It’s almost the 20th anniversary of the last time the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup, a Game 7 defeat of Vancouver at MSG that was preceded — like most big Rangers game of the past generation — by a rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by John Amirante. Speaking with Newsday’s Neil Best, Amirante describes the thrill of performing the national anthem….for a crowd so pumped up, he was pretty much unheard.
“I was on cloud nine, excited and thrilled to be there,” John Amirante said, recalling June 14, 1994, the night the Rangers hosted the Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
It was and remains the most memorable anthem on the career list of a guy who estimates he has belted it out more than 1,000 times in public – more, as far as he knows, than anyone else alive.
What’s ironic is that night’s performance was all but inaudible, a guy performing his signature song in a crisp 90 seconds while Rangers fans drowned out his words almost entirely with anticipatory cheers.
“I couldn’t even hear myself when I was out on the ice,” he said. “It was so loud.”
Was he offended? Hardly.
“No, I wasn’t,” he said. “No, no, no…my first concern was: Am I going to hear the organ?” Amirante said.”