It was a moment that sent chills down the spines of Edmonton Oilers fans everywhere. Standing among thousands of Oilers fans in the stands at Rogers Place, Robert Clark’s version of O Canada during Game 1 of the Oilers’ playoff series with the Sharks last Wednesday was a moment to be remembered.
The lifelong Oilers fan sang the first verse of the national anthem then raised his microphone into the air and let the 18,000 fans inside the arena take it from there.
“It was incredible,” Clark said, adding he had goosebumps the entire time.
“The decibel level, I don’t know what it registered but I couldn’t hear anything. It was very loud.”
Clark, now in his third year with the Oilers, performed the anthem the same way on Friday night but from a different spot in the arena.
The performance was planned. Clark said he ran through the anthem in a few different spots in the arena several before the game, but didn’t know in which location he’d be standing until he got there Wednesday night.
Raising his microphone to let the fans take over was also planned, partly as a way to pay homage to the late Paul Lorieau, who sang the anthem for the Oilers for 30 years – including during the 2006 Stanley Cup run.
“At the same time, (we were) creating our own new thing,” Clark said. “For me, it just seemed like the natural thing to do.”
Watch below: Lorieau and Oilers fans sing the national anthem during the ’06 Cup run
Lorieau sang his last national anthem for the Oilers and their fans on April 8, 2011. He lost his battle with cancer in July 2013 at the age of 71.
Watch below: Global News report on Paul Lorieau’s retirement
Clark said the anthem performance will be the same throughout the playoffs. But where he stands next is anyone’s guess.