Ottawa

Senators press pause on longtime anthem singer Lyndon Slewidge

A familiar voice that's been part of the Ottawa Senators' pregame ritual for more than two decades won't be belting out the national anthem at Canadian Tire Centre with the same regularity this season.

Team inviting other performers to sing anthems during their 25th anniversary season

Lyndon Slewidge sings the pregame anthems in 1996. (CBC)

A familiar voice that's been part of the Ottawa Senators' pregame ritual for more than two decades won't be belting out the national anthems at Canadian Tire Centre with the same regularity this season.

Retired OPP officer Lyndon Slewidge, with his sonorous baritone, sly wink and encouraging thumbs up, has been the team's official anthem singer since 1994.

But the Senators confirmed Tuesday they're mixing it up this year.

"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," the organization said in a statement.

"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 team said Jennifer Silva will sing the anthems before Tuesday's game against the Arizona Coyotes.

Reached by CBC News Tuesday, Slewidge declined comment, but according to other media reports he said his contract to sing at the games has not been renewed.

Many fans gave the news a thumbs down on Twitter.

now