Local musicians have become a fixture of Growlers game night thanks to the innovative live performance experience on The Battery Stage
Few things are as synonymous with sports as music. That may seem like a reach, but hear me out. Think of your live-sport experience. I’ll bet you the sounds from entrance to exit enhance that event ten fold. No more is that the case than with the good ol’ hockey game. That’s true for the song, and the sport.
You have goal celebrations met with your favourite rock anthem. There’s the intense build to puck drop with familiar soundtracks that create a buzz that’s hard to replicate. And yes, there’s the Zamboni Song.
Music is as much a part of the game of hockey as arena fries or your favourite team jersey. The Newfoundland Growlers franchise has taken that idea, combined with a touch of local colour, and repackaged it for an in-game experience like no other.
The Battery Stage, a new initiative by the organization that has seen talented local musicians of all genres entertain Growlers faithful during pre-game and intermissions, has been warmly received as a daring and entertaining new innovation by the first year ECHL franchise.
“The goal from the outset with the Newfoundland Growlers was to be a big part of our community. From sport, to charitable giving to being a mirror to the place we love. And what could be more reflective of who we are than our rich musical talent,” explains Growlers owner Dean MacDonald.
“Our ownership is really big into the arts and is an enormous fan of music and we were looking to do something different than previous teams have done in regards to intermissions and in game entertainment so it seemed like a perfect fit,” seconds Senior Manager of Game Presentation for the Growlers Colin Fardy.
From decorated rock group Waterfront Fire, to Rock the Block winners The Norm, and local legend Damian Follett, The Battery Stage has hosted a who’s who of established and rising local artists since its debut this past fall.
“What I love about it is it combines my two favourite things; hockey and music,” shares Beauwater vocalist Jonathon Reid, who was among the first artists contacted to perform on The Battery Stage.
“Most hockey fans love hearing upbeat rock and pop music to get them into the game, so being able to provide that in an electric sporting event atmosphere is not only great exposure for our band, but an experience in itself.”
Seasoned singer-songwriter Dave Whitty has performed in front of audiences in pubs, cruises and gigs across the globe. Having the chance to perform before thousands of enthusiastic fans has been a career highlight, not to mention a fantastic method of exposure, he shares.
“It makes local musicians feel like we mean something to our community,” says Whitty. “The fact that the Growlers organization reach out to local musicians and bands to perform is truly amazing. I know personally from one performance at the Growlers game I gained many new fans, and had a great time performing for the audience and especially the kids. If the kids are having a good time, then everyone is having a good time and thats what it’s all about.”
“Hockey and Canada go hand in hand there’s no doubt and certainly in Newfoundland the passion for the game is obvious!,” explains Richard Parsons of Irish Newfoundland band The Reels, who performed at The Battery in January. “From the Senior hockey days and now the Growlers, people just really love the intensity and ruggedness of the game.”
Lively local rockers Hot X Proxy, with their energetic set and on stage theatrics, seem tailor-made for game night. All hands being lifelong hockey fans, the experience of performing in front of a hometown arena was can’t miss for the raucous rockers.
“Newfoundlanders live for their music and their hockey and those are both things worth cheering for and stirring a pot over,” says guitarist Christopher Matthew.
“Any good Newfoundlander loves to tell a story and what can get anyone more enthusiastic than talking about their overtime goal in the big tourney,” adds frontman Lucas Coady. “It’s the lore, the glory, and the bonds made because this it.”
With praise and positive reviews from both performers and fans, music at The Battery Stage is something Growlers fans can expect on game night moving forward, just one more in a series of maneuvers to present fans with the best game experience possible.
“Between the music, the new lighting we’ve added in and some plans we have to add other elements to the game presentation, I think we can take what is already a very solid presentation to the next level,” shares Fardy. “And we can provide a very worthwhile experience to the fans that pay their hard earned money to come and not only watch the Growlers play, but to experience everything else we as a team and Mile One have to offer.”