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Rochester indie band Joywave is reaching hockey fans with a new version of a classic ESPN theme

joywave members crop
Evyn Morgan
Photo provided
Joseph Morinelli, Daniel Armbruster and Paul Brenner of Joywave.

Rochester’s Joywave is safely at home now after ducking COVID-19, not always successfully, and spreading their indie-rock electronic sound around the country. But that doesn’t mean they’re staying quiet. The band’s music can be heard now during the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs, playing behind the promo video assembled by the sports network ESPN.

“They know that we’re hockey fans,” Daniel Armbruster says, “so they asked us to do a version of the ‘NHL on ESPN’ theme song.”

Not exactly a snappy title -- “The lawyers named that one” -- Armbruster says, but “NHL on ESPN” is a labor of love for the band: Lead singer Armbruster, guitarist Joseph Morinelli and drummer Paul Brenner are all into hockey.

The opportunity came through a relationship Joywave has had with ESPN since 2014, and its collaborations with the skate-driven X Games.

“I’ve been a hockey fan since I was a kid, so that song brings back some childhood memories for me,” Armbruster says.

Armbruster appeared on the NHL Network’s “NHL Tonight” in 2017 to talk about his love of hockey.

ESPN had actually asked for a remix of the already existing theme, which it has used since the 1990s. But there was a slight miscommunication -- the network didn’t send the cut to Joywave until the band had already started recording a straight-up cover version.

“It’s already perfect,” Armbruster says of the ESPN original. “It already screamed hockey.”

Joywave’s version screams a little Alan Parsons Project. That ’80s techno-rock band has a song called “Sirius,” which is used at Chicago Bulls National Basketball Association games, as well as the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans.

“We tried to bring a little bit of that into our version,” Armbruster says.

The band will be hitting the road again this fall, probably after releasing a live album recorded during the just-completed “Cleanse” tour.

“We’re trying to take a moment to breathe,” Armbruster says, “before we gear back up for the fall.”