Analyzing the Sabres’ Personal Goal Songs
A sports DJ reflects on the songs Sabres players chose.
While I read Jeff Miers’ recent piece for The Buffalo News on his thoughts about the Buffalo Sabres’ individual goal songs, I reflected on another idea for a piece I had a few days for Die By the Blade. It’s undoubtedly neat to get an arts/music critic’s thoughts - but what about someone whose very specialty *is* hockey music?
Lucky for me, I happen to have one of those people in my household. Ryan Burgess - my husband, if that wasn’t clear - is a public address announcer & sports DJ who’s done work for a bunch of WNY hockey teams, including Sabres’ prospects challenges, the Amerks, the Beauts, Canisius College & more. If anyone knows about what music is best to pump up the crowd at a hockey game, and what works - or really doesn’t - as a goal song…. it’s someone like him. Or more specifically, him.
We sat down together and listened to each of the songs picked by Sabres players as their personal goal songs, and he gave me his honest thoughts on each selection. Here’s the results:
Dylan Cozens: “Good Life” by Kanye West: I like it. [finds out which player’s song it is] YES. The young man’s got taste. He chose something that bops. It’s got a beat, it fits, talking about crowd activation, throw your hands up in the sky… Not bad for a kid from the Yukon.
Drake Caggiula: “Hell Yeah” by Rev Theory: I believe the Sabres used this at one point as a goal song. It was in the early 2000s, before they went to U2 and Joey Ramone. As goal songs go, especially for a game-winner, Rev Theory… Hell Yeah. (As long as you’re not averse to the word ‘hell.’) It’s tried & true. I don’t think anyone is using it now.
Rasmus Asplund: “Maria (I Like It Loud)” by Scooter: The Philadelphia Union called and want their goal song back. The Flyers used it. As far as getting the crowd engaged, which is something you want in a goal song, this is pretty good. They’ll sing along.
John Hayden: “Air Force Ones” by Nelly: OKAY, who chose this? John Hayden’s a boss. Big shoe guy, maybe? It’s got to be mixed right with the right part of the song. First verse he’s talking all about shoes. The bass & the beat on this is what makes this song great. [starts singing along] Dig it.
Zemgus Girgensons: “Party Till We Die” by MAKJ & Timmy Trumpet: Definitely has warmup vibes. It’s catchy, it’s got a nice beat to it. I still cannot believe he didn’t choose his own song (‘Zemgus Girgensons’, by Olas). Decent choice.
Victor Olofsson: “Poke It Out” by Wale (feat. J. Cole): I haven’t heard this song before. I’m not a huge fan, but I can see it, as long as it’s mixed right.
Arttu Ruotsalainen: “Hands Up” by Ottawan: I see why whoever chose this did. The hands up thing, that’s kind of cool. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song before, but after listening to it, I can see where the chorus has that vibe. Hands up, people are throwing their hands up. It’s like a North American version of ABBA. That’s a deep dive, and I appreciate it.
Will Butcher: “Jump Around” by House of Pain: This was Minnesota’s goal song last season. I believe the anecdote was that Marcus Foligno suggested it and knowing the history, the team went along with it. It just has to be mixed right. It’s a little played-out, I think, like it wouldn’t be my first choice for a goal song, but if it’s mixed right, it can work.
Tage Thompson: “Trophies” by Young Money & Drake: That first verse is really good. It’s got the beat. I dig it. That instrumental (towards the end) is really nice, I like that.
Henri Jokiharju: “Public Service Announcement (Interlude)” by Jay-Z: [starts singing along] This bops. This led off Sabres warmups for a few years. [continues singing along] It’s really cool for someone who might not score a lot, just to kind of remind you that they’re there, they’re doing something. I’m a fan.
Colin Miller: “Shake Ya Tailfeather” by Diddy: I use this for part of my power-play music. This bad-boy anthem never disappoints. [starts singing along] ‘Cause when the team scores, what else are you gonna do but get up and shake ya tailfeather, right?
Casey Mittelstadt: “Old Thing Back” by Matoma & The Notorious B.I.G.: Anything with Biggie’s got a beat, so it’s easy to nod along with. Wait, that’s Ja Rule! Okay. We won’t hear it for a bit since he’s hurt, but I can see it.
Jacob Bryson: “Candy Paint” by Post Malone: [starts singing along] It’s catchy, and a lot of folks will know the song. They’ll sing along just like I was. Catchy. I know Post Malone isn’t for everybody, but I can see this.
Cody Eakin: “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive: CODY EAKIN. Speaking as a fellow redhead, I commiserate with his choice of song. If he hangs onto that mullet, we truly haven’t seen anything yet. I feel like this is a good song to play the first whistle after a goal, right at the chorus. You do you, Cody.
Jeff Skinner: “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus: Vibes. Instant sing-along. This fits his personality. Smile on his face… he may be Canadian, but it is a Party in the USA. I hope he scores a bunch against Toronto. [puts his hands up] ‘Shooting the pucks like yeah, scoring the goals like yeah…’
Mark Pysyk: “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC: I’ve been ejected from the game. I hope he scores in overtime. [laughs when finds out it’s Pysyk’s song] Whenever I see him, he’s got a smile on his face. This is his vibe. Maybe he wanted to pick something that would give the boys on the bench a smile.
Robert Hagg: “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers: You will inevitably find yourself singing along to this. Hopefully it’s not “I will play 500 games, and I will play 500 more, before I score” or something like that. Yeah, the song fits with Hagg. [starts singing along] It’s catchy, everybody knows it. They’re going to sing along to it. Okay, Robert Hagg.
Anders Bjork: “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince: I think if the team had to go with one goal song, this or ‘Hell Yeah’ would be it. This was Minnesota’s song a few years ago after Prince died. Sabres score, let’s go crazy.
Kyle Okposo: “‘Till I Collapse” by Eminem & Nate Dogg: Something I would - have - put in a warmup. For scoring a goal…. what it’s essentially saying is, yes, I just scored, and I’m gonna keep coming ‘till I collapse. As an alternate captain, Okie’s leading by example with that goal song. Putting that effort in, this is what I want to see… till the roof blows off.
Vinnie Hinostroza: “Go Flex” by Post Malone: This just seems too soft. If he likes it, it’s good for him, but it’s not something I would necessarily choose. As a sports DJ, I don’t see the appeal of this song. If it makes him feel like a baller, it’s about what makes them feel good.
Rasmus Dahlin’s goal song hasn’t been officially announced, but if they’re basing off a Twitter fan vote, it will be “Duck Sauce” by Barbra Streisand: Calgary used this a number of years ago. It bops. It’s easy to sing along with. It’d be one of my choices for a single team goal song. My choice for him would’ve been “Lean Wit it, Rock Wit It,” because “Dah-LEAN.”
One more note from Ryan: To give the players’ songs more time, it sounds like they’ve gone from three blasts of the goal horn to two.
How many times will we hear each of these songs ring out at KeyBank Center this season? Who knows. In my opinion, it’s super fun of the Sabres to let the players pick their own goal songs, and while it undoubtedly provides challenges for the game presentation folks, it’s a neat way to switch things up. Huge thanks to Ryan for his input!
And now the infamous question for you, DBTB readers: if you had to pick your own goal song, what would it be?