BOSTON - The end of this hockey season will mark the end of an era for the Bruins.
After more than 40 years singing the American and Canadian national anthems at the Garden ahead of Bruins games, singer Rene Rancourt has announced he’ll be retiring at the end of the season. Rancourt, 78, began singing the anthems for the Black and Gold in the 1975-76 season and has become an iconic part of the Bruins game day experience with his signature mustache, fashionable vest and animated fist pumps after he’s done singing.
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The Bruins have invited a number of guest singers over the past 10 years in Rancourt’s stead, but it was always Rene singing at the big games over the years. Perhaps his biggest moment came in the first game after Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013 when he stepped away from the microphone and allowed the emotional crowd to sing the words to the "Star-Spangled Banner" against the Buffalo Sabres.
Rancourt was also known, of course, for singing Christmas carols between periods in the final home game prior to the holiday and for his operatic delivery of the anthems each time out.
According to the Bruins press release, Rancourt, an Army veteran from Lewiston, Maine, is a trained opera singer who first began singing the national anthem at Red Sox games in the 1970s.
The Bruins plan to honor Rancourt at the final regular-season home game on April 8 against the Florida Panthers, a makeup for the earlier date vs. the Panthers that was postponed by a snowstorm earlier this month.
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