This years Winter Classic will take place at Gillette Stadium, with the Montreal Canadiens facing off against the Boston Bruins in the oldest rivalry in hockey. But there’s already been some commotion, and not from the players on each side, but from the pre-game activities taking place before hand.
The National Anthem is sung before every game at every venue in American sports. It’s a great honor to sing The Star-Spangled Banner in front of thousands of fans singing along with you. Rene Rancourt has been the voice of the National Anthem for the Boston Bruins since 1976. He’s loved by fans and has seen the likes of Cam Neely, Ray Bourque and Patrice Bergeron skate through the rinks of Boston. He shared a special moment with fans following the Boston marathon bombings, which I happened to witness live and it sent tears down my eyes and shivers down my spine.
Rancourt is scheduled to sing the Anthem for the Alumni game will take place on the 31st of December, but realistically, who’s going to that game, no one. It’s an embarrassment to his career and anyone who knows this rivalry.
A big factor in Rene Rancourt not singing the national anthem is that the game will be aired on NBC. Instead of having the Garden legend, the NHL named recent The Voice winner Jordan Smith to sing the anthem to promote him, and their show. And that fact alone pisses me off.
The Winter Classic is not like the Super Bowl. It’s not do or die and it’s not a playoff game at all. It’s a game in the middle of the season that counts just as much as all the other ones. You don’t need to put on a big time show for a middle of the season hockey game. I understand it’s Bruins vs. Canadiens, arguably the greatest hockey rivalry, but there’s no need. I’ve never even watched The Voice and I’m willing to bet most of the people at Gillette won’t know who this person is either.
Jordan Smith probably doesn’t know anything about the rivalry. If the NHL really wanted to make this game even better than it already will be, they would put Rene Rancourt out there to get the 70,000 plus people that will pack Gillette on friday and watch him pump them all up, regardless of who they are rooting for. I don’t care of this Jordan Smith guy is the next big thing and has the voice of an angel, I would rather hear an above average anthem (because Rene realistically can’t sing anymore) and see some absolutely great fist pumps.
So here’s to the NHL, if you really want to make the Winter Classic a special game, put someone out there to sing the National Anthem that actually knows about the rivalry.
Picture via daysofyorr.com
Gif via awfulannoucing.com