The New York Rangers organization did not only send their players to Sochi to be a part of the Olympics — they also sent one of the biggest parts of the games at Madison Square Garden: their organist. While the Rangers’ packed their equipment for Sochi, Ray Castoldi, who plays the organ at Madison Square Garden, packed his keyboard.
Castoldi has been playing the organ since 1991 for Rangers games at Madison Square Garden and wrote the song “Slapshot”, the popular song heard at all home games when the Rangers score a goal. He is in Russia to play the organ at men’s hockey games during the Olympics. He is one of two NHL organists, along with Dieter Ruehle of the Los Angeles Kings, who was given the extreme honor of joining with many NHL players in Sochi, taking an active part in the Olympic Games.
Castoldi will play the keyboard and DJ for all the men’s games during the 12-day tournament in Sochi. Some of the songs will be the same as those he performs at Madison Square Garden, including “Hava Nagila” and the chicken dance, both of which are on the International Olympic Committee’s officially approved playlist. However, he also says that he will choose additional songs catered to the new environment in Russia.
With that being said, he will have to try to restrain himself and not play his own song “Slapshot” when a Ranger Olympian scores. Also, any songs that seem to favor one of the competing teams — such as “O Canada” or “God Bless America.” – will be prohibited by the Olympic Committee. The only time he would get to play the American National Anthem is if the U.S. wins the gold medal.
While the Olympics will not be like games at Madison Square Garden, it will be a special moment of Castoldi gets to play music during an American gold medal victory.