The arena is filled with screaming fans.  Everyone is on their feet.  The intensity has reached its peak.  And then it happens:

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your….. [insert team name here]”

The team strides on the ice to the roar of the crowd.  The player start to circle their own zone.  The goaltenders warm up.  The music is blaring.  The fans are cheering.

Welcome to a National Hockey League game.

In this day and age of cookie cutter arenas and bland, generic jersey design, most NHL teams still make their entrance to the ice a unique experience.  Some teams enter to a specific song.  Others project a video on the ice surface.  Some teams go the extra mile and bring in props that represent the team.  The Los Angeles Kings step out of a castle.  The San Jose Sharks escape from a menacing shark’s mouth.  The Edmonton Oilers skate in under an oil rig.

Some may call these “gimmicks” or classify them as “cheesy,” but they’re definitely unique and they add local flavour to the team.

And during the playoffs many teams step up their production values.  The Detroit Red Wings’ giant octopus comes to mind here.  Of course, these playoff-specific introductions don’t always work out as planned:

At least they tried.

Here are some of our favourite NHL team introductions:

The Montreal Canadiens 2010 Playoffs:
The children representing Habs’ legends, the torch and the fire effects that seem to spread throughout the arena makes the Canadiens’ entrance to the ice something special.

Dallas Stars 2010:
The giant star, the theme that chants “DALLAS!” “STARS!” and the large number of fighting clips in the video put it on the list.

Edmonton Oilers 2006 Stanley Cup Final:
The crowd made this special more than anything else, but the oil rig is pretty great too.

Florida Panthers 2009:
We’re willing to overlook the empty seats and overall state of the Florida Panthers franchise because they have a cat descend from the ceiling to a Beastie Boys’ song.

New Jersey Devils 2008:
Did Satan just get off of the subway in Newark? Yes. Yes he did.

San Jose Sharks:
It’s a giant shark head. How is that not amazing?

What are your favourite intros?