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Bruins fan starts petition over choice of NHL Winter Classic national anthem singer

  • Snubbed? Rene Rancourt and Ginette Reno were not invited to sing at the NHL Winter Classic.
Boston Bruins' Loui Eriksson (21) slides away from Montreal Canadiens' defenceman Jeff Petry (26) after scoring a short-handed goal past goalie Mike Condon during third period NHL hockey action, in Montreal, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015.
Boston Bruins' Loui Eriksson (21) slides away from Montreal Canadiens' defenceman Jeff Petry (26) after scoring a short-handed goal past goalie Mike Condon during third period NHL hockey action, in Montreal, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL – The beginning of any hockey game is just as symbolic as the game itself – needless to say, the NHL Winter Classic is one of the biggest events of the year.

This season, two of the original six teams, the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins will face off at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1.

National anthem singer Rene Rancourt sings the Star Spangled Banner for the Boston Bruins.
National anthem singer Rene Rancourt sings the Star Spangled Banner for the Boston Bruins. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The two teams have one of the biggest, oldest and most well known rivalries in the history of the NHL, and to a certain extent, that includes the national anthem singers of both teams.

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So, one Bruins fan, Ross McDonagh, was shocked when he found out that neither team’s national anthem singer was invited to perform.

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“NBC has ditched Rene Rancourt, who has sung the national anthem for over 35 years at Boston Bruins home games and not even considered Ginette Reno, who sings at Canadiens playoff games, in favour of the winner of the NBC series The Voice,” McDonagh wrote.

Ginette Reno is considered a lucky talisman for the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL playoff series.
Ginette Reno is considered a lucky talisman for the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL playoff series. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

He started an online petition to pressure NBC to overturn its decision.

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“[NBC should keep] to tradition at the biggest event of the NHL season before the Stanley Cup Playoffs by allowing each team to showcase their national anthem singers…or even allowing the home team the “home ice advantage” of having their anthem singer perform,” McDonagh wrote.
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“Hockey is about rivalry, excitement, passionate fans and most of all-tradition. Please NBC, allow the teams two anthem singing stars to perform at the NHL Winter Classic.”

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As of 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the petition had gathered over 4,000 signatures.

Who do you think should sing the national anthems at the NHL Winter Classic? Let us know!

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca