How the Leafs can address their 'Hall and Oates' goal song problem

The Maple Leafs' current goal song is clearly getting tired. It's time to move on.

On Monday night Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said something Maple Leafs fans had been collectively thinking for quite some time now: it's time for the team to find a new goal song.

Not only has "You Make My Dreams" by Hall and Oates worn out its welcome in Toronto, it was never a great idea in the first place. There was some novelty in going for the type of track not traditionally associated with pumping up a crowd, but there's a difference between an unusual idea and a good one.

The Hall and Oates song, which is not without merits on its own terms, is now closely associated with an era of Maple Leafs hockey characterized by playoff failure — and Toronto's franchise player openly mused about moving on from it more than a year ago.

Hall and Oates isn't getting it done for the Maple Leafs anymore. (Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)
Hall and Oates isn't getting it done for the Maple Leafs anymore. (Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images)

Friedman and Matthews are right, it's time to move on from the track The Athletic ranked as the 15th-best goal song in the NHL back in March.

That said, pointing out a problem without providing a solution is hardly productive. So below are some suggestions for how the Maple Leafs can get a goal song that works.

Make it individual

Last season the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals all had individual goal songs for their players and that seems like the way to go.

Hockey fans often complain about how little NHL players seem to express themselves. Having custom tracks for when each of them lights the lamp seems like a low-effort way to combat that.

It would also create a fun storyline at the beginning of the year as players' songs would be slowly revealed over time as they scored their first goals.

For stay-at-home defensemen and fourth-liners, that suspense could last weeks, or even months. This solution takes slightly more effort on the game-ops side, but it seems like it would create plenty of fun discussion and give the players another way to connect with fans.

Go local

Toronto and its surrounding area has produced many notable musical acts over the years, and it seems silly to not at least explore the idea of using something local.

Whether that means going with something from Drake, Matthews's buddy Justin Bieber or The Weeknd, or exploring older artists like Rush, Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, Broken Social Scene, or Metric — there's plenty to choose from.

Surprisingly few NHL teams have goal songs from artists originating in their home city, but a lot of those clubs don't have as many options as Toronto would.

Appease the core

One thing that made Hall and Oates a bit tough to stomach at times was that it ran in stark contrast to the Maple Leafs' young core and it seemed unlikely it would fire up the players who were triggering it.

Most of Toronto's most important players are now between 26 and 29 so it might be wise to target a song they can connect with. Something from their late teens, early 20s seems like a good bet — meaning targeting a 2013-2016 window.

Another way to go about that would be to look at song from EA Sports' NHL video games from before the core players' own journeys in the league began. We are now in an age where a huge percentage of professional athletes grew up playing video games associated with the leagues they now participate in.

Fittingly, a number of current NHL goal songs were prominent features on NHL game soundtracks like the Boston Bruins' "KernKraft 400" (2013) and the Arizona Coyotes "Howlin for You" (2011).

Some unclaimed songs that could fit into the approximate timeframe would be Nickelback's "Burn it to the Ground" (2010) and Wolfmother's "Joker and the Thief" from the 2014 game.

An outside-the-box idea

Part of what initially appealed about going with Hall and Oates is that it was dissimilar from the other songs from around the NHL.

If the Maple Leafs wanted to zig where others were zagging, one idea that might be worth a shot would be to go with a Neal Pert drum solo as opposed to a full song.

The legendary Rush drummer from Hamilton, Ontario has a massive catalog of high-energy solos that could undoubtedly keep the energy at Scotiabank Arena high — and it would be a unique concept honouring a local musical icon.

It's probably a bit too niche to be explored seriously, but there's no reason a goal song has to be a song at all.