Music in NHL locker-rooms a balancing act

Rookies don’t get a shot at the speakers

Music in NHL locker-rooms a balancing act

Michael Del Zotto realized he needed a hobby.

One of the only single players on the Philadelphia Flyers a couple of seasons ago, the defenceman would usually head home following practice, watch TV all afternoon and have dinner before returning to the couch.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to do something a little more productive with my down time,’” Del Zotto recalled.

So he got back into the saxophone — an instrument he gave up after leaving home as a teenager to play junior hockey — and bought some disc jockey turntables to mix electronic music.

“Like anything now you can go on YouTube and teach yourself,” said Del Zotto, who signed with the Vancouver Canucks this summer. ”I got to the point where I was playing music in the locker-room and making mixes for warmups.

“The boys started loving it and it just took off from there.”

With players from a wide range of backgrounds and countries, it’s not surprising musical tastes tend to vary in NHL locker-rooms. Some like country, while others prefer electronic, rock or hip hop to help get in the right frame of mind.

“When you make stuff for in the room it’s understanding what guys like or throwing in some random stuff they won’t know that they may like,” said Del Zotto. ”It’s tough when you have guys that like different genres to keep everyone happy.

“I like to personalize it a little bit.”

Despite being new to the Canucks, Del Zotto already rules the roost when it comes to music selection heading into his ninth NHL season.

“That’s his job now,” said Vancouver centre Bo Horvat. ”He swooped into that role and he’s taken it over.

“He does a good job of getting the boys going.”

Meanwhile in Winnipeg, forward Bryan Little said the gatekeepers are Jets captain Blake Wheeler and centre Mathieu Perreault.

There’s only one real rule — rookies need not apply for the job of team DJ.

“It kind of goes a bit by seniority,” said Little. ”We don’t want the young guys getting their hands on it or we might be listening to ‘High School Musical’ soundtracks.”

Entering his fourth season, Horvat said he knows that music remains a veteran’s domain.

“Do not touch the music,” said Horvat, 22, who led the Canucks in scoring last season. ”I’m four years in and still don’t touch the music.”

Senators captain Erik Karlsson and forward Zack Smith usually get dibs on the tunes in Ottawa.

“Zack is more an alternative rock kind of guy, some old school stuff and that’s more the stuff I like,” said winger Bobby Ryan. “I’ve heard a lot of (Karlsson’s) Swedish music … and there’s only four guys who can relate to it.”

Maple Leafs defenceman Connor Carrick said fellow blue liner Jake Gardiner and centre Nazem Kadri are the music maestros in Toronto.

“Gards, usually he’s the morning (guy), a little more country, a little more laid back,” said Carrick. ”Naz will pick it up for the afternoon.

“The beats per minute on his songs are a little higher, so it gets you going pre-game.”

Del Zotto said age and where players are from often has a big impact on what they want to hear.

“In New York, (former Rangers forward) Brad Richards used to like his old school rock,” he said. ”In Philly, (Jakub) Voracek loved AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen.

“I don’t know how that gets him pumped up. The odd time he’d toss some of that on, and I know for sure I wasn’t the only guy complaining.”

While most NHLers might playfully argue over music, Del Zotto has a unique perspective. He performs his own shows in the off-season and has gotten to know a number of big-name DJs, including Dutch superstar Tiesto.

“I’ve been able to watch them in the studio, watch them perform live and learn a little bit,” said Del Zotto. ”It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing.”

“I went to his apartment a couple days after he got to Vancouver,” added Canucks forward Jake Virtanen. ”He was spinning with his DJ set for me and (defenceman Ben Hutton) for a solid hour.

“It was cool for me to see how he did it.”

But veteran Vancouver winger Daniel Sedin is less enthused about Del Zotto’s musical tastes.

“I hope it’s not him because it’s been pretty horrible,” the 37-year-old joked. “(Hutton) was doing it last year for a bit, but it didn’t really work out so he’s fired.”

A country fan, Canucks forward Brandon Sutter said he doesn’t mind electronic music for pre-game, adding that he respects Del Zotto for putting himself out there.

“The younger guys seem to love it,” said Sutter. “If you don’t have the (guts) to put the music on yourself, you can’t make fun of the person who does.”

— With files from Neil Davidson in Toronto, Judy Owen in Winnipeg and Lisa Wallace in Ottawa

—-

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

vancouver canucks

Just Posted

BC Ferries issued a reminder on May 17 that there will be no additional sailings over the Victoria Day weekend and that travel is limited to essential reasons only. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
No additional holiday weekend sailings

BC Ferries reminds travellers health orders are in place for essential travel only

Reverend Paul Williams of St. Andrews Cathedral Church stands next to the metal cross showing the enormity of the fabricated piece by a parishioner and stored away for over ten years. The goal is to have the cross mounted to the roof of the sanctuary so it can welcome those entering the harbour. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
A cross to bear for the roof of St. Andrews Cathedral Church

A fabricated metal cross made by a parishioner is seeing the light of day after 15 years in storage

Kristy Maier, Prince Rupert mom, SD 52 trustee, basketball treasurer, district PAC liaison said it is important to teach children to be part of the community. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Heart of the City – Kristy Maier

Coming back to her ‘people’ Kristy Maier now teaches little people how to be a community

It doesn’t matter where or how you received a COVID-19 vaccination, to receive the second immunization everyone must register on the ‘Get Vaccinated’ system health officials said, on May 11. While numbers are down Prince Rupert has not yet ‘zero’ cases as of numbers reported for May 2nd to 8th. (Image: BCCDC)
Prince Rupert still not at ‘zero’ COVID-19 cases

For second immunizations everyone in Prince Rupert and region must register, health officials said

Food programs such as the BC Fruit and Veggies program are important to student learning and students would be at a loss without them, Jeremy Janz principal of Pacific Coast School said, on May 13. Full tummies are the best way to start the day for Prince Rupert students, Natalia White (11) and Nikisha Johnson (12) who attended the official launch of the Breakfast Club of Canada program at PRMS on Feb. 25, 2020. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
UPDATED: School fruits and veggies may be cut, said BC Liberals — Not so said Premier’s office

P.R. students healthy food knowledge grew from the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional program

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Most Read