Why Does Ice Hockey Have Goal Horns? (Read This First!)

Have you ever been to an NHL game…

Only to be shaken to your core when the home team scores?

He shoots… He scores!


That was my impression of an NHL goal horn. But in all honesty, no words can describe the actual sound of one in real life.

So… why exactly do ice hockey teams have goal horns?

In this article, you’ll learn just that.

Let’s dive in.

Here’s Why Ice Hockey Has Goal Horns:

1973 Chicago Blackhawks owner decided to install his personal yacht’s horn at Chicago stadium during the Stanley Cup Final against the Montreal Canadiens. He liked the sound and thought it would amp up the game. 50 years later—every single NHL team uses a goal horn when their home team scores.

When Were Goal Horns First Used in the NHL?

So, when were goal horns first used in the NHL?

Well, it began back in 1973 when former Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz decided to bring his own yacht’s horn into the Chicago stadium.

He used it after every goal was scored in the 1973 Stanley Cup Finals against the Montreal Canadiens.

Since then, other NHL teams decided to adopt using a goal horn every time a goal was scored. And now, all 32 NHL teams use their own specific type of horn. And, they all sound a little different.

Where Do NHL Goal Horns Come From?

Every NHL team has a goal horn they blast the moment the home team scores.

But… not all NHL goal horns are created equally.

They come in all different shapes and sizes.

And, while they’re all operated with an air compressor to create such an extreme sound, they all sound slightly different.

Depending on the horn model, these NHL goal horns can cost anywhere from $700 to $2,000 on average.

Did you know… These are the loudest commercial horns on the planet?

That’s right. There isn’t a louder type of commercial horn in the world. 

And, each NHL goal horn is a bit different. For instance, the Vancouver Canucks source their horn from their local provincial ferry system: BC Ferries. They use this horn since BC Ferries is one of the most common forms of transportation around the Vancouver area.

The LA Kings started using a train horn in the past 10+ years. The reason? No other team was using a train horn at the time.

For the Ottawa Senators, they use a train horn from Via Rail. This is Canada’s rail service line.

How Do NHL Goal Horns Work?

NHL goal horns are all very similar. 

A large horn is used—but it’s not done manually. They’re attached to air compressors.

NHL goal horns are operated with an air compressor that runs anywhere from 100 to 200 psi (pounds per square inch). 

This allows such an outrageous decibel level to come out which can be heard from far away.

The sound of the NHL goal horn is dependent on a few factors, namely their shape. 

The main rule of thumb is that the longer the horn, the lower the tone will be. The shorter they are, the higher the tone will be.

Which NHL Team Has the Loudest Goal Horn?

Wondering which NHL goal horn is the loudest?

Well, there isn’t a black-and-white answer for modern times.

However, back in the day in the 80s and 90s, there was a clear winner: The Hartford Whalers.

They played from 1979 to 1997 (and are no longer around). After 1997 they became the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hartford Whalers goal horn is extremely loud, overpowering, and even somewhat intimidating. 

Here’s a clip… And, try not to turn your speakers up too loud!

Does Seattle Kraken Have a Goal Horn?

The Seattle Kraken are the newest team to join the NHL. The expansion team had its inaugural season in 2021-22.

So, do they have a goal horn?

As an NHL team, they certainly do!

Here’s what it sounds like:

All 32 NHL Goal Horns

Wondering what each NHL goal horn sounds like?

The truth is, while they have a similar sound—they’re all slightly different.

Some sound better than others. And some… well, some sound just plain annoying! *Cough* Edmonton *Cough*

Have a listen below to find your favorite one! Just try not to scare anyone by playing them at full blast early in the morning!

Want more answers to the most common hockey questions? Be sure to check out our other popular articles: Why Is Fighting Allowed in Hockey, Why Does the Goalie Leave the Net, and What Are the Top 10 Ice Hockey Countries?



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