There are sights and sounds in this world that generate all sorts of reactions and emotions. For sports fans, the theme song before a big game or national broadcast certainly has the ability to excite. Hockey theme songs, past and present, are no different. Let’s take a glance back at some of those major network compositions which have, at one time or another, been tied to NHL hockey.
NHL on Fox:
The mid-90’s and the glowing puck. That all but sums up the NHL on Fox era. And as far as this theme song goes, there just isn’t a whole lot to it. Also, local Fox broadcasts throughout the league used it (and maybe still do) as well, which in turn failed to make a national broadcast more unique than simply a regional one. As far as I’m concerned, it also just wasn’t creative enough, which is why it will not land high on this list. Still, it was a hockey theme song, and it doesn’t put me to sleep, so that’s a plus, right?
NHL on Versus:
Remember the days of OLN and Versus? While those days are long gone as NBC has since taken over, the NHL on Versus theme song isn’t one we should forget. It doesn’t quite live up to the standards of the songs which will show up farther down in this article, but it really wasn’t half bad. When I listen to this now, I have an odd reaction of excitement, with a small dose of nostalgia.
NHL on NBC/NBCSN:
Let’s face it, this is a pretty good theme song. It flows well, has an intense feel about it, and if you can imagine Doc’s voice over the music proclaiming “Live from [insert Arena/City of your choice]!” it makes it that much better. Whether it’s a Sunday matinee, or Wednesday night “rivalry” (true hockey fans will know why I put rivalry in quotation marks), when I hear the NHL on NBC music come on, I get amped, which is exactly what that tune should do.
NHL on ABC:
It’s hard to pinpoint what is so good about the old NHL on ABC theme song, but it’s something. Perhaps it’s just again nostalgia, and yearning for a hockey era that once was. Maybe it’s because all I think about when I hear this music is Gary Thorne exclaiming “Fedotenko!” from game seven of the 2004 Stanley Cup Final. Who knows…But it was good, and it’s unfortunate that it’s no longer.
NHL on ESPN:
If you don’t miss this theme song with all your hockey heart, you’re probably lying. Nay, you’re definitely lying. For all the flack ESPN takes nowadays for their lack of hockey coverage (when I say lack of hockey coverage I’m talking about on ESPN’s television broadcasts, because their written coverage is actually quite impressive…), this theme song deserves no criticism. It is damn near perfect. If the word “intense” had a sound, this would be it. If this song were to ever come on again before game seven of a future Stanley Cup Final, I would probably pass out with elation.
Hockey Night in Canada:
But as wonderful as the NHL on ESPN theme song was, the original Hockey Night in Canada song is simply the best. When you hear that jingle, you know it’s time for hockey. Whether you hear it ahead of a broadcast, or moments before puck drop at the Bell Centre, it’s sure to send shivers down your spine and chills up your forearm. Nothing, and I mean nothing says hockey more than this song. It is pure gold.
Jake Gittler is now in his second season as a contributing member of The Hockey Writers. After spending the 2014-15 season working in Communications for Adirondack Flames of the AHL and covering the New York Rangers here for The Hockey Writers, Jake’s coverage has been switched over to the Colorado Avalanche for the 2015-16 season. Jake can be reached via email at Jakegittler@gmail.com, or on Twitter @Jgittler_hockey.