A Tribute To Rene Rancourt
It’s been a long 42 years, but after this season a Boston Bruins legend is calling it a career. Rene Rancourt, who first began to sing the national anthems before Bruins games in 1976, announced yesterday that this would be his last season before retirement. It’s not very often that teams become so attached to a singer, or even have the same singer for every game, but over the years Rancourt has become a fan favourite to Bruins fans everywhere.
I realize you’re thinking “So what? He’s just a singer” but Rancourt has been a staple with the Bruins for almost half a century. In fact, he’s become such an important part of the team that he got his own Stanley Cup ring after the Bruins won in 2011.
Rancourt’s career path was a bit unusual. He was initially interested in becoming an opera singer, until one day he sang the national anthem at Fenway Park before a Red Sox game, when the organist asked him if he could sing for the Bruins. The funny thing is that Rancourt knew nothing about hockey, and didn’t even know where the Bruins played. But once he saw the reaction from the crowd at the game, he was hooked. The fans loved Rene, and he loved the fans. From there, Rancourt became a regular part of Bruins home games. He never actually had a contract with the organization, he just kept showing up to perform and eventually it caught on.
It’s not very often that an anthem singer becomes such a big part of the team, but that’s exactly what happened with Rancourt. It was about 10 years ago when I first caught on to how important he was to the team and the fans, and it didn’t take long to become a fan myself. I was always hoping I’d be able to find the NESN feed of Bruins games on TV, which doesn’t happen often in Ontario, but they would always wait to cut away until after the fist pump while CBC seemed to always cut away too soon.
The fist pump is something that all Bruins fans know and love. Rancourt truly has become a part of the Bruins history, and seeing somebody else singing the anthem in Boston next season won’t feel right. But at 78 years young and after 42 seasons with the Bruins, it’s safe to say that Rancourt has earned some time to relax. Enjoy fist pumping all the way into retirement, Rene.