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Drop The Puck, Drop A Beat: Which Network Had The Best NHL Theme Song?

The National Hockey League finally came back into our lives last night. And when we plopped our asses on the couch to watch the first 5 games of the season, we were greeted with an all too familiar sound. The NHL on NBC theme song. Pretty much the only theme music outside of local stations we've heard since at least 98% of the league made their debut in the NHL. 

NBC's rights deal with the league expires at the end of this season. I know that "money" is ultimately going to be the deciding factor here in which network ends up winning the bid to the next rights deal, but I really think that theme music needs to play a major role in the decision. I mean what good is a few billion dollars going to do for the league if its nationally televised games are intro'd with an absolute ass theme song? So just to make Gary Bettman's job a little easier for him, here's how it goes. 

5. NHL on Versus

The NHL on Versus era coincided with the Guitar Hero craze of the mid 2000s. So make no mistake about it, whoever came up with this theme song was clearly just crushing hours upon hours of Guitar Hero. Like if you listen closely enough, I think you can actually hear the guitar hero buttons getting smashed in the background. 

4. NHL on NBC

At this point I think it might just be the fatigue sitting in. We've been hearing this theme for so damn long at this point. Maybe there will come a day in 2035 that we look back and remember this theme music with a ton of nostalgia. But that's just not the case today. Don't get me wrong--this song is the NHL. And you can't hear it without picturing Doc Emrick wishing you a good afternoon from Joe Louis Arena at 1pm on a Saturday in 2008. But still, I'm over it at this point. 

3. NHL on ABC

Okay so here's where we start to get to the nostalgia. I don't know how to read music but I have a feeling that if I were to see the sheet music for this one, the pattern would look like Mike Modano's jersey flapping behind him in the wind as he wheels his way down the ice, and Joe Sakic was the orchestra's conductor. The only reason I have it at 3 is because it also reminds me of Scott Stevens, and fuck Scott Stevens for everything he did to Eric Lindros. 

2. NHL on ESPN

Just an all-time jam alert here. Also--did anyone here ever play ESPN NHL 2k5? I took a break from NHL video games from like 2014-2020. But I've played each of the last two Chel's. And I still think that 2k5 is the best out of all of them. Well, at least the realistic games. NHL Hitz 2002 is still the greatest of all time. But yeah. Sick theme music and a sick video game. 

1. NHL on Fox

Even just the opening slapshot sound effect alone is enough to put this one at the top of the list. But this theme music had everything. It leaned all the way in to the jock jams style. The crazy guitar riff in the middle that sounds like you're in a poorly edited cop chase scene from a 90s movie. And then I know it's unfair to grade a theme song based on other factors not involved with the actual music, but this song comes packed with the memory of the glow puck. Easily the most innovative advancement in hockey broadcast history.