It’s no doubt that goal horns make goals on the rink more memorable. Whether you love them or find them obnoxious, you can’t deny that they are an integral part of National Hockey League games.
Goal horns not only decorate matches but also make NHL teams recognizable on the ice. They are also perhaps a way to taunt the opposing team and unnerve them into making mistakes.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to what I think are the most iconic NHL goal horns (of all time and in modern hockey).
There is no objective way to define “best” here – everybody will have their own opinion and will argue which goal horn is the best and why. I’ll try to follow my own gut feeling and list goal songs that I think are the most unique, recognizable, and memorable in NHL.
Best Goal Horns Nowadays
1. Chicago Blackhawks
I absolutely love how cheerful Chicago Blackhawks’ goal song is. The Fratellis’ “Chelsea Dagger” is the primary contributor to this goal horn’s flamboyant character, but the high-pitch horn sound at the beginning sets the scene perfectly as well.
I’ll be honest – most NHL goal songs sound alike, so what Chicago Blackhawks has done with its goal song is truly a breath of fresh air.
2. Carolina Hurricanes
I like the Carolina Hurricanes goal horn because it feels uneasy and has some sort of urgency in it. This is pretty unique and, in my opinion, makes it stand out among the goal horns of other teams.
It also kind of reminds me of the music that plays in the first “Die Hard” when Hans Gruber (portrayed by charismatic Alan Rickman) falls off Nakatomi Plaza. But this is just a remark on my side and doesn’t have anything to do with the goal song’s spot on this top.
The opening horn suite then transitions to “Raise Up” by Petey Pablo. Honoring the rapper’s home state of North Carolina, this composition is chosen quite suitably for the team.
3. Nashville Predators
To me, this one feels the most mocking goal horn of them all.
The horn suite at the beginning gives off a very strong “boo” vibe, while Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” seems to have been chosen just to taunt the opposing team’s fanbase. It’s annoyingly catchy, and it also transitions smoothly into “Gold On The Ceiling” by The Black Keys.
The horn at the beginning is fairly unique by itself as well, making Nashville Predators’ goal song easily recognizable.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
The highlight of Toronto Maple Leafs’ goal horn is Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams”. This cheerful song does an excellent job of reinforcing the moment for Leafs fans. In fact, it’s so contagious that I think even the fans of the Leafs’ opponents will struggle not to crack a smile!
5. St. Louis Blues
I just had to include the goal horn of St. Louis Blues – mainly because of the organ rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “When The Saints Go Marching In”. It not only excellently conveys excitement from the goal but also makes the team’s signature horn unique.
Interestingly, the St. Louis Blues was also one of the last NHL teams to add a goal song – in the 1992-93 season. Despite this, the team’s goal song occupies a solid #5 spot on my list.
Best Goal Horns Of All Time In NHL
In this part, I want to introduce you to my personal top 3 of all time. This one is probably going to be the most controversial among you – but hey, remember that everything’s subjective!
1. Philadelphia Flyers (the late 90s to mid-2000s)
Philadelphia Flyers has arguably the most obnoxiously long horn sound in any NHL goal horn. It has been outrageously lengthy back in the 90s, and it still is. The Flyers’ goal song is iconic and very easily recognizable among fans of both Flyers and other teams.
I kind of like the older Flyers horns better where a siren kicks in a few seconds after the beginning. The siren makes the old goal horns sound a little more menacing and also unique.
What I also admire about the Philadelphia Flyers goal song is how timeless it feels over the decades – no matter which version we are talking about. Flyers could grab any of its older goal horns and play it today – the songs fit even modern music trends.
However, I think that no one will argue that the modern Flyers’ horn is no match to what the team had in the 90s. The iconic horn is still there, but I think that there are more interesting goal horns now (like the 5 goal horns I listed earlier).
2. Calgary Flames (1998-2004)
The highlight of Calgary Flames’ goal horns throughout the decades has been the near-immediate transition from the horn to the team song.
Arguably, this makes the goal horn sound less powerful, but I think that the sound design only reinforces it by making it stand out.
The 2020 goal horn of the team is probably the least remarkable of all versions. The horn sound at the beginning has been made longer and louder, which I think makes it too similar to the horns of other teams.
I’d personally say that the best Calgary Flames goal song is the one from 1998 to 2004. It retains the quick transition to the song and also has a very cheerful horn sound effect at the beginning.
The track “Burn Baby Burn” was also a perfect fit for this version of the goal horn and a cherry on top.
3. Hartford Whalers
And to close this post off, I’d like to introduce you to the goal horn of Hartford Whalers.
Hartford Whalers played in the NHL from 1979 to 1997, and although it has become Carolina Hurricanes in 1997, its legacy – including the impressive goal song – lives on.
Hartford Whalers’ goal horn is arguably the loudest one to ever hit an NHL game. Aside from being overpowering, it has an intimidating tone to it. The festive team song “Brass Bonanza” made the goal horn stand out too and accentuated the joy of the moment.
By the way, Carolina Hurricanes has somewhat retained the tradition of Whalers’ goal horn through the decades. Namely, the horn is extremely similar – only the team song has been changed to reflect current music trends.
Revisiting goal horns from the 80s and 90s was probably the coolest part of writing this post. It’s interesting to see how team songs change along with entertainment trends. Comparing old and new goal songs was pretty fun as well!
I hope that I was able to convey my enjoyment to you too!