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Monday, February 2, 2009

NHL Anthems

Watching Jennifer Hudson’s wonderful rendition of the US National Anthem last night before the Super Bowl got me thinking about the best anthems in NHL rinks.

Only a handful of teams have one anthem singer who regular sings on an every-game basis. And three of them just so happen to be the tops in the league. Here they are:

Lauren Hart – Philadelphia Flyers
Lyndon Slewidge – Ottawa Senators
John Amarante – NY Rangers

There hasn’t been a better anthem sung in the Coliseum since Carl Dixon did it for the 2002 playoff games versus Toronto. Did the amazing atmosphere help? Yeah, but I also think his anthem added to the atmosphere of that series even more.

It’s all up for debate because everyone has their own taste and opinion.

If you ask hockey fans what there greatest hockey memory is, some will say it was the 1991 NHL All-Star Game in Chicago when Wayne Messmer sang the Anthem at Chicago Stadium. It occurred just a few days after the United States went into Iraq at the start of the Gulf War. The crowd reaction was so great, his voice was nearly drowned out by the fans.

Anthems are always great when the crowd really gets into by themselves and can carry the song by themselves. Alanis Morissette sang ‘O Canada in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007 with crowd support. Edmonton did the same thing the year before and it was just as amazing. (6:50 into the clip)

Lauren Hart’s rendition is my favorite because not only is it spectacular, but she sings it for almost every game. Consistency has a large part to do with it. It’s something I always wished the Islanders had. Fans really get behind an anthem singer they hear every game. Flyers fans often think of Lauren as just as important piece of the team as the starting goaltender that there's booing.

I really like what we’re doing with the Organist (and no vocals) at the Coliseum. I think it can catch on and if the fans get behind it, it would have the potential to be tops in the league.

But again, an anthem is all about personal taste. Someone in the office just said they though Whitney Houston sounded horrible at Super Bowl 25.

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