The Wheeling Nailers are celebrating their 25th season with some looks back on highlights from over the years. One of the more interesting once has less to do with the team on the ice and more about the organist above it.
Then the Wheeling Thunderbirds, they gave up a goal to the Raleigh Ice Caps that appeared to have been kicked in. The refs didn’t see the “distinct kicking motion” and allowed the goal to stand, giving Raleigh a 4-3 lead.
The Thunderbirds and fans voiced their frustrations, but none as strongly as organist Dan Wheeler, who struck up “Three Blind Mice” on the arena’s sound system.
Not fond of that song choice, the officials gave him the boot.
This isn’t the only time “Three Blind Mice” has caused an ejection. The following year, again in Wheeling, the organist was tossed.
After the second period, referee Terry Koharski ejected the Wheeling Civic Center organist for repeatedly playing “Three Blind Mice” after any Wheeling penalty or Hampton Roads goal. His departure did not have a palpable effect on the game but made for a comical moment when it was announced that the team’s mascot had no music to dance to between periods due to “technical difficulties.”
Chicago Stadium organist Al Megard used to play “Three Blind Mice” as the NHL referees and linesmen took the ice. NHL president Clarence Campbell stepped in and put a stop to the practice in 1958, claiming “it was bad for the morale of the referee and linesmen.”
In Pittsburgh, Penguins organist Vince Lascheid also ended up in hot water with the National Hockey League for his song selection.
The NHL took offense to Lascheid playing “Three Blind Mice” and ordered him to quit, but he still sneaked it in every once in a while “just to see what would happen.”Once, referee Paul Stewart called the press box to complain.