Ottawa Senators have not renewed contract of anthemist Lyndon Slewidge
Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia Network Lyndon Slewidge sings O'Canada in the first period as the Ottawa Senators take on the Montreal Canadiens at Canadian Tire Centre for game 4 of the playoffs on April 22 2015.The singing constable has not heard from the Ottawa Senators about renewing his contract to sing the national anthem home games
OTTAWA – It appears the Senators might have given Lyndon Slewidge the thumbs down.
The club’s legendary anthem singer, who was heading into his silver anniversary season with the Senators, confirmed to Postmedia on Monday night that he has not heard from the organization regarding a contract renewal for the 2016-17 campaign.
And, at this point, the popular retired OPP officer doesn’t know if he’ll sing at the Canadian Tire Centre ever again.
“I put it back to the Senators. It’s their show. They control the dice,” Slewidge said from his Ottawa home. “At the end of the day, and all the years, they didn’t offer a contract this year.”
Asked if he was offered to do some selected games, Slewidge said: “They didn’t offer a contract.”
After inquiries about Slewidge’s status, the Senators issued a statement and indicated he hasn’t been completely ruled out for the whole season. There are indications he may have been offered the chance to do some games.
“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 club said.
“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.”
Slewidge relocated to Ottawa when the franchise started in 1992. He has been a staple at the club’s home games with his renditions of O Canada and the Star Spangled Banner while also mixing in God Bless America from time to time.
His signature sign-off is his thumbs up and wink at the end of the anthem.
He said he hasn’t entertained any offers to sing elsewhere.
“Other than what you’re saying has been on social media, it’s been quiet, and the Senators sure haven’t said anything, have they?” said Slewidge.
“You have to go back to them and get their response to it. They’re controlling the show.”
Slewidge said that if the Senators pick up the phone, he would return.
“I would gladly go back,” Slewidge said. “The terms of what we have had in the past has always been reasonable and has always worked … It’s really their call.”
There has been a lot of talk on Twitter regarding Slewidge’s absence, with fans asking where he is and why he hasn’t been around. Since the pre-season, the hockey club has brought in a number of different singers for the national anthem.
“This is the anniversary year. I think fans would feel somewhat disappointed,” said Slewidge.
He has appreciated the support of the fans through the years, he added. Slewidge said he got an inkling he wouldn’t be part of the picture this year when the Senators hosted a World Cup exhibition game between Canada and the United States without calling him to be involved.
“It’s been an honour. I’ve always enjoyed it and I’ve been there from when it was nothing to where it’s evolved to now. It’s a big corporate business. I felt let down,” Slewidge said.
This is difficult, Slewidge said, because he came to Ottawa to be a part of the return of the Senators to the NHL.
“You feel how you feel. It’s a childhood dream. I was 25 years. I relocated here for the purpose of doing this. Now we’re in the 25th year and I’m not there.”
With files from Ken Warren