Improving the NHL’s Taste in Music

Saturday night I watched yet another outdoor hockey game when the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins. About halfway through the first period, we were told that the first intermission entertainment would be Keith Urban.

That’s right, Keith Urban. Because when you think of Philly, you think of Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, Keith Urban.

The NHL has done this before, showing they are indeed tapped into the social and pop culture veins of their fans, like when they asked Kid Rock to perform at the All-Star Game last year.

With that said, I am going to help the NHL out by providing a list of musical acts from each city that should be considered for any and all outdoor games, All-Star Games, whatever. And yes, my bias is absolutely coming in to play here. I should also note that I am focusing mainly on bands, not individual performers. I don’t have the time or the tolerance for that.


My first choice for Anaheim was Dick Dale, because try and tell me a stadium of fans hearing the opening riff to “Misirlou” wouldn’t turn the crazy up a bit.

But Dale, who moved to Southern California when he was 17, is technically from Boston. Thus, I have to give the nod to the easy choice, which is No Doubt, but with one stipulation: no material from “Rock Steady” or after. Only 2000 and earlier.


Mesa Ariz. natives Jimmy Eat World offers the pop and commercial success to appeal to all. But Mesa isn’t Glendale (one person may be saying). Glendale. Phoenix. Mesa. The Coyotes are always rumored to be on the move anyway.


Easy, Bell Biv Devoe. Next.

No, no, I’m kidding. This is a tough one though. The easy choice, the one that’s already been done at the 2010 Winter Classic, is the Dropkick Murphys. And DKM would be a great choice now, but I’m going to stick a little more mainstream and go with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones with my logic being that I have yet to meet someone who A. Doesn’t know “The Impression That I Get” and B. Doesn’t enjoy it or get involved with the song in some way.

Case in point, I started playing this and my wife immediately began nodding and playing along with the horn intro.


Buffalo offers nothing, and I don’t think it’s right to subject people to watching and listening to the Goo Goo Dolls. Maybe they can borrow an act from Toronto.


At first I want to say Loverboy, in honor of Chris Farley, but then I consider how many young fans would actually appreciate it. I don’t think many. That is why my choice is Tegan and Sara.


This is going to be one of the few, if only times, I concede to the country genre by suggesting The Charlie Daniels Band. Sometimes the answer is right in front of you.


If consideration for this list is overall pop appeal, the obvious choice for this is one of my all-time guilty pleasures, Fall Out Boy. But I am going to add the same rule here as I did with No Doubt in Anaheim: 2008’s “Folie à Deux” is the only most recent album they can pull material from, but preferably keep it to mainly “Take This to Your Grave” and “From Under the Cork Tree.”


Good Lord are pickens’ slim here. The Fray? No. The Lumineers? Hell no. Do I really have to say OneRepublic here? I guess so, but only if they allow my old beer-league teammate Jerrod Bettis play drums for a song or two. Now excuse me while I pick this dropped name up.


Really? Is Twenty One Pilots really the best we can do, Columbus? Because I’m not putting Rascal Flatts on this list. Get it together, Columbus.


I’m taking the approach that if the act is still alive, they can still perform, which means Meat Loaf playing half of the “Bat Out of Hell” album means an instant stealing of the show.


Iggy Pop. Enough said.

And if you argue with this choice you are admitting that your taste in music sucks.




I really wish I could say Tom Petty, but with his passing in 2017, that’s nearly impossible. This is going to be a stretch for many, but I nominate ska punk band Less Than Jake. They aren’t a household name, but I know that their live show is one that would win plenty of new fans and most importantly entertain.

Los Angeles

The most challenging given the volume of bands to come from this great city. But the choice also has to be something so LA that you can’t argue with it, which makes it that much more challenging. Because of that, there is really only one choice: The Red Hot Chili Peppers.


I’ve found that most people forget the great musical acts that have come out of Minnesota, and there are plenty. Similar to Florida, there should only be one answer, and that is Prince. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2016, but it still doesn’t take away that Prince should be featured some how. With that said, I think the only appropriate choice is a combination of The Revolution and Morris Day and the Time.


This is a no brainer as well. Chromeo. A very unique, entertaining, and talented duo, they are also responsible for one of my personal all-time favorite songs ever, “Old 45’s.”


I understand it’s Nashville, which means country, but Nashville boasts a nice roster of rock bands as well. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a country fan, but I understand the importance of the roots in this city. However, I think my choice brings a very complimentary combination of both country and rock with their bluegrass/string style, and that is Old Crow Medicine Show. It’s a bit of stretch, sure, but one I believe would please all fans.

New Jersey

A rare overlap is about to take place, and that is because the Devils goal song is currently “Howl” by Jersey’s own The Gaslight Anthem, and that band should be the one tapped to represent the Garden State as well.

New York Islanders

When you are talking about Long Island, big arena performances, and music, you have no other option than the Piano Man, Billy Joel.

New York Rangers

A similar issue as Los Angeles. Needed is an act so New York it cannot be argued. This is also the most challenging because of how many great bands formed in New York, but also how many of those bands have had members pass on.

When in the Big Apple, you have a Big Performance. If by some miracle, you can have a combination of Blondie, the Talking Heads, Vampire Weekend, the Beastie Boys, Run-D.M.C., Lady Gaga and whoever can make this performance the delicious smorgasbord that it should be, you do it.


Eugene Melnyk.


Joan Jett gets the booking here, again, because of her appeal across multiple generations and her songs are easy recognizable.


Yinzers will immediately demand Donnie Iris because Donnie Iris is the only musician they know. And then when he’s not booked they would demand the city revert its thinking back 20 more years.

My most experimental pick goes to the experimental act Girl Talk, the mashup genius. The first time I heard “Play Your Part (Pt. 1) it blew my mind just how seamlessly everything meshed together. This would absolutely be an intermission show for the ages.

San Jose

The Doobie Brothers? I guess?

St. Louis

This list is very bad, almost as bad as Columbus’, so I’ll just choose Nelly and move on.

Tampa Bay

Aaron Carter or Brooke Hogan, your pick. Either way, you have chosen poorly.


The dream choice, of course, is Rush. The members- Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and Neil Peart- called it a career in 2018 saying they would no longer tour, but I would hope playing a major NHL game would convince them enough to tune up one more time.


Some cities don’t have much to offer. With that said, I’m heading back to my personal favorite well and offering up The Real McKenzies to rock Vancouver.


The Killers. They’ve already done the Lil’ Jon thing.

Washington, D.C.

You’re not going to know them, but Ted Leo and the Pharmacists is the perfect act for the nation’s capital. The right amount of rock and pop.


The Guess Who, performing an extra extended version of “These Eyes” accompanied by Michael Cera’s performance art dance.