One of several pop-punk bands obsessed with all things related to hockey -- the Hanson Brothers, a spin-off of Canada's Nomeansno puckishly (sorry) named after one of the sport's foremost dynasties, are the other well-known example -- the Zambonis have a tongue-in-cheek approach to the sport that borders on irreverence, but it's clear that this Connecticut-based quartet takes its hockey extremely serious indeed. Therefore, any listener who doesn't get the joke in a song title like "Bob Marley and the Hartford Whalers" probably won't have much use for them.
The Zambonis (the name comes from the machine used to smooth the ice between periods of a hockey game; the band's website proudly notes that they have specific permission from Frank J. Zamboni and Company to use the trademark) formed in suburban Fairfield County, CT, in 1992. Singer/guitarist Dave Schneider, guitarist Jon Aley (who also plays what the group proudly refers to as "cheesy hockey rink organ"), bassist Peter Katis, and his drummer brother Tarquin Katis were die-hard hockey fans who started the band expressly to celebrate their mutual obsession in song. After gigging around Connecticut for a few years developing an audience among their fellow hockey obsessives, the Zambonis released 1996's 100% Hockey...and Other Stuff, which featured "Avalanche," a song of praise for the new Stanley Cup winners the Colorado Avalanche that got a ton of airplay in the hockey world and eventually was adopted as the team's official anthem.
The following year saw the release of Play-Off Fever!, featuring the hardcore thrash of "Lost My Teeth" and the tongue-in-cheek "CCM PSA (The Helmet Song)," a cautionary tale directed toward helmetless player Craig McTavish. Several songs from this EP eventually appeared on 1999's full-length More Songs About Hockey...and Buildings and Food, which also featured the hilarious morality play "Johnny Got Suspended." In 2000, the band self-released a limited-edition CD, To Bleed Black and Gold, in honor of their beloved Boston Bruins. ~ Stewart Mason