The goal horn is a very unique aspect to the NHL, with hockey the only sport among all major North American sports which features a horn after the home team scores.
All 30 teams have their own goal horn, which always pumps up the fans and energizes the arena. The goal horn was first introduced in the 1970’s, when the Chicago Blackhawks incorporated one into their games.
Goal horns can be deep (see Anaheim, or Carolina) or high-pitched (see Edmonton, or Ottawa), and can even have other sound effects added, like a foghorn or an air raid siren (see Washington). Effects are often used to distinguish goal horns from others and make them unique among all 30.
Each goal horn is accompanied by a song afterwards, as well. A core piece of a song is usually used, which the fans can easily chant or sing along with. Some songs, like “Chelsea Dagger” in Chicago, have become iconic parts of a team’s image, especially as the Blackhawks have established themselves as a modern-day dynasty.
Goal horns and songs are often tweaked, on a nearly year-by-year basis, but the structure usually stays the same, making each team’s horn recognizable.
Check out the top five goal horns, a combination of the horn, sound effect, and song, for the 2015-16 season.
5: Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks’ goal horn is a very unique one. A very deep sound, almost like a tuba, it has become iconic to Anaheim. They are one of only two teams in the league with this type of horn, the other being Carolina. One improvement which could vault Anaheim to the top of this chart would be a few decibels louder. Because the horn is so low-pitched, it can sometimes be drowned out by the cheering of the crowd. A little louder and it would really blow the roof off of the Honda Centre.
The accompanying siren is also a nice touch, working almost like a ‘sweet and sour’ theme between the deep horn and high-pitched siren. The goal song, “Bro Hymm”, by Pennywise, is also a great choice, giving every fan the chance to sing along and celebrate together. All together, an Anaheim home goal always installs an amazing atmosphere to the game, making it one of the best in the league.
4: Dallas Stars
The Stars’ goal horn is one of the loudest in the league, making the American Airlines Arena nearly deafening after each home goal. There is something special about the tune of the horn that makes it so likeable. It’s not too high, but not too low, while also keeping it unique amongst all other horns. The horn blasts just once for the Stars’ first goal, twice for the second, and so on.
The “Dallas! Stars!” chant, just after the horn, is also an incredible idea to get the fans into the celebration. Repeated four times, it is sure to get the building shaking every time. The corresponding song, “Puck Off”, by Pantera, is also a special touch, as they band hails from Dallas and are local icons. The boisterous goal horn followed by the building chant makes every Dallas goal special.
3: New York Rangers
The Rangers’ goal horn is probably the highest pitched horn on this list, but stays within the limits so that it is not irritating to the ear, like many consider Ottawa’s. Inside of Madison Square Gardens, it is an extremely loud horn that blasts three times for each home goal. The sound has become synonymous to New York (sorry, Islanders) as the Rangers go on their playoff run each spring.
Ray Castoldi’s “Slapshot” follows each goal, as a faithful sold-out crowd sings along, loud and proud, even after the song has stopped playing. The Rangers have combined a terrific horn with a perfect goal song to make their home goals an iconic piece of the Rangers history. It is a significant reason that gives MSG one of the best atmosphere’s for an NHL game in the league.
2: Boston Bruins
Although Boston may not have the most unique horn and song combination in the league, the fans make it work so well. A powerful horn blasts two long times, vibrating TD Garden with excitement. Despite their horn being a recording, they play it so much louder than anyone else that it makes it feel unique.
Another commonly used song is played after the goal horn, but it is the Bruins that made it so widely used in the league today. Zombie Nation’s, “Kernkraft 400”, gets each fan engaged in the goal, making the arena deafening with excitement.
A unique touch to a Bruins’ home goal is the emphatic “Wooo!” shouted by the public address announcer, Jim Martin, which is repeated by every Bruins fan in the building. The “Wooo!” is what really sets a Bruins goal apart from every other team in the excitement meter.
1: Chicago Blackhawks
An absolute classic. As the team to first develop the goal horn in the NHL, it is fitting that Chicago sits atop the rankings. The Blackhawks’ goal horn blasts three, long, thundering times, which is so powerful that it feels like the building is going to collapse. The horn is most reminiscent to a low train horn, and what a special feeling it gives.
Perhaps the most iconic part of a Blackhawks goal is the song which follows, The Fratellis, “Chelsea Dagger”. It has become such a mainstay in the NHL that fans of all teams will know exactly what the song sounds like. As each fan proudly sings along, it gives the United Center the best atmosphere for a hockey game in the world. There is no better place to watch hockey than in Chicago.
What is your favourite goal horn in the NHL? Let us know in the comments below!
Contributor for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Prospects. Scout with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. For questions, concerns, or comments, contact me at email@example.com or on twitter @SlawsonTHW.