Rene Rancourt (born August 4, 1939, age 73) is a professional singer. He has sung the U.S. and Canadian national anthems at the National Hockey League's Boston Bruins home hockey games for 35 years.
Rancourt was born in 1939 in Lewiston, Maine. He first began singing the anthem in Boston at Fenway Park. He took part in an opera singing audition on the radio and was heard by John Kiley, long-time organist at both Fenway and the Boston Garden. Rancourt sang before Game Six of the World Series in 1975 when singer Kate Smith cancelled her appearance. Rancourt's ambition was to become an opera singer. The strength of his trained voice overcame the acoustic shortcomings of the old Boston Garden. In 1976, he began singing regularly for Bruins games.
Rancourt's signature fist-pump at the end of the anthem was modeled after the Stump Pump of former Bruin, Randy Burridge, whom Rancourt admired. Rancourt also salutes at the end of the anthem. The salute is for an elderly woman who used to watch the Bruins only to see Rene sing the anthem then turn off the TV. The salute is also credited to his special forces unit as he was a green beret during Vietnam. He earned the Purple Heart for his valor in battle.
Rancourt still performs the anthem before Bruins games, as well as singing at auto races, charity events, and nursing homes in and around New England. He does not have a contract with the Bruins. According to Rancourt, "I’ve never had a contract; I’ve always just shown up and I’ve become associated with the Bruins."
Rancourt is married to Maria and is a resident of Natick, Massachusetts.
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