The 8 Best National Anthem Singers in Hockey
Nothing gets a fan's juices flowing more than the national anthem prior to a Stanley Cup playoff game. Whether it's "O Canada" or "The Star-Spangled Banner," an anthem singer can really get the crowd into the game prior to its start.
The boisterous crowd can then energize the home team to a quick first-period start, which can change the game.
Many teams designate a single person to sing their anthems throughout most regular-season games and all playoff games. Here are the seven best anthem singers in the NHL.
8. Jim Cornelison
Jim Cornelison has sung the national anthem for the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears and, most notably, the Chicago Blackhawks. He's been singing full time for the Blackhawks since 2007. People think that Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are the reason why the Blackhawks' fortunes turned around. However, it's most definitely because of Jim Cornelison.
Cornelison's amazing tenor voice causes Blackhawk nation to break out in cheers throughout "The Star-Spangled Banner." Cornelison's signature move is to point at the American flag when he sings the line "that our flag was still there."
Cornelison, despite singing for the Blackhawks, probably had his most rousing performance with the Bears during the NFL playoffs this past season. With the Chicago snow blowing in his face, Cornelison powered through the anthem and brought the house down.
7. Detroit Red Wings: Karen Newman
Karen Newman is famous for coming onto the ice during most Detroit Red Wing home games and giving her powerful rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Because of this, she's not only big on the ice, she's also big all over Detroit. She's a local celebrity and has released four albums.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins: Jeff Jimerson
Jeff Jimerson, the Pittsburgh native, has become a cult hero amongst Penguin fans. His soft, mellow voice soothes our aural canals before every Penguins home game. His rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" has a few nuances that make it stand out over other versions.
Jimerson also sang the national anthem in the 1995 movie Sudden Death, starring Jean Claude Van Damme.
5. Philadelphia Flyers: Lauren Hart
Lauren Hart's father, Gene Hart, was the Philadelphia Flyers' broadcaster for 29 years. Lauren now carries on the Hart connection with the Flyers by singing the national anthem for the team during every home game.
Her greatest performance came when she sang "God Bless America" prior to Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. She sang a duet with the legendary Kate Smith, whose version was played back on the jumbo tron at the arena.
Rousing performances like these are the reason why she was voted the greatest anthem singer in NHL history in a Hockey News poll.
4. Edmonton Oilers: Paul Lorieau and Oiler Nation
Paul Lorieau spent 30 seasons as the Oilers' anthem singer. His final appearance came during the final Oilers regular-season home game this year. Not only was Lorieau the voice of the Oilers, he was also an optometrist.
The highlight of his anthem-singing career came during the 2006 Western Conference Finals. After "O Canada" was booed in Anaheim, Lorieau and Oilers fans came together and sang as one. The video says it all.
The best part might be when Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov couldn't help but smile because of how rousing the anthem was.
3. Ottawa Senators: Lyndon Slewidge
Lyndon Slewidge has been singing "O Canada" at Senators games since 1994. He's not just limited to "O Canada." Slewidge can sing 13 national anthems.
When he's not singing the national anthem for the Senators, Slewidge is serving as an Ontario Provincial police officer. He always sings the anthem in full uniform and ends it with a thumbs up. His beautiful baritone voice will guarantee goosebumps.
2. Boston Bruins: Rene Rancourt
When looking at Rene Rancourt, it's almost unbelievable that he's 72 years old. He looks very young and the energy he brings to the TD Garden before Bruins home games is even more exuberant.
Rancourt has been singing at Bruins games for 35 seasons. He first started singing the national anthem at Fenway Park for Red Sox games. He even sang the national anthem prior to Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.
After singing the national anthem, Rancourt does a fist pump, which is an homage to former Bruin Randy Burridge. He also salutes the crowd in acknowledgement of an old woman who used to watch Bruins games just to see Rancourt sing; after the anthem, she would turn off her television.
Rancourt will forever live on in Bruins lore and is a part of the fabric of Boston hockey.
1. Montreal Canadiens: Roger Doucet
"Doucet brought the house down. I mean, people would cry when he finished that song. And it never ran longer than 47 or 48 seconds."
This is what American author Paul Zimmerman said to describe the late Roger Doucet's rendition of "O Canada." Doucet sang for the Canadiens throughout the 1970s before succumbing to a brain tumor in 1981.
There was never a dull moment throughout his anthem. Doucet would put every ounce of energy in his work and for this reason he is the best anthem singer ever.
In the video, Doucet starts singing "O Canada" at the 2:00 mark.