I wasn’t that kid who grew up in the rink. I wasn’t even that kid who understood the rules of the game.
But singing for my favourite team was something I dreamed of since I could remember.
I remember watching the Calgary Flames on TV with my dad on countless nights in the living room. Most of the time, I would be waiting until it was my turn with the remote control because I’d be itching to watch the latest episode of That’s So Raven.
But you could be damn certain that my ears would perk up and my eyes would be glued to the screen when I would hear “Can you please rise, remove your hats and join in the singing of our national anthem”.
Never in a million years did I think that my dream of singing for the C of Red would come true.
My mom was friends with the woman who sang the national anthem for the Flames, Heather Liscano. Every year or so, I would send Heather a message and ask her if she knew how I could apply to for the job. She encouraged me to patiently wait until there was an open call for auditions.
“I can sing in front of thousands of people and not break a sweat. But I can’t talk to a good looking guy to save my life.”
My original audition tapes that I worked on with my friend Joel Fraser.
This back and forth went on quite steadily for about 3 years until one day I was scrolling through Facebook and saw the ad. An open call to apply to be George Canyon’s fill in for when he is away on tour.
The application process was quite simple. Submit a video and wait.
I got the call from George himself when I was at work and I was so jacked up I almost left work without telling my boss.
After a live audition and a few preseason game test runs, the Calgary Flames presented me with the highly coveted music note jersey with my name embroidered on the back. I damn near pissed myself. Finally. It happened. I get to sing in my favourite building for my favourite team.
You’re going to think I’m insane, but I wasn’t nervous. The thought of 20,000 people in the Saddledome watching me and waiting to see if I f*ck up didn’t scare me. I tell people all the time, “I can sing in front of thousands of people and not break a sweat. But I can’t talk to a good looking guy to save my life”.
What made me anxious was that I really wanted to do the job justice. It’s important to me to get it right. I believe that when you sing a national anthem, the performance is not about you. You have to be very respectful. It’s about the song and the meaning behind it. I like to sing it clean with no embellishments and hopefully in a key that is easy for everyone to sing along to.
Sometimes I psych myself out by watching anthem fails on Youtube. But I’ve seemed to hold it together and have managed to not forget the words or fall on the ice. THANK GOD.
The staff at the Saddledome and the Calgary Flames have been so outstanding. I never imagined that they would be so supportive of my career. I’ve made some amazing friends. I remember the first time they played one of my original songs during the game, I cried my face off. It meant so much to me that they could be so thoughtful to play my music in front of all those people. It’s the little things. They really are the best.
When I first got the job, I never thought that singing the national anthem would mean so much to me. But man… it truly is my favourite song. I’m really proud to be Canadian and humbled to be a representative of this country. And it’s even better that I get to be a part of the best hockey team in the NHL.
There’s no better feeling than walking out in front of all those people and singing along with everyone wearing red jerseys and hoisting dome foam in the air. I feel really lucky.
I have just wrapped up my second season with the Calgary Flames. Although we got punched right in the nads in the first round of playoffs, I couldn’t be more proud of my team and my city.
So the next time you’re at a game and I am singing, just know that we’re in this together. Stand tall. Sing it loud with me. Because Canada is the friggin best, eh.
GO FLAMES GO!!!