Archive for John Amirante

Apr
21

So long, John Amirante

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Update: It’s been brought to my attention that MSG retracted this, and that Amirante will be appearing “from time to time” as a guest performer.

Saturday night was the last time John Amirante sang the National Anthem to begin a New York Rangers game. It marked 35 years of Amirante singing the anthem, a history that started in 1980. Amirante was singing about half of the Rangers games in 2009, but the number of games in which he had been performing had dwindled significantly since. He sang just four games this season, with this past Saturday marking his unceremonious retirement.

Amirante has been synonymous with Rangers hockey since I was born. It is truly disturbing that the organization not only forced him out, but tried to do so without letting Amirante say goodbye to the crowd that has cheered him for 35 years. You can view that video on Blueshirt Banter.

Amirante’s history goes beyond just singing the anthem before Rangers games. He sang the anthem following the tragedies of 9/11. He sang after Ronald Regan was shot in 1981. But perhaps his most emotional was singing just days after the death of his daughter in 1985.

My personal favorite is when Amirante sang before Game 7 in 1994 against the Canucks, when you couldn’t even hear him singing. He was so into it, the fans were so into it. Truly a memorable moment for an iconic voice inside MSG.

Per Newsday, Amirante wanted to retire with dignity, and the organization did not allow him to do so. As Amirante stated, a formal announcement, to allow Amirante to say goodbye to the fans, and to allow the fans to say goodbye to Amirante, would have been the right way to do things. It was only because Newsday broke the news that Amirante got a partial send-off. Not nearly the one he deserved, though.

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