Jan 22, 2006

Lament for the hockey organ

Here's a great audio commentary on the hockey organ from NHL broadcaster Mike Emrick.

Jan 14, 2006

Chicago Blackhawks and their pipe organ

From Tim Panaccio's blog:

When Chicago Stadium closed after the spring of 1994, Frank Pellico, the guy who played the world’s largest pipe organ, was mostly beside himself.

“It was just so large with a six keyboards and 800 switches, we didn’t know what to do with it and we couldn’t take it out of one building into another,” Pellico told me Wednesday night at United Center.

So Pellico, who is now 65, met with club owner Bill Wirtz. “I said, ‘Mr. Wirtz, what do you want me to do? Do you want one of these fancy new organs that sound a lot different or do you want me to find something close to what we had at Chicago Stadium?’”

Wirtz pointed to an old black and white photo that hung in the organist booth at Chicago Stadium. It showed longtime organist Al Melgard at the “Mighty Chicago Stadium Organ, the World’s Largest Pipe Organ.”

“I want something like that,” Wirtz said, pointing to the picture. So, Pellico traveled to Macungie, Pennsylvania (near Allentown) to visit the folks at Allen Organ Company, who build monster church organs. They designed a special organ in Blackhawk colors that had electronically recorded sound from original pipe organs so that every key, every note sounds like the real thing even if it isn’t.

It cost Wirtz $150 grand.


Pellico, who learned his craft from Melgard and late succeeded him following his death, has been doing this 13 years, including the final three season at old Chicago Stadium.

Read the entire post...

Mark Messier's #11 retired

What a show the New York Rangers put on for the retirement of Mark Messier's #11 on Thursday night. The ceremony lasted 75 minutes, and included:

  • Messier makes a great entrance -- walking down a hallway behind-the-scenes, high-fiving members of the current Rangers team before walking onto the ice to a huge ovation.
  • Hosted by John Davidson, from a podium at centre ice.
  • An emotional tribute video with highlights from his career.
  • 19 members of the 1994 Stanley Cup team were on hand, along with coach Mike Keenan and GM Neil Smith. Teammate Adam Graves gave a speech.
  • Three other Rangers with retired jerseys were on the ice -- Ed Giacomin, Rod Gilbert and Mike Richter.
  • Gift presentations, including a fishing chair from his former teammates.
  • An speech from Messier.
  • The Stanley Cup, which Messier lifted above his head.
  • A live musical performance by Dana Reeve, wife of Christopher Reeve.
  • ...and finally, raising #11 to the rafters, as Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" was played.

The New York Rangers have set a new bar for jersey retirements. What an incredible night for Messier -- and for New York Rangers fans.

For a recap of the ceremony (including videos), check out the Rangers web site: GARDEN ROCKS AS NO. 11 GOES UP TO THE RAFTERS

Jan 9, 2006

Goal horns

Our site gets lots of referrals from people searching for goal horns, probably because of this post about goal horns from a few months back.

A couple more links:

  • Something Hockey Is Actually Good For: Goal Horns
  • Flyers install new goal horns
    "The Philadelphia Flyers have installed two S-203C air horns, primarily used as navigational signals on the largest ocean-bound ships, to enhance goal celebrations to record-breaking levels inside the Wachovia Center. Once triggered, the sound pressure level will exceed 140dB, producing a powerful, low frequency blast, reminiscent of a cruise ship."

Jan 8, 2006

Washington Capitals "Fantastic Four" video & more

We came across some great videos on the Washington Capitals web site:

Johnstown Chiefs mascot burned during stunt

From the Ottawa Sun / AP:

A man who plays the role of Puckhead, the unofficial mascot of the ECHL's Johnstown Chiefs, was burned when his fake beard and jersey ignited during a fire-breathing stunt that went awry.

John Robertson, who has played the role for several years, was entertaining the crowd before the start of a game Friday night against the Reading Royals when he was injured, Chiefs GM Toby O'Brien said.

According to witnesses, Robertson poured the flammable liquid into his mouth and tried to light it, but it didn't work. When he tried a second time, Robertson's fake beard and jersey caught fire. An arena employee rushed out to help Robertson pull off his jersey as Robertson tore off the beard.

Read the article...