EDMONTON – Paul Lorieau, the man who sang the national anthem at Oilers games for three decades, has lost his battle to cancer at the age of 71.
The son-in-law of the Legal, Alberta native sent Global News the following statement on Tuesday evening:
“We bear the sad news of the passing of our father Paul Lorieau who passed away after his battle with Cancer,” wrote Amadeus Peruch. ”Paul passed peacefully surrounded by his daughters, grand children, and extended family under the caring service at the Norwood Care Centre. On behalf of the entire family, and Paul, we would like to thank the citizens of this fabulous city who have shown their love to him over the years by cheering and clapping while he passionately sang his heart out.”
“Paul will be respected and remembered for being a key player in the history of the Edmonton Oilers,” said Oilers President Patrick LaForge in a release. “His passion and excitement became a staple at every Oilers home game for more than 30 years.”
During the 2006 Stanley Cup playoffs, Lorieau sang only a couple lines of “Oh Canada,” leaving the audience to finish the rest. This continued at the remainder of the play-off games in Edmonton.
“It was a fingerprint moment in the history of hockey,” said LaForge.
Lorieau, a classically-trained opera singer who also worked as an optician, sang his last national anthem at an Oilers game on April 8, 2011.
He told Global News that in the 30 years he performed the anthem before Oilers games, he never sang it the same way twice.
“Every one has been different. It’s the same music but it comes from a place in the heart…I hope I’ve done justice to every one of them.”
You can watch our full report on his retirement below:
“It’s not that he was just a great singer and a great opera voice and a wonderful member of the community,” says Mayor Stephen Mandel. “He was a very fine, upstanding citizen. He was very generous with his time, of his money, and of his support for community groups. We’ll miss him dearly and our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family.”
Global News spoke with his daughters Camille Lorieau and Danielle Lorieau-Peruch on Wednesday. Here’s what they had to say about their dad: