Ottawa·Q&A

Former Sens anthem singer Lyndon Slewidge makes his return

Lyndon Slewidge was dismissed by the Ottawa Senators in 2016. Last week he returned to the ice — singing the national anthem not at the Canadian Tire Centre but at an Ottawa 67's playoff game.

Dismissed in 2016, Slewidge took the mic at the Ottawa 67's game last week

Lyndon Slewidge sings the anthem at an Ottawa Senators game in 1996. He was dismissed by the club in 2016 but returned last week to sing the anthem at an Ottawa 67's playoff game. (CBC)

Lyndon Slewidge hasn't performed the national anthem at an Ottawa Senators game since 2016.

But he hasn't been forgotten by the city's hockey faithful.

That's likely why the Ottawa 67's decided to ask him to take the ice last week for the opening game of their third-round Ontario Hockey League playoff series against the Oshawa Generals.

Slewidge was a guest on CBC Radio's All In A Day to discuss his career and the controversy following his dismissal from the Senators, just one year shy of his 25th anniversary as their anthem singer.

Here's part of that interview, edited for length and clarity.

The CBC's Chris Goldrick meets Ottawa Senators anthem singer Lyndon Slewidge 20 years ago. 2:07

Hearing yourself from those Sens games, do you think you still sound like that?

Oh, I'm a little wiser, a little older and the voice is richer. Just like any athlete, you've got to work it. You can't abuse it.  Yeah, the instrument is working very, very good.

The 67's have people excited about hockey again. How were you asked to be part of their playoff run?

Approximately a month ago I was vacationing in Florida and … I spoke to [vice-president of communications] Randy Burgess with the 67's. Him and I go way back.

He was part of the instrumental team in bringing me to Ottawa from Sault Ste. Marie 20-plus years ago, to be part of the hockey program here with the NHL at that time. So that's how that [happened].

Our conversation with Lyndon Slewidge. The longtime anthem singer makes his return tomorrow night for Game One of the Ottawa 67's third-round playoff series against Oshawa. 7:44

You were synonymous with the Senators for so many years. When the Sens ended their relationship with you there was real public outcry. How did that make you feel?

Well, the public reaction was positive, positive, positive. It gave me chills to know that the community, the fanbase, was behind me, supported me.

They believed [in me] over those many, many years singing the national anthem at the Canadian Tire Centre and provided me with the confidence to move forward. And then, when the curtain came down, they just expressed how they truly felt to the ownership group there, saying, "Listen, we believe in Lyndon."

Have the Senators ever reached out to you since things ended?

No. Everybody's gone their way and life's moved forward.

Did you ever learn exactly why you were let go?

No. You know, things change. People change. Management people change.

I don't have any idea what transpired for them to make the decision they made.

There was the smile, the wink, the kiss and thumbs up at the end of every anthem. How did you come up with that?

I was just looking for something unique that would separate me from the pack, so to speak. Every anthem singer's got their uniqueness [with] what they do. And that was just something to create the Lyndon Slewidge image.

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