The Canucks have ditched the organ at Rogers Arena

Mar 18 2022, 6:08 pm

I got a text message on Wednesday night.

“The Canucks fired Mikey, the organ player,” it read.

The text referred to Mike Kenney, the longtime organist featured during Vancouver Canucks games at Rogers Arena. Kenney, who has been heard at Canucks games in Vancouver for 22 years, hasn’t played at recent home games.

He hasn’t been replaced; rather, the team has appeared to ditch having organ music at all.

A source confirmed to Daily Hive Thursday evening that Kenney has not technically been fired, but the Canucks are merely trying other things.

There isn’t actually an organ at Rogers Arena. The organ sounds you hear come from a keyboard in the 500 level of the stadium, as you can see from this behind-the-scenes video in 2013:

The move to silence the organist is a departure from longstanding hockey tradition. Historically, the organist used to be responsible for all the music heard at hockey games, though that job has been largely replaced by arena DJs playing pre-recorded music.

The Canucks have had a mix of both for decades.

We don’t hear “The Hockey Song” by Stompin’ Tom Connors at Canucks games anymore, and we haven’t for a long time. It’s a song that used to be a staple at Canucks home games, but in recent years, there was a directive from above not to play it.

“Sweet Caroline,” a Boston favourite, is somehow allowed to continue.

In recent years, the Canucks have tried to pick up tips from the Vegas Golden Knights — Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini is apparently a fan of their game presentation.

That’s a hard act to emulate, though.

Vegas is one of just six NHL teams (seven, if you count Vancouver) that don’t have an organist playing during games. The Edmonton Oilers are the only other team in Canada that has moved away from the organ, joining the Philadelphia Flyers, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Arizona Coyotes.

Conversely, the expansion of Seattle Kraken saw value in the tradition, hiring an organist for their games at Climate Pledge Arena. And then there’s beloved Bell Centre organist Diane Bibaud, who gets celebrity treatment by the Montreal Canadiens.

Time will tell if this is a forward-thinking move by the Canucks away from an outdated instrument or a form of hockey sacrilege in a Canadian market.

Rob WilliamsRob Williams

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