Five Reasons The Zambonis Love Hockey

Sean Leahy

"5 Reasons I Love Hockey"features puckheads from all walks of life revealing five things that either made them a fan or that keep them watching hockey. It will run every weekday through August. Enjoy.

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The Zambonis have been rockin' about hockey since 1991 and their popularity has skyrocketed over the years. As the most popular sports-rock band in North America, we're proud to offer each members input.

So here are 5 Reasons The Zambonis Love Hockey:

Dave Schneider (Goalie/Guitar)

In 1975, I was 9 years old. Other than my main concerns in life like will Evel Knievel jump the Snake River Canyon and should I make the move from my banana-seat Schwinn to a 10-speed, the highlight of my week was hockey. My dad would pile me and my two older brothers into a Lincoln Continental four-door Town Car (with opera windows!) that was four times longer than Zdeno Chara's(notes) wing span. We would drive 30 minutes to New Haven, Connecticut to see the American Hockey League's New Haven Nighthawks. At the time, they were the farm team for the always-cool Minnesota North Stars.

Those games taught me what hockey was all about: speed, passion, violence, finesse, grace, teamwork and sadly, French fries that tasted like a combo of crap and wet cardboard. The players that were superstars in my eyes were Chris Ahrens, Tom Colley, and Billy Plager. I knew every player on the roster back then. It's the last time I remember actually hanging my program over the boards during warm-ups to try to get an autograph. Luckily, those games paved the way for my love of what I believe to be the greatest game on earth. Good thing I have my memories of ye olde New Haven Coliseum, because it's gone up in smoke.

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Mat Orefice (Drummer/Goon)

One word ('kay, two): Keith Magnuson. This picture struck me and never left. I was nine with a fresh subscription to Sports Illustrated. After seeing this cover I fully believed Alfred E. Neuman played for the Blackhawks (as you can guess, I also loved MAD magazine). So I became a Blackhawks fan and a hockey fan. The games weren't shown on network TV then, so I had to worship from afar, in ways that seem prehistoric by today's standards: checking newspapers sports scores, watching the news, or seeing if the Rangers faced off against Chicago. Fandom starts in strange ways.

Tarquin Katis (Left Wing/Bassist)

GREEN COOPERALLS, THE ZAMBONI MACHINE & KOVALEV!

Jon Aley (Guitar/Statistician)

The classy/smart arenas play great music at the games. Go to a Bruins game, you'll hear The Clash, The Cars, Johnny Cash and Dropkick Murphys and the Hives are a fave at Madison Square Garden. And, while I've only heard it on TV, The Joe in Detroit seems to have the best playlist anywhere. I once heard them play the hometown Stooges' "Search and Destroy" over the PA. Of course, the really cool arenas play the only ALL-HOCKEY BAND IN THE WORLD, THE ZAMBONIS!

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Hockey Monkey (Mascot/Dancing Expert)

Growing up in the jungle I couldn't get a decent cable package, so I never got to watch much sports, apart from fishing and spear throwing. So when I met a group of Canadian backpackers, eh, and they told me there was a game you played with big sticks where you could punch people and slam them into the boards, I knew it was the game for me. My all time favorite player was the former Buffalo Sabre - Christian Ruuttu.