Goal Songs: An Analysis

Posted: July 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm   /   by   /   comments (1)

Casey Bryant

Goal songs are quite possibly the best aspect of a live hockey game.


Truthfully, who doesn’t love a good goal song? They indicate that the best possible thing that a hockey team can do, score, has just occurred. They rile up the crowd. They unite fans in a cheer or a chant. And perhaps the best part about it, there’s so much room for creativity, with the abundance of songs that would make for good goal celebrations.


The incomparable Schuyler Kieley and I opened up a debate during our podcast the other week: what makes a good goal song? And what does a good goal song consist of? Is there a way to definitively state that a given song is better than another?


Fortunately, thanks to my many hours of persistent and dedicated research and scrutiny during down time at my office job, there is.


I have ascertained, using intense formulaic analysis, averages, categorization, and of course, good ol’ fashioned trial and error, an infallible system for breaking down the anatomy of the perfect goal song, and which one used last season comes the closest.


Now, of course, we already know what the best and worst goal songs in the league are through common sense. Clearly, “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis, used by the Chicago Blackhawks, is bar-none the superior goal song in the league. It’s fun, fast, loud, obnoxious, easy to sing, and of course, a Fratellis song.


Meanwhile, the bastardized Frankenstein-monster rendition of the two most overused goal songs in league history, which I dub “Rock n’ Whip, Part 2,” used by the Colorado Avalanche, is clearly the worst. Though, now that I think about it, Pitbull’s “Don’t Stop the Party,” used by Florida and Edmonton, is frankly just as bad. Or anything the Leafs have used in the past three years. Remember those two weeks when they used “The Harlem Shake?” Good times. And by good, I mean terrible.


More to my point, in the interest of fairness and due diligence, I will open up my lab notes to you all and we shall go through this scientific endeavor together. I have tried to remove all semblance of subjectivism as best I can, and replaced it instead with numerical values based on the team’s success and other pieces of objective qualitative data.


Bear in mind, if it isn’t abundantly clear already, these are the ramblings of a master BS-artist, and this whole concept is executed mostly in jest. I’m fairly certain my college statistics class’ final exam was a test of one’s resting heart rate, mainly, if it existed.


Let’s begin.


Standing hypothesis: Best- “Chelsea Dagger,” Chicago. Worst- “Rock n’ Whip Part 2,” Colorado.


There are several ways in which I will be categorizing each goal song. First, I will look at the genre of the song itself. I have divided them into five groups:


1. The “Songs Created Specifically for the Team” Group
This includes “Slapshot” (NYR), “Le But” (MTL), “Hey Hey Hockeytown” (DET), “When the Blues Go Marching In” (STL), “Dallas Stars Fight Song” (DAL), “I Like It, I Love It” (NSH), and “I Love LA/HEY” (LAK).


NOTE: “Hey Hey Hockeytown” is one of several goal songs the Wings use, but is the one used most frequently, and is frankly better than “Can’t Hold Us” which was one of the songs used in the Winter Classic. Another: “I Like It, I Love It” technically wasn’t originally written for the Preds, but was rewritten and rerecorded for the team, so it counts. Next: “Howlin’ for You,” though the wordplay is awesome, was not made for the ‘Yotes. Finally: the “HEYS” in “I Love LA” aren’t from a song, so it counts.


2. The “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na HEY! THIS SONG SUCKS!” Group
This consists of all teams using some form of “Rock and Roll Part 2,” namely: Pittsburgh, Colorado, San Jose, and Nashville.


NOTE: This song is infinitely better when played by a college pep band.


3. The “Everybody in da Club Tonight” Group
Ft. “Kernkraft 400″ (BOS), ft. “Don’t Stop the Party” (EDM, FLA), ft. “Turbulence” (TOR), ft. “Wake Me Up” (OTT), ft. “Fluxland” (TBL), ft. “I Miss You” (WAS).


4. The “I’m Screaming My Lungs Out Whilst Inebriated” Group
This contains “Bro Hymn” (ANA), “Chelsea Dagger” (CHI), “Song 2″ (CAR), “Hell Yeah” (WPG), “Seven Nation Army” (NJD), “Gold on the Ceiling” (VAN) and “I Love L-HEY” (LAK).


NOTE: “I Love L-Hey” makes another appearance because of the “Heys” and taunting the goalie that comes after the initial Randy Newman song. Because something needs to sound like it belongs in the sport of hockey, and Randy Newman doesn’t really cut it.


5. The “I Really Have To Try And Actually Sing To Make This Sound Like Its Supposed To” Group
This group features “Righteous Smoke” (CGY), “Howlin’ For You” (PHX), “Crowd Chant” (MIN, NYI), “Light ‘Em Up” (PHI), “Lonely Boy” (BUF), “Rock n’ Whip” (COL), and “For Those About to Rock/The Whip” (CBJ).


NOTE: LightamupmupmuplightamupmupmuplightamupmupmupimonFIYAAAH


To determine the success rate of each group, I took an average of the point totals within each group. So, we find:
1. The Uniques: 96+100+93+88+100+111+91 / 7 = 97
2. It’s Best If We Don’t Think About Paying Money To Gary Glitter: 109+112+111+88 / 4 = 105
3. I Really Hope No One’s Put Anything In My Drink: 66+90+117+84+88+101+67 / 7 = 87.6
4. WOAAHAAGHHHH: 116+107+83+84+88+100+83 / 7 = 94.4
5. Maybe A Few Rehearsals Might Help: 77+89+98+79+94+52+93+112 / 8 = 86.8


As it turns out, the most commonly used goal song in the league is the most successful, a farcry from the poor performance put up by the seven teams that used “The Whip” in 2012. Simplicity and recognizability reigns supreme, whereas the more complicated, nuanced chants have experienced major setbacks.


Keeping it easy to sing, loud, and, if possible, related to the team, seems to be the way to go.


Now that the nature of the goal song has been examined, I will now delve into the actual content of the song itself. After all, as fans, our enthusiasm will be greatly affected by what exactly it is we’re supposed to wailing from the cheap seats.


1. “Wooooaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh”


2. “Hey? Hey. Hey!”


3. Both “Woah” AND “Hey”
Teams: NYR, COL


4. Other (Nothing, Words, “Na”)


1. Keanu Reeves: 79+88+93+90+94+117+52+98+116+77+101 / 11 = 91.4
2. Fat Albert: 109+66+88+84+100+111+67+83 / 8 = 88.5
3: Fat Keanu Reeves: 96+112 / 2 = 104
4. Clever name for “everything else”: 83+84+88+100+93+107+111+91+89 / 9 = 94


Notice how the previous success of “R’n’R, Pt. 2″ immediately evaporates when Pitbull gets added to the equation. I couldn’t think of a more apt metaphor for the music industry if I tried.


Simply shouting “hey” doesn’t appear to be enough to be a satisfactory goal song. It evidently should have some sense of melody and depth to it, “Woah” or “na” being the recommended syllables. Basically, anything off of “Everything Goes Numb” by Streetlight Manifesto should suffice. Electronic fist-bump to the two people reading who get that allusion.


Thus far, I’d say “Chelsea Dagger” is in the upper echelon of goal songs, though not quite the best yet. The Rangers’ “Slapshot” seems to be faring very well too, but seems to be overshadowed by the success of….”Rock n’ Whip Part 2.” Hm. Well, the experiment is young. Surely this egregious error will rectify itself.


Here are some other notable findings I discovered in my studies:


-To the shock of no one, the Western Conference goal songs averaged more points than the East; 95.3 to 89.6, to be exact.
-New goal songs did not exactly impress in their respective inaugural seasons. Teams that introduced a new goal song within the past year (NJD, WAS, PHI, FLA, EDM, OTT, DAL, VAN, CGY) averaged a mere 82.7 points.
-Teams that combine multiple songs into one Frankenstein monster of a song, like the “Rock n’ Whip,” actually experienced quite a bit of success. The abomination squad averaged 98.3 points, whereas Team Monogamy averaged just 89 points.
-There’s a disappointingly negligible difference between teams with unique goal songs and those who share it with another team. The nine teams that share a goal song with another franchise averaged 91.4 points; the 21 teams who actually put some thought into it averaged 92.6.


So, given all of this data, it’s time to examine what songs, if any, best exemplify each trait. Therefore, the best goal song in the league would preferably be written by Gary Glitter, contain both “woahs” and “heys” in its lyrics, reside in the Western Conference, have been with the team for several years, and, if possible, be a mashup of two songs. Upon running this data through the various algorithms in my supercomputer (code for looking over my post-it notes), I see there is actually one song that fits the criteria! It’s……..


No. No no no. No. NO.


Best Goal Song in the League: “Rock n’ Whip Part 2,” Colorado Avalanche.


To quote Judge Claude Frollo of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, “the world is cruel, the world is wicked.”


Worst Goal Song in the League: “Lonely Boy,” Buffalo Sabres (Honorable Mention: “Don’t Stop the Party”).


This is really no surprise. As a song itself, “Lonely Boy” is awesome. As a goal song, it is less so. But really, the Sabres’ historically bad season this year is what sank the Black Keys hit in the standings. If we were to look at what song completely destroyed others in its category like a parasite feeding off its host, “Don’t Stop the Party” averaged 66.5 points between the two teams that used it, the lowest of any shared song.


So, what have we learned?


-Goal songs should be fun. Make it easy to chant, make it loud, and make it rock.
-Be creative, and when you find a song that works, stick with it. If New Jersey taught us anything, it’s that fans can be awfully cantankerous when you mess with tradition.
-Pitbull should be kept far away from the sport of hockey.


What songs do you like? What do you want to hear as a goal song? Comment below with your thoughts.


Thanks for reading. I really have too much time on his hands at my job.


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  • September 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm Sonny Keyes

    Despite your protestations that it’s BS, I think your statistical analysis has successfully proven that a song with a strong beat and a lyric that even drunks can remember will always win this category. If I might humbly proffer another candidate for future consideration (or perhaps just momentary entertainment):