast Chris Treft thinks is a great quality, while the fearsome cat’s meow for the Panthers comes during the goal song. I really like both of these horns, and the creativity that comes along with them.
11) Minnesota Wild
This is another horn which, if a little deeper and not as rough around the edges, would simply be a fog horn, but its small deviations from that are what make this a good horn. It isn’t too high-pitched, but also isn’t too low, and it lasts for a long time, which is a great quality to a goal horn. I’m not too keen on how long it takes for the song to really get going – it almost kills the mood the way the dry scrape did between regulation and overtime before the league axed that – but it isn’t enough to break this horn for me. Not too shabby for the Wild.
10) Columbus Blue Jackets
We’ve finally reached the top-10! Sitting at number 10 is the goal horn for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now, I have to be honest, I don’t really love the horn itself. It’s like vanilla ice cream; short, generic, and just not that much to it. However, I have two words to explain this decision.
Oh, and ACDC? Automatic top-10.
9) Dallas Stars
If someone were to record a symphony orchestra tuning their instruments prior to a concert, and transform it into a car horn, the Dallas Stars’ goal horn would be the end result. This horn is awesome because in addition to being loud, it sounds like an orchestral chord and is very pleasing to the ear. The fact that there is just one singular blast hurts it in my opinion, and I’m not a big supporter of their “Dallas! Stars!” (Repeat 4 times) chant following their horn.
Chris Treft, though, happens to disagree, as the horn in Dallas actually tops his list of goal horns. The former IPFW Mastodon told THW, “It’s really loud. In that building (American Airlines Arena), it’s almost deafening,” he said. “It’s also a little bit unique. It isn’t strange like Montreal’s or Winnipeg’s which are so different, or Anaheim’s which is really low. They incorporate it well.”
Sorry Chris, as strong of a case as you made, this one is staying at number nine.
8) Pittsburgh Penguins
I had the good fortune of seeing a playoff game in the old Mellon Arena before the Penguins moved, and I have to say, despite having heard it when the Penguins scored against the team I was rooting for, it was a pretty epic horn. The Penguins goal horn is loud, and lasts a long time. It’s a tad high in pitch, with some lower pitched undertones which make it a high quality horn overall. The Penguins also get some brownie points for having their song start during the horn. Crowd involvement is certainly present at the CONSOL Energy Center.
7) Detroit Red Wings
I’ve always liked the Red Wings’ goal horn. It’s somewhat brash, and in my opinion just screams Detroit. The horn has remained the same for as long as I can remember, and it’s become a part of Hockeytown. It’s a horn that I can pick out of a crowd of horns, and is in my mind synonymous with both “The Joe,” and hockey success. They’ve also done a good job with their original “Hey Hey Hockeytown” song following the horn.
6) New York Islanders
Growing up a Ranger fan, placing the Islanders horn this high up on the list pains me dearly, but I’ve done it anyway because when looking at things objectively, this is a pretty darn good goal horn. If you’ve ever seen an Islanders game at the Nassau Coliseum – which, if you haven’t, you should make it a point to go before the Islanders leave for Brooklyn – you’ll know just how loud this horn really is. It blasts throughout every corner of the arena, and it’s a pretty cool sounding one as well. It really is like a fisherman’s boat horn, which is only fitting for a team on Long Island. The Islanders also deserve credit for the fan engagement that their song generates right as the horn ends. All in all, while I despise the “Woo!” chant at the very end, this is still a solid number six in my book.
5) Los Angeles Kings
It should go without saying, now that we’ve reached the top-five, but the horns that remain are all great, and all unique. The LA Kings’ horn is no exception. Somewhat high in tone, but not too high, the horn in some ways resembles that of a train horn, and I think it just fits. It’s also extremely long, as it blares out for somewhere in the area of 16 seconds. The song, on the other hand, is oddly Ranger-like. If Rangers’ fans think the Devils new song sounds similar, I’d suggest listening to LA’s…
4) Montreal Canadiens
Before I heard this horn in person, I was skeptical. It’s extremely high-pitched, and it just never felt like a goal horn to me. Then I saw a game at the Bell Centre, and realized how wrong I was. The other NHL goal horns which can even come close in terms of pitch – Ottawa and Edmonton – are different in the sense that they aren’t crisp like Montreal’s horn. This horn is one level, and it sounds pure, just like the hockey culture in the city of Montreal. If you ask me, it’s the Bell in Bell Centre. Couple the horn with the goal song which is as catchy as anything you’ve ever heard, and you’ve got a winner.
3) Calgary Flames
I don’t know how else to say it. This horn just sounds good. It’s loud and long, and is some type of cross between Edmonton’s and Anaheim’s horns, with a hint of Los Angeles. It is solid through and through. Factor in the flash of red that happens when Calgary scores at home, and the fact that the horn leads right into a song who’s main chorus is “On Fire,” it’s pretty perfect. This horn is a top of the line horn, and the presentation that comes along with it is as well.
2) New York Rangers
We’ve reached the cream of the crop now, and the Rangers are right there among the best. Put aside the fact that I grew up watching the Rangers, and this horn is still just wonderful; heck, it almost sounds like a FDNY fire truck horn. How much more fitting can it get? Not only is this horn unique in its sound, it’s also almost as if it has grown louder over the years. And to compliment an already great horn, Ray Castoldi’s “Slapshot” is the original tune which plays following every Rangers goal. And fan engagement? The Rangers obviously win here, as all 18,000-plus fans at Madison Square Garden sing the goal song following every Rangers goal. Being a Blueshirts fan singing the goal song at home is a near religious experience. There really isn’t anything quite like it.
1) Chicago Blackhawks
Congratulations Windy City, your team has the best goal horn (in my opinion…) in the NHL. This horn is unlike any other in the league. It is long. It is loud. And it generates excitement with an epic song, Chelsea Dagger, that breeds crowd involvement to go alongside it. Ask any true hockey fan, and they’ll be able to sing you Chicago’s goal song. It is both catchy and recognizable, and even if not everyone can hum the tune of the goal horn, it still deserves the number one spot on this list. Trust me, it’s pure gold.
More Fun with Goal Horns
If you didn’t believe me before, hopefully you do now. I am a goal horn nerd from head to toe, and I say that with the utmost amount of pride. If you are anything like me, you will enjoy the website linked here where you can click on any team’s logo and hear their horn. Also below is an almost 20 minute video with every horn in alphabetical order; arguably the greatest video the internet has ever seen.
These are my rankings of all NHL goal horns, 1-30. Agree? Disagree? Think your team deserves better goal horn treatment? Comment below.