Van Halen is one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all-time. In October of 2020, we lost the great guitarist and founder of Van Halen, Mr. Ed Van Halen. Music has not been the same since, but go into any hockey rink on any given night and you are bound to hear a Van Halen song playing through the arena sound system. Whether it’s “Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love” at Edmonton’s Rogers Place or “Jump” at Kelowna’s Prospera Place (home of the WHL Kelowna Rockets) Van Halen will always be cranked at a hockey game.
Since I have a passion for both hockey and Van Halen, we thought we would have a little fun with the top Van Halen songs that you can expect to hear at a hockey game. Of course you will find a few Van Halen songs over on our Spotify Playlist of The Hockey Fanatic’s Definitive Hockey Playlist and our course Van Halen makes appearances on our top songs for your hockey playlist 2019 edition and our more recent Top 100 Songs for your Hockey Playlist – 2023 Edition (of which Wolfgang Van Halen’s Mammoth WVH also make an appearance.
Eddie Van Halen’s birthday is coming up on January 26th (same birthday as Wayne Gretzky, see the hockey connection there?) With that, The Hockey Fanatic is pleased to present:
Top 20 Van Halen Songs You Will Hear at a Hockey Game
Of course, we have both David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar era tracks on our list.
#20. Beat It – ok technically this is a Michael Jackson song, but we all know who played on the solo. Ed Van Halen’s riff and tapping style is front and center here and you’ll hear this in many second period games throughout NHL, AHL, WHL, OHL and QMJHL rinks throughout Canada and the United States. Here’s a rare live clip of Ed Van Halen joining Michael Jackson on stage. Guitar solo at roughly 2:30. (Sound quality is not great).
#19. Feels So Good – from the OU812 album comes the synth driven “Feels So Good”. Not many bands could mix the sounds of a synthesizer and guitar like Van Halen could. This is a great first period song at a hockey game.
#18. And the Cradle Will Rock – I’ve heard this one played at a number of games. Again, that crushing guitar intro.
#17. Poundcake – this one was played at hockey rinks throughout the 90’s. Hearing that opening drill/guitar riff and you knew what was coming. Maybe not the best song lyrically, but this tune is considered dad-rock at its best.
#16. Everybody Wants Some – from the Women and Children First album in 1980, the tribal drums in this one echo throughout sports arenas.
#15. Beautiful Girls – I actually heard this on while attending an Oilers / Golden Knights game in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. Another great catchy guitar riff courtesy of Ed Van Halen.
#14. Oh Pretty Women – Van Halen’s cover of Pretty Women from Roy Orbison is a beauty. We’ve heard this one in a few hockey barns as well.
#13. Why Can’t This Be Love – I’ve heard this one at a number of hockey venues over the years.
#12. You Really Got Me – Van Halen did their fair share of cover songs. This hard rock version of the Kinks song is played in almost every area in North America.
#11. Eruption – yes even Van Halen instrumentals can be heard at hockey games. Especially this one that made so many kids pick up and learn how to play guitar.
Top 10 Van Halen Tracks you will Hear at a Hockey Game
#10. Unchained – quite often when watching an NHL game on TV, you’ll hear this guitar-heavy tune being played in the background. A great song from Van Halen’s Fair Warning album.
#9. Jamie’s Cryin’ – Whether it’s in Ton Loc’s sample in “Wild Thing” or in the original, you will near the Jamie’s Cryin’ guitar riff in many a hockey rink.
#8. Hot for Teacher – that drum intro though.
#7. Dreams – great song from 5150 album. “…because that’s what dreams are made of.”
#6. Right Now – from the 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge album. There’s a good chance that you will hear this at any sporting event in North America on any given night. This just may have been the sports (or TV broadcast) pump-up song of the ’90s.
#5. Running With the Devil – nothing like that freight train intro to “Running With the Devil”.
#4. Dance the Night Away – you have to love hearing that catchy into riff as it comes over the arena’s speaker system. Great guitar harmonics in this one.
#3. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love – from the debut album, the guitar riff can be heard in many big league arenas not just in North America, but around the world.
#2. Panama – like its counterpart from the 1984 album, Panama’s great riff and pounding drums is a great arena song. Go to any junior hockey game in Canada, or even many NHL games and you will hear the catchy “Panama” over the loudspeakers.
#1. Jump – probably one of our all-time favourite Van Halen songs, go into any area on any night and you will hear “Jump” no doubt about it. When originally released, this song spent five weeks at #1 on the charts in 1984. “Jump” has been voted the number one most popular sporting song of all time (see below for details). Instantly recognizable, “Jump” can be heard at almost any hockey game you attend in North America (specifically in Canada). More about Van Halen’s “Jump”.
Billboard: Eddie Van Halen’s 15 Best Songs: Staff Picks
Vulture: All 131 Van Halen Songs Ranked from Worst to Best