Nashvillians singing the Canadian national anthem?
If you’ll be at Bridgestone Arena for tonight’s contest between the Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs, that’s exactly what you should be doing.
On November 18, 2014, Maple Leafs fans jumped to the rescue of anthem singer Michelle Madeira when her mic cut out and left her stranded mid-song. The 19,012 inside Air Canada Centre barely skipped a beat and finished The Star-Spangled Banner in a touching display of class and continental unity.
“It was extremely noticeable,” Nashville forward and Toronto area native Taylor Beck said. “For that [Canadian] crowd to sing the American anthem, that was pretty cool to see.”
Players, typically, are so “in the zone” before a game, it’s pretty remarkable that they would think of anything other than the task at hand. That’s how impactful it was.
“Visualization and mental preparation play such a huge role in today’s game,” defenseman Victor Bartley said. “I’m visualizing plays that are going to be developing in all three zones while the anthem’s going on.”
His teammate agrees.
“I visualize what I’ve got to do for the game because it’s the last thing that happens before the puck drops,” Beck said. “I’m sure everyone has different rituals and I’m sure they vary a lot from person to person but, for the most part, it’s about getting mentally prepared for the game.”
When told that the Nashville crowd plans on singing along with O Canada tonight as a “thank you” to Leafs fans, Beck was hit with a moment of pride.
“Wow. That’d be cool to see.”
Another Predators player touched by the mere thought of his hometown fans returning the favor was forward Gabriel Bourque.
“As a Canadian, that would be pretty cool to hear our crowd do that,” Bourque said with a smile.
If you only get to a handful of Preds games every year and don’t know the words to O Canada, fret not. There’s a report that the Game Ops crew will provide lyrics via the megatron.
“My buddy Brett Kissel’s doing the anthem tonight so hopefully the mic doesn’t go out on him,” Bartley joked.
Even if it doesn’t, Smashville’s got his back. Just as Toronto had Madeira’s.