For Pulitzer consideration: With Dubas gone, is the Maple Leafs’ goal song gone as well?
Photo credit:Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
By Jon Steitzer1 month ago
Welcome to August. You have to take what you can get when it comes to hockey conversation. If talking about goal songs isn’t something you care about, feel free to quickly click on a couple of ads so I can send my kids to college and be on your way. If heated debates about the merit of Hall and Oates is up your alley, good news, that’s exactly what we are talking about.
Even before we get around to the current and future iteration of the Maple Leafs goal songs I think it’s worth touching on how important music is in the hockey experience. One of my earliest hockey memories is going to Winnipeg Jets 1.0 games and watching the team take to the ice while Van Halen’s Jump played. That song immediately got seven year old me ready to run through a wall for the team and the song still plays in my head every time I take the ice to get my old ass handed to me in rec league hockey.
Goal songs seem to matter even more now. I’m not sure when it started, if it was the ultra annoying, but likely effective Rangers goal song or the Blackhawks playing Chelsea Dagger that forced everyone to rethink their dependence on Zombie Nation, but each team seems to want to put their mark on it. The Leafs for good or bad have done that with using Hall and Oates- You Make My Dreams Come True.
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It’s unique, it’s cheesy, it has the potential to get under the skin of the opposition, and it’s fun. It checks a lot of boxes. The two biggest drawbacks it has are that it equally seems to get under the skin of a lot of Leafs fans, but most importantly, it is not a tune that gets you fired up when you hear it. For all the things I appreciate about the tune and it’s one that I’d happily listen to, it doesn’t keep me fired up even the same way common arena fare like Zombie Nation or Thunderstruck would. That’s why in the post Dubas, somewhat new Leafs era, it’s time to look to make this small change that won’t impact the salary cap and way of Treliving showing that the Leafs are under new management.
I don’t know if Kyle Dubas personally picked this song. I don’t know if Kyle Dubas has been critical to long run of Hall and Oates as the Leafs goal song gurus, and as far as I can tell neither Hall nor Oates have ever visited Sault Ste. Marie. In fact, Daryl Hall is a Pennsylvania native and it might make even more sense for the Penguins to adopt this goal song. What an interesting development that could be for this drama-free sport, but I digress. The point being that there is no reason to believe the song is any more or less likely to go away because Kyle Dubas has left, but given that this a brief off-season debate every summer, we’ll use Kyle as a catalyst for why it is more likely to depart.
Like most people I have some strong feelings about the direction the Leafs should go with the song, in that I feel all the music they use should come off of my playlists or at the very least be something I am excited to add to my playlist. I am after all the main character, right? No? Okay, then let’s go based off of what hits the mark of a few different criteria to see what could possibly be the best fit.
Uniqueness- The last thing anyone needs is for the Leafs to pick up an old Jock Jams CD, hit shuffle and go with the first track that comes up. As much as I’d love to hear “C’mon ride that train” every time Auston Matthews scores, I can appreciate that I might be in the minority on that as well and the Quad City DJs have had their time that has sadly passed.
Uniqueness is a pretty low bar in hockey because the 32 Arenas have essentially been working off the same playlist since 1996. They recognized the need to remove Gary Glitter from it, but soon after welcomed in Seven Nation Army to fill the generic stadium rock void. You are still going to get your fill of Stompin’ Tom, Rednexx, and Neil Diamond (for reasons as baffling as the Hall and Oates situation), and 85% of the music mirrors what was on the cassette that was lodged in the tape deck of your uncle’s Trans Am.
The scope of uniqueness ranges from Enya- Only Time to Tupac- Dear Mama, so there is obvious a lot more criteria that needs to be added here.
Is it fun?- This is where I have to say goodbye the Enya and Tupac direction and get grounded in something that is fun. Is it cheesy, is it upbeat, is it something that you generally want to listen to when you are in a good mood? As much as I’d love to see the Leafs head down a Morrissey path with their goal song or even some Dashboard Confessional, it’s probably best to err on the side of a positive outlook. It’s probably a good idea to avoid politics as well so despite customizing my copy of NHL 2002 goal song to Propagandhi, I don’t think the Leafs are going to use And We Thought Nation States Were a Bad Idea as their goal song.
Something fun and unique still leaves a lot of options. The options available at this point still include The Bartman or Weird Al. And as much as I’d like to lobby for Eat It being the Leafs goal song, some additional thought needs to be given to this.
Is it a banger?
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This is the biggest issue with Hall and Oates and we’ll address it here. You Make My Dreams Come True is not a banger. We’re still casting a pretty wide net here and as much as I’d love to see the Maple Leafs embrace MC Hammer’s Pumps and a Bump or Gob’s Soda, I’m missing the mark for one of the key criteria.
Mass appeal- How do the Leafs get the majority of their fans behind their selection. That immediate likely kills any not overly mainstream options of the past thirty years and given that hockey skews older it probably means that anything within the past five years is too recent to be considered as well. It’s a matter of what has been on the billboard hot 100, is a banger, is fun, but also somehow unique enough that it feels like a bit of pull? The Hives- I Hate to Say I Told You So seems to walk the line of recognizable/unique/banger, as does Missy Elliott’s Lose Control.
Finally, how about some CanCon (TorontoCon)? Is it too much to ask for some Len or B4-4? Maybe some Biebs? I’m being told it is. Drake, The Weeknd, or PUP could be options for some as well, but if we’re being complete honest about the song that checks all the boxes it’s:
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Clearly this is an upgrade over You Make My Dreams Come True, right?
Okay, then maybe the solution lies with letting players select their own goal songs or you can suggest the right answer in the comment section.
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