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Rene Rancourt

Rene Rancourt (born August 4, 1939)[1][2] is an American singer. Rancourt has sung the U.S. and Canadian national anthems at the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins home hockey games for over 40 years. He performed his last regular season anthem on April 8, 2018 after 42 years. He sang both anthems before Game 7 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Bruins on April 25, 2018.

Rene Rancourt
Rene Rancourt (5850995582).jpg
Rancourt participating in the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Finals victory parade
Background information
Birth name Rene Rancourt
Born (1939-08-04) August 4, 1939 (age 78)
Lewiston, Maine, U.S.
Occupation(s) Singer

Early lifeEdit

Rancourt was born in Lewiston, Maine, the son of Leon Rancourt and Bernadette Guenette, French-Canadians from Quebec.[3][4][5]

CareerEdit

Rancourt first began singing the anthem in Boston at Fenway Park. He took part in an opera singing audition on the radio and was heard by John Kiley, long-time organist at both Fenway and the Boston Garden. Rancourt sang before Game 6 of the World Series in 1975 when singer Kate Smith cancelled her appearance. Rancourt's ambition was to become an opera singer. The strength of his trained voice overcame the acoustic shortcomings of the old Boston Garden.[6] In 1976, he began singing regularly for the Boston Bruins games.

Rancourt's signature fist-pump at the end of the anthem was modeled after the "Stump Pump" of former Bruin Randy Burridge, whom Rancourt admired. Rancourt also salutes at the end of the anthem. The salute is for men and women who have served in the armed forces, although it was initially inspired by an elderly fan of Rancourt.[7] Rancourt performs the anthem before Bruins games, as well as singing at auto races, charity events and nursing homes in and around New England. He does not have a contract with the Bruins. According to Rancourt, "I've never had a contract; I've always just shown up and I've become associated with the Bruins."

Rancourt served in the U.S. Army in the 1960s in which after winning a singing contest he was assigned to GI traveling show which kept him from being sent to Vietnam.[8]

On January 17, 2018, the Bruins announced that Rancourt would retire at the end of the 2017–18 season. He was honored during the Bruins' last regular season game against the Florida Panthers on April 8.[9] His final playoff game was Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Second Round vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning on May 4, 2018. After the Lightning eliminated the Bruins in five games, he retired for good.

ReferencesEdit