The sound of victory: The tunes that get cranked up in winning locker rooms

Boston College players turned the locker room into a dance floor when the music went up after winning the 2012 national championship in Tampa (photo: Melissa Wade).

Put yourself in my shoes for a moment.

Five or six minutes have passed since a hockey game ended, and here you are, media credential attached to a lanyard around your neck, standing in the hallway outside the dressing room of one of the teams as you wait to conduct postgame interviews with coaches and players.

You’re set to speak with personnel from the winning team, but there’s the generally agreed-upon 10-minute cooling-off period to endure first. We’re up to seven or eight now, and all of a sudden, rumbling right through the bricks and mortar dividing you from the victors, you hear music.

It’s what’s known as a team’s win song, and it’s not often you’ll find two teams blaring the same one in the same season.

Out with the old and in with the new …

They change each year, in fact, no matter what. Even if a team goes undefeated and untied, as Minnesota’s women’s team did in its 2012-13 campaign en route to winning the Gophers’ fifth national championship, a new win song is introduced ahead of the following season.

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Listen to the songs referenced in this story here:

“We pick a new song for each year, so even though we’d gone undefeated with the old one, we decided to retire it with that season,” Minnesota women’s team senior forward Kelly Terry said.

“We always pick a new song for the beginning of each season, and our whole team comes together with their picks. We play them all and eventually vote it down to one before the season even starts.”

One couldn’t have blamed the Gophers women for carrying last season’s victory anthem over into 2013-14, though.

Minnesota went 41-0 with Karmin’s “Brokenhearted” last season. After defeating Boston University in the NCAA tournament final at home in Minneapolis, the Gophers celebrated by dancing over the national championship trophy on the ice to the Boston pop duo’s then-recent hit playing over the Ridder Arena PA system.

Minnesota’s women’s team wasn’t the only bunch in college hockey that’s picked a newer track as its victory anthem, though.

St. Cloud State’s men’s team last season used Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” (2012) as the Huskies’ 2012-13 win song all the way to a national semifinal game appearance.

Staying in Minnesota, Avril Lavigne’s “What the Hell” (2011) has been heard coming from inside the Gophers men’s team’s dressing room at Mariucci Arena after wins this season.

When told of the men’s team’s choice, Terry sounded surprised.

“Actually, no, I didn’t even realize they had a win song,” Terry said, laughing. “That’s kind of news to me, although I thought they’d pick something a little more manly than that, but whatever floats their boat.”

No Division I men’s team has won more this season than Boston College, and after the Eagles win their song of choice is 2013’s “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon.

The 2013-14 men’s teams at Alaska-Anchorage, Denver and North Dakota all blare in their dressing rooms after wins “Timber” by Pitbull and Ke$ha, a single released in October of last year, coincidentally but also almost perfectly timed for this hockey season.

North Dakota’s men’s team actually has two. UND’s seniors had originally chosen “Good Vibrations,” a 1991 release from Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. However, as senior defenseman Dillon Simpson said, “Timber” was introduced as the team’s primary win song after the first submission got overruled.

“Going into the year, we kind of all decided on one, and there’s not really a problem with it as we still play it after games,” Simpson said. “But another song came up that I thought fit a little bit better, so now we’ve gone with that and then followed by the old one.

“It’s something you just kind of get a feel for as a team. We actually tried a couple of them before the season started to see what the guys like and what they don’t like, so it’s a team thing more than anything you come up with on your own where it’s just one guy picking it.”

… although it’s not always that new …

“Good Vibrations” blasting over the UND’s men’s team’s dressing room speakers isn’t the only example of older songs getting played in such environs.

Moreover, it’s not even the only older one UND’s men’s program has used.

In the 2010-11 season, UND made use of English R&B artist Mark Morrison’s 1996 hit “Return of the Mack” while racking up 32 wins that season and eventually appearing in the Frozen Four.

Some teams, like this season’s Gophers women, go back even further to the point where they pick a song that came out before anyone on the team was born.

Their choice? Whitney Houston’s 1987 hit “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).”

“This is actually one of our better ones,” Terry said.

“I think the one we had in my junior year with the undefeated season happened to be the worst win song of the four, but obviously we made it special to us and fun, but as far as Whitney goes, that’s one of the better ones, I’d say.

“Last season was a little bit more of a recent song, and that was just because we kind of ran out of time in picking one, but what we usually try to go for is to try and pick a song that you aren’t going to normally come across.”

Just as important, though, is the potential for camaraderie-building. Apparently, this sense of bonding makes itself evident in the Gophers women’s dressing room in a particularly kinetic fashion.

“The rule is they’re all generally oldies that are easy to belt out and sing along to with some dance moves,” Terry said. “So that’s what we go with.”

… but it always has special meaning

Teams’ coaching staffs obviously have plenty of say in terms of many aspects of what goes on inside their hockey program. Win songs, however, are at least one thing on which coaches take a hands-off approach and leave to their charges.

“I think [our coaches] kind of just leave it up to us and leave it alone.” North Dakota’s Simpson said.

“As far as after games goes, they come in and quickly give their two cents on the game and head out of the dressing room for a while, so [the song is] something where they just let it be our thing for the boys.”

Minnesota’s women’s team might have quirky criteria for its win songs relative to how North Dakota’s men decide on them. However, one thing the two teams’ selection processes have in common is that whichever songs get chosen will mean something special to the players suiting up and hitting the ice not only for their schools but also each other.

“Our freshmen, when they brought their suggestions forward, we [as seniors] kind of shut them down right away because they picked the newest and most popular songs of this time and we told them, ‘No, no, no,'” Terry said. “It’s definitely better when you have something that’s totally throwback and way more special and associated with our team rather than other things that are happening.

“We don’t want it to be something you’re going to hear every day. We want it to be something you’re going to hear only in our locker room and only after a win.”