Senators press pause on longtime anthem singer Lyndon Slewidge
Team inviting other performers to sing anthems during their 25th anniversary season
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.
We want Slewidge *clap clap, clap clap clap* <br>We want Slewidge *clap clap, clap clap clap*<a href="https://twitter.com/Senators">@Senators</a> FYI—@14Robbins
Uh <a href="https://twitter.com/Senators">@Senators</a> I'm not here to tell you your business but if anything there should be WAY MORE Lyndon Slewidge for the 25th anniversary.—@LizFraserRM
Dear <a href="https://twitter.com/Senators">@Senators</a> I'm a <a href="https://twitter.com/MapleLeafs">@MapleLeafs</a> fan and Lyndon Slewidge was the only thing I liked about the Sens—@RegularJoeYYC
"We're celebrating 25 years of the team! Let's take away the thing that's been here for 25 years!" --the <a href="https://twitter.com/Senators">@Senators</a> logic on Lyndon Slewidge.—@Meg_Kelly1
Hey Lyndon Slewidge, if you're interested you can sing at our home games for the same rate as our flag bearers, a free slushie!!! 🎓🏒🇨🇦🎤—@GradsHockey