The Soundtrack to NZIHL Goals

NZIHL July 19, 2021  392

Something could be said for a team’s goal song. It acts as the cherry on top of what is already a well thought out brand. The point of selecting a song is to make the home-ice advantage an even sweeter deal, raise the energy of the fans with a song that becomes familiar and linked to a celebration and builds stronger brand recognition. You like the team, you’ve bought the season pass, arrived in your supporters’ jersey, can recite every player by both name and number – the last step is knowing the lyrics and possible dance moves to your team’s tune.

Electro, punk, rock, the classics – all song genres are up for grabs. The NHL is being taken over by one song that seemingly has become the default song for almost a third of the league – can you guess it? It’s ‘The Whip’ by Locksley. This song has been passed around the teams for a while now and has been used by the likes of Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild just to name a few – oh and don’t forget the Melbourne Mustangs. But this tune can creep into any stadium, playing approximately 8 times over a weekend by various teams, even if it’s not listed as their official track. Some teams have opted for their unique melody created especially for them, like the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers.

In the NZIHL over the past few years, we have seen teams beginning to adopt this North American custom. Recently on the NZIHL Instagram page, we put fans to the test to see what their recall was like when it came to the teams and their songs. Admittedly, you would need to be at the home games or follow the teams closely on social media to know which song belongs to each team. We were met with some interesting results with hundreds of votes for each poll, great suggestions for teams to use and well, … other suggestions.

68% knew the West Auckland Admirals’ song

54% knew the Skycity Stampede’s song

48% knew the Phoenix Thunder’s song – not bad for the first year the team has used the track!

Everyone agreed that the Auckland Mako should probably use Baby Shark (Confession: we didn’t give them a choice in our poll, and we won’t apologise.)

The Botany Swarm, Canterbury Red Devils and Auckland Mako haven’t yet locked down a song that will become their signature track. With Everard Petrie, Marketing Manager for the Devils saying, “I’d prefer it if the fans had some input and ideas for the goal song, making it theirs too”. Hear that, Devil fans? You’ve been given the call-up.

Let’s take a deep dive into which songs belong with what teams and the reason if any, the teams picked that song to celebrate their goals, we will also catch up with the teams that are still on their journey to discovering a song that’s on-brand for them and how they will do this.

 West Auckland Admirals – I’m Shipping Up To Boston by Dropkick Murphys

This song has an iconic beat that is unmistakable from the second it begins, so it’s no wonder that the West Auckland Admirals have had success with their choice of goal song. I’m Shipping Out To Boston is this band’s most successful song to date and it was often used as the default song for many sporting teams in Boston and the Philadelphia Flyers, who used this song for the start of overtime.

The nautical theme of the song is very on-brand for the Admirals – however, the lyrics are more relevant as a metaphor than the literal meaning. A sailor who is climbing the mast to recover their prosthetic leg, speaks volumes about the determination of the individual – and the determination of a team who climbed from the bottom of the NZIHL table to become one of the strongest teams, missing out on the finals in 2017 but in 2018, claimed their first NZIHL title. For the last 4 seasons, the West Auckland Admirals and Skycity Stampede have been in close competition on the tables (Admirals have played in NZIHL Finals in 2005, 2010, 2017, 2018* and 2019).

“When the ‘Pirate Ship’ is full and the calm before the storm becomes a distant memory, our fans wait in a state of frenzied anticipation as the seas start to get rough – that sense of victory when our team scores is magnified by the buzzer sound, “GOOOAAL” then the stands come alive with ‘I’m shipping out to Boston’ as it sounds throughout the rink – there is nothing left to do for our fans and Rusty but to break out into dance… It’s time to celebrate! The Admirals have scored and ‘Ahoy sailor!’ we are ready for more!” – Kelly Schultz, West Auckland Admirals Marketing Manager.

Photo Courtesy of West Auckland Admirals

Botany Swarm – the honey pot is nearly full!  The Botany Swarm are one step closer to locking in their goal song – they have been buzzing between options to see what works best for them and after a chat with the Swarm’s Marketing Manager, Carole Giles, the new consensus from the team is “The Enforcer by Monster Truck”. This rock-power ballad is a love song to hockey, the band members are so steadfastly Canadian that they wrote this song as a tribute to ice hockey. “We wanted to write a raucous and anthemic tribute to our favourite sport, hockey” – says guitarist, Jeremy Winderman, when interviewed by AntiMusic. This song quickly became a go-to favourite for any hockey anthem playlist – including becoming the goal song for the Toronto Maple Leafs. We’re excited to hear this track play (hopefully as loud as possible) when the Swarm score at their home rink, Paradice Botany, soon!

Auckland Mako – are still circling the bay on this one. The Auckland Mako are the new kids on the block and while they are still building a reputation and identity – the team doesn’t have a ‘home rink’ so they are in a unique position that doesn’t allow them access to play a goal song. Most of the team is made up of talented youngsters from around New Zealand who either haven’t been selected into one of the 5 teams or players who are named on one of those teams but don’t get a chance for much ice time during the games. The rest of the team relies on calling in some of the most recognised names in the NZIHL, like Andy Hay, Matt Schneider, Paris Heyd and Justin Daigle.

We caught up with assistant coach and captain of the Auckland Mako, A.J Spiller, who said “it would be awesome to have a goal song for the Auckland Mako” – but it “would rely on the other 5 teams to support the young fins in grey by playing our goal song in their rink”.

A.J was also keen to hear from the fans with their suggestions for this rookie team – unlike the veteran teams, the Auckland Mako will have a team roster that will change like a revolving door. It is expected that the players in the Auckland Mako move out of the feeder team and into one of the other teams; so, their goal song needs to be one that will stand the test of time and bring current and ex-Mako players a sense of pride and nostalgia.

This season, we have seen these young whippersnappers’ banter with their big brother team, the West Auckland Admirals, and the Botany Swarm. Giving us a real sense of their tenacious, cheeky, and playful character. We can’t wait to hear the Auckland Mako’s pick, and we will be encouraging the NZIHL teams to help the Auckland Mako with this request – after all, this team is made up of fan-favourite veterans and youth making their way up the NZIHF ladders from around New Zealand.

Of note: providing a signature sound for all 3 Auckland based teams for their entry to the ice is also no easy task, keeping true to each brand and creating a sound that fans link to their favourite team is exactly what Cam Green from Hockey House NZ has done. Have a listen the next time you’re at an Auckland game and see if you can pick out the team’s entrance songs.

Photo Courtesy of Auckland Mako

Phoenix Thunder – Right Back to Where We Started From – Maxine Nightingale

Now, the Phoenix Thunder is one of our more musical teams. They seem to have an arsenal of musical options to throw out on the speakers. We are accustomed to their use of ACDC’s Thunderstruck, a song that is so on-brand that you can’t help but wonder if it was written for them. Without fail they skate out to ACDC’s Hells Bells for every home game and their fans chant ‘Green Machine’ as though it was a symphony. Thunder fans have also realised their chant travels well – so whilst Thunder may not have their favourite songs blasted over the ice when they are on the road – fans bring the music to the players with this earworm of a chant. Out of all the songs loved by the franchise – one is the goal song and it’s none other than the hit song from Maxine Nightingale – ‘Right Back to Where We Started From.’

“Love is good, love can be strong. We gotta get it right back to where we started from” – this anthem was prominently featured in the 1977 film ‘Slap Shot’ – instantly becoming a cult classic for hockey teams. The New York Islanders have this song embedded into the sound of their goal horn, and Thunder – well, Thunder has this song ready to go at the drop of a finger when they score on home ice at the Dunedin Ice Stadium. “We picked this song because it’s a feel-good song that everyone can enjoy and sing along to.” Paris Heyd, Captain of the Phoenix Thunder.

This year, you may have noticed that the Thunder have also turned up the volume on their home-game entertainment. In his rookie year with Thunder Management, Dave Richards took the old idea book and threw it away. Dubbed lovingly by his team, ‘The Mad Scientist’ has come up with entertainment that captures the attention of the crowd, both at the rink and over the stream. Very quickly gaining the attention of the NZIHL, Dave has brought imagination into reality and levelled up what we can expect from hockey games in New Zealand. The Human Slingshot, Lazy Boy Racing, Bubble Hockey, Sled Races are all backed by a Thunder soundtrack that is becoming a very important drawcard for the Thunder. A night out at a Thunder game is guaranteed to amaze and delight – and you get to watch hockey. “We’re selling hockey as an entertainment package. Everything from the time fans walk in the rink should spark happiness. Thunder has a culture we want to share with our fans. Our players are fun, outgoing, dynamic athletes and I wanted the home games to reflect them and our culture – because that’s the Thunder experience. Our goal song is a happy-go-lucky melody that just tops off the night” – Dave ‘Mad Scientist’ Richards, Fan Experience Manager – Phoenix Thunder.

“It’s incredible when the tension in the stadium is at an all-time high and the fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for Thunder to score, as the goal buzzer sounds, and Miss Nightingale’s voice sounds over the speakers the fans erupt into song and it creates one of the best atmospheres we could hope for. After the game, you can hear people walking to their cars, humming or whistling the tune and you know those Thunder fans are going to have a great night’s sleep.” – Megan Kliegl, Phoenix Thunder Marketing Manager.

Photo Courtesy of Kea Photos

Skycity Stampede – Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis

‘Owwww! Duh duh duh da da da duh nuh nuh nuuh…” This toe-tapping, head-bobbing tune is the Skycity Stampede. The beat is energetic and complementary to their North American style of play and rink. A rustic yet modern barn-like building with the acoustic perfection of what we assume can only be found at the Queenstown Ice Arena and in heaven. Forget doing concerts in stadiums – just hit up this Arena.

Over the ice, there is a haze of synchronised blue and yellow flashing lights. Conspiracy theorists would have you believe that the power for the lights and play button for the song must be on the goal judge’s button because the lights and music seem to begin the instant that puck hits the back of the net. This sudden shock to the senses triggers wonderful chaos amongst the Stampede fans, who are never difficult to spot. With their faces decorated proudly in bold yellow and blue designs and their perfectly timed dance routine. If you are at your first game, you needn’t worry about not knowing the dance. It must be one of the simplest and effective moves we have seen, second to maybe Liam Stewart’s slapshot.

The Chicago Blackhawks first used the song in the 2008-09 NHL season. It became the anthem for the team in their lead up to the 2010 Stanley Cup. In 2015, it was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as the Blackhawks lifted the cup yet again. The LA Kings are also known to play this banger, as are the Wellington Phoenix for games they win. So, we are not surprised that Sports Illustrated ranked this as the ‘Best goal song’ in the NHL.

“There is no better feeling than hearing and seeing the fans celebrate and sing along when that music comes on, it’s one of the things that makes playing at home so special” Cameron Frear, Skycity Stampede Head Coach.

Photo Courtesy of James Allan Photography

Canterbury Red Devils – Too many options! There is a lot of choices for these cheeky devils to pick from, and to paraphrase Spider-Man ‘with great choice comes great responsibility.’ The Devil’s are interested to get input from the fans on this one, so keep an eye out for voting polls and make sure you let them know your thoughts! Some of the suggestions we received included:

  • Highway to Hell – ACDC
  • The Trooper – Iron Maiden
  • Shout at the Devil – motley Crue
  • Dynamite – BTS
  • Back in Black – ACDC
  • I See Red – Split Endz
  • Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage The Elephant
  • Howlin’ For You – The Black Keys