What does a victory mean to an NHL team? Is it a relatively meaningless notch in the belt during a long season on the way to a greater goal? Or is it a reason to keep the party going after the final buzzer and enjoy the moment?
We see wildly varying philosophies reflected in every NHL team’s win song. Some are crowd-pleasers designed to keep fans rowdy. Others feel like generic throwaway melodies. Some are customized anthems written for the teams. Others are tired sports cliches. Some come from local musicians, reflecting an effort to tie a song to a team’s history. Others feel like mailed-in choices given almost no thought at all.
Where does each team’s victory tune land on the spectrum? Behold, a highly subjective ranking. Extra points were awarded for fun factor, originality and whether a song has achieved iconic status. Points were docked for cliches, imitation, songs unpleasing to the ear or a lack of connection to the team’s lore.
1) MONTREAL CANADIENS — Le But by Loco Locass
Custom track about the Habs with French lyrics and a real chant appeal. A former goal song, it’s everything you want in a victory anthem.
2) CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS — Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis
Getting tired of it? That just shows how ingrained it is in the minds of opponents. This song, also used after goals, is the Blackhawks.
3) BOSTON BRUINS — Dirty Water by The Standells
Iconic song used for decades by multiple Boston sports teams. Mocking lyrics give a tough, playful, grimy vibe befitting Bruins’ identity.
4) DALLAS STARS — The House is Rockin’ by Stevie Ray Vaughan/Double Trouble
Makes you want to get up and dance. Lovely bonus: Vaughan was born and bred in Dallas.
5) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS — The Orange And The Black by The Boils
Many teams use a Celtic-punk style of win song, but this track is about the Flyers by a Philadelphia band. Badass.
6) TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS — Right Back Where We Started From by Maxine Nightingale
Disco tune evokes Slap Shot soundtrack, striking nostalgic chord for hockey diehards.
7) CALGARY FLAMES — Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Obvious pick, but not only does fire theme fit Flames, the song is also a country classic, which makes it doubly suited to Saddledome.
8) ARIZONA COYOTES — Howlin’ For You by The Black Keys
Tough to find a song more lyrically right for its team, plus the “Da da, da da da” lends well to crowd participation.
9) BUFFALO SABRES — Victorious by Panic! At the Disco
Points for going off the board. Not a well-worn classic. Peppy tempo, lyrics like “champagne pouring over us” scream “win.”
10) VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS — Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley
Similar to Flames’ pick in that, while obvious, it’s just too perfect not to use. It’s a party song about Vegas.
11) WASHINGTON CAPITALS — Bustin’ Loose by Chuck Brown/Soul Searchers
Lots of swagger to it. Not only is it a unique choice, but Brown rose up in metro Washington D.C., so it’s a tribute.
12) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS — Party Hardby Andrew W.K.
Beloved anthem of Pens’ recent Cup runs has gone meta, with Andrew W.K. (not a Pittsburgh guy) involved and aware of song’s impact.
13) VANCOUVER CANUCKS — Holiday by Green Day
No ties to Vancouver, but Canucks fans adore it because it was used during 2011 Cup quest. Team brought it back after several years.
14) MINNESOTA WILD — Let’s Go Crazy by Prince
Naturally, Wild go with homegrown Prince, and a party track makes sense. A bit busy to become memorably synonymous with Wild.
15) ST. LOUIS BLUES — Runaround Sue by Dion
A blues-genre pick works for St. Louis. It’s not an adrenaline-pumper, but it’s just a good song, so you could do a lot worse.
16) LOS ANGELES KINGS — This is L.A. by The Briggs
Local band singing about its city: wired. Celtic-punk sound adopted by too many teams: tired. Why not something more Hollywood?
17) FLORIDA PANTHERS — Fireball by Pitbull feat. John Ryan
Danceable track from Miami star. But sometimes a too-recent pop hit can feel played out and sound like white noise.
18) NEW YORK RANGERS — High on Life by Martin Garrix feat. Bonn
Vintage instrumental tune bleeds into progressive house. Two good pieces, but do they fit together? Confusing.
19) NEW YORK ISLANDERS — On to the Next One by Jay-Z feat. Swizz Beatz
Delightfully cocky lyrics, and a Brooklyn rapper fits, but chorus a bit monotonous. A win song should be more upbeat.
20) TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING — Thunderstruck by AC/DC
Theme on point, but song belongs in sports cliche Hall of Fame. Tampa blends it with For Those About to Rock, too. Just pick one song.
21) NEW JERSEY DEVILS — Howl by The Gaslight Anthem
Cool that Devils picked a New Jersey band. Other than that, there’s nothing overly noteworthy about the song. “Heyyyyyyy.” Meh.
22) ANAHEIM DUCKS — Goons by Mona
Nothing wrong with the song. But it just feels like some teams think anything with a “Hey” or “Ohhh” chorus is enough to pump fans up. Do better.
23) COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS — Moon Revolution by Aqualords
It has pep. Other than that? Just noise. No lyrics, just a repetitive dance track. There’s nothing about it that says “Columbus, Ohio.”
24) WINNIPEG JETS — Gonna Celebrate by The Phantoms
You’re dogfighting the Preds for Central Division supremacy. You cannot pick a Nashville band to sing your win song.
25) EDMONTON OILERS — Worlds Apart by CFO$
Sounds really happy. We’ll give them that. Otherwise, though, it feels like it was selected off a “generic win song” menu.
26) COLORADO AVALANCHE — Lithium by Nirvana
Avs picked it for the “Yeaahhh” chorus, right? This song is about a man turning to religion to stop himself from suicide. Facepalm.
27) CAROLINA HURRICANES — All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled
“All I do is win win win.” Has there ever been a team win song more punch-in-the-face obvious than this one? The news gets worse…
28) DETROIT RED WINGS — All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled
…because multiple teams have chosen it. Shouldn’t that be a hint you’ve made a bad pick? Would a bit of research kill ya? And wait…
29) NASHVILLE PREDATORS — All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled
…a third team has the same song? It doesn’t matter who picked it first. This is lazy. All three teams, just agree to call it off. Please.
30) SAN JOSE SHARKS — Rock and Roll All Nite by Kiss
Biased opinion of this author: possibly the worst popular song of all-time. Just reeks of “spent 10 seconds picking our victory song.”
31) OTTAWA SENATORS — Song 2 by Blur
No. NO. COME ON! This song was filed under “Most overplayed arena cliches of all-time” two decades ago. The lack of imagination here is just…sad.