Longtime Senators anthem singer hits sour note
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 5:42PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 18, 2016 7:15PM EDT
For 24 years, Senators fans could count on Lyndon Slewidge and his voice to start home games. But not anymore.
The former OPP officer sang O Canada and The Star-Spangled Banner prior to most games at the Canadian Tire Centre, but might not take the mic at all this season.
In a conversation at this home, Slewidge says he wasn't offered a contract by the Sens for the upcoming season. He says he hadn't been contacted by the team prior to the season.
However, sources say the two sides were in contact earlier this month. Slewidge was offered the chance to sing at select games this year, but declined.
In a statement, the Senators say "As part of the Senators 25th anniversary celebrations, the team is trying a number of new in-arena activations for the fans, including inviting other performers and artists to sing the national anthems."
"This does not mean Lyndon will not be invited to sing at games in the future, just not as often as he had in previous seasons."
The reaction from fans on social media has been swift.
"I'm shocked at the size of the response and just how quick it was," says Brad Timmins, an editor with the Silver Sevens blog.
The blog posted an open letter to Sens' President Cyril Leeder, asking for the return of the anthem singer.
"In 25 years, there's not a whole lot of traditions that you can say go back 25 years with the franchise," says Timmins.
"Fans have latched on to that I think."
Lyndon Slewidge sang the national anthems before Ottawa Senators' home games for 24 years, but didn't have his contract renewed before this season. (Sportsnet/CBC)