Research for this was dicey, not a wealth of information on the subject, so any suggestions or corrections would be greatly appreciated.
For decades each NHL team, and teams in other leagues, have had unique horns blasted in their hockey arenas every time the home team scores. This tradition was started in January of 1983 by the Chicago Blackhawks. A horn was installed by Kahlenburg Marine Horns at the Old Arena, moved later to the United Center. Now all 30 NHL teams have one, most of which are train horns, possibly by Airchime or Leslie. Their purpose is to simply loudly announce that a goal has been scored to rile up the fans and electrify the building, maybe even intimidate the visitors a little. Dead silence or boos usually follow a visitor's goal, of course because they are not cause for celebration. Goal horns are most often blared twice or three times, unless, as is the case with some venues, it is one long blaring.
Although sometimes the choice of sound seems arbitrary, many of the goal horns are appropriate for the team in some way. Detroit's sounds like car horns since the city is famous for automobile manufacturing. Anaheim's sounds like the horn of a ship out at sea since the city is in close proximity to the ocean on the west coast. St. Louis' sounds like the horn of a steam riverboat since the region has a rich history of them chugging up and down the nearby Mississippi River. Goal horns are often accompanied by songs or organ music of some kind, like "Zombie Nation" like with the Atlanta Thrashers or New Jersey Devils, or "When the Saints Come Marching In" for the St. Louis Blues.
Below is a list of all the goal horns used by the 30 NHL teams, including the aforementioned. The songs played after the horns usually will not be listed unless it is special to the team in some way, as they vary wildly if the goal is the first, second, or third, etc. and they tend to change often.
- Anaheim Ducks - Honda Center - It sounds like the foghorn of an ocean liner or somesuch similar aquatic vessel out to sea.
- Atlanta Thrashers - Philips Arena - It's a freight train horn and it is supposedly the longest horn in the league, around 15 seconds. Actually that's the first horn. It is followed by a short horn for every goal that has been scored (i.e. if it's the third goal of the game, three short horns).
- Buffalo Sabres - HSBC Arena - Another freight train horn - sounds like more than one, actually.
- Calgary Flames - Pengrowth Saddledome - Yet another freight train horn, but what makes this different than Buffalo and Atlanta's is this has a higher pitch.
- Carolina Hurricanes - RBC Center - This sounds like a combination of a freight train horn and a ship horn, blaring side-by-side.
- Chicago Blackhawks - United Center - It's several Marine horns blaring together.
- Colorado Avalanche - Pepsi Center - This sounds like a ship horn, which is odd because the mountain city of Denver, where the Avs play, is nowhere near the sea.
- Columbus Blue Jackets - Nationwide Arena - This sounds like a riverboat horn, very similar to another team's horn, and since that one came first, it makes this one a copycat.
- Dallas Stars - American Airlines Center - Like the Sabres, it sounds like several freight train horns together.
- Detroit Red Wings - Joe Louis Arena - This sounds like a fleet of car horns, or actually this could be another freight train, but I like to think they're car horns given the auto industry tradition in Detroit.
- Edmonton Oilers - Rexall Place - Yet another freight train horn, but of a higher pitch, even higher than Calgary's.
- Florida Panthers - BankAtlantic Centre - And another freight train horn, like Atlanta's.
- Los Angeles Kings - Staples Center - This is a train horn, but sounds more like maybe a passenger train than a freight train.
- Minnesota Wild - Xcel Energy Center - Yet another freight train horn, but sounds like several, like Buffalo or Dallas.
- Montreal Canadiens - Bell Centre - This is a train whistle, like from an old steam engine, appopriate for an Original Six team with an old and storied tradition.
- Nashville Predators - Sommet Center - A long blaring of a group of freight train horns followed often by a country music song.
- New Jersey Devils - Prudential Center - This is another ship horn, although it sounds like there could be freight train horn mixed in.
- New York Islanders - Nassau Coliseum - Yet another freight train horn.
- New York Rangers - Madison Square Garden - A higher-pitched freight train horn, unlike any of the others in subtle ways.
- Ottawa Senators - Scotiabank Place - Several short, high-pitched freight train horns in rapid succession. They actually play a different song after each one depending on which player scored.
- Philadelphia Flyers - Wachovia Center - This one sounds like several ship horns firing together.
- Phoenix Coyotes - Jobing.com Arena - And... guess what? Yes, it's an other freight train horn.
- Pittsburgh Penguins - Mellon Arena - Another train horn, one of the higher-pitched ones, unique in subtle ways from the others.
- San Jose Sharks - HP Pavilion at San Jose/Shark Tank - A foghorn similar to Anaheim's, but not as deep in pitch.
- St. Louis Blues - Scottrade Center - A riverboat horn, similar to those that might have inspired Samual Clemmons, chugging down the mighty Mississippi in the 1800's.
- Tampa Bay Lightning - St. Pete Times Forum - A riverboat horn, almost identical to St. Louis'; a copycat like Columbus since the team has only been around since the early 90's.
- Toronto Maple Leafs - Air Canada Centre - Another boat horn, again almost identical to St. Louis' and Tampa's.
- Vancouver Canucks - General Motors Place - And we're back to freight train horns, followed by an air raid siren during the goal song.
- Washington Capitals - Verizon Center - And finally, another freight train horn but with an air raid siren right along with it.