Some things are hard to quit.
Ever try to give up that morning cup of coffee? How about missing your favorite reality TV show?
For me, it’s a little different. I’m fascinated by stories overlooked by most.
Mark Donnelly should get the Conn Smyth trophy in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals and he won’t even make a line change.
Donnelly is the gentleman who shares the stage with 18,000 folks before every Vancouver Canucks home playoff game at Rogers Arena. You can watch Mark’s performance in my last blog entry.
What makes him so special? First off, he lets the crowd do most of his work.
Donnelly starts the Canadian national anthem, but lets the fans beam with pride and fill in a good 20 seconds of the song. He doesn’t say a word. The crowd speaks loud enough for him. Instant goosebumps.
Here’s the shock. Donnelly doesn’t get emotionally attached to his unique anthem. “I don’t get excited until after I sing,” Donnelly told me on Thursday afternoon. “I’m focused on what I have to do. I have a job to do out there. The game couldn’t come soon enough for me.”
Donnelly, or “Mr. O Canada” as he’s called, loves the event that he christens. Breaking down the last play on the phone with him in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, you’d think that Donnelly acted as the Canucks head coach, not the anthem singer.
“Boston looked like they were playing for overtime. I watched the replay multiple times. (The Canucks) had 26 seconds — and only needed 8 of them,” Donnelly analyzed. “With this team all year, it’s been right down to the wire.”
Donnelly performs a number of anthems throughout the season, but he earns his celebrity during the playoffs.
It’ll be tough to watch a hockey game without Donnelly to belt out the national anthem before Game 3 in Boston. Here’s hoping for a lengthy series in the Stanley Cup Final.
Don’t miss the best part of the hockey game. It starts and ends before they drop the puck.
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