July 04 2013 08:30PM
It has just come to our attention that Oilers long time anthem singer Paul Lorieau passed away a few days back. If you will pardon the delay, we can't help but feel that OilersNation should take pause and remember this great man who entertained us all on many a frozen night over the years.
Paul Lorieau was one of the best awesome anthem singers in professional sports - pure and simple. We have all seen opposing rinks anthem singers and it is evident to anyone with a working set of ears and eyes that we were spoiled for many years here in Edmonton.
Sadly, during Lorieau's final years the Oilers were a perennially losing squad that was paid millions of dollars a year to mail it in on all too many nights. And yet this universally loved man brought the heat on nights where the excitement died the minute the puck dropped before a half filled barn.
For no matter what sort of squad the Oil iced we were sure to get a top drawer anthem to kick the game off right. How many times have we all sung our hearts out with Lorieau and Joey Moss in the lead? Night in and night out he was a true professional at the height of his craft.
And when the Oil made their miracle cup run in 2006 Lorieau stepped his game up to a whole new level and shone on the global stage. He wasn't the originator of handing over singing duties to the crowd, that clown in Vancouver did it in 2004, but when Lorieau did it here the building and atmosphere was unmatched.
It was one of those unplannable hair raising moments and we will remember it forever as one of the highlights of being an Oilers fan.
These past few seasons every time we would see someone new come out to sing the anthem at Rexall Place we couldn't help but remark that they looked out of place and would wonder where Lorieau was. This past season we cursed aloud to anyone that will listen on several occasions. "This clown can't hold a candle to Paul Lorieau."
It's now clear that we will be left with inferior anthem singers forever more and until the last Oilers game we ever see we will always remember Mr. Lorieau and how he brought his A game every single night.
Jim Matheson has a very nice article summing up his life and career here.
If you have any fond rememberances please leave them below. Times will change and new anthem singers will come and go. But , Mr Lorieau, you are hands down the best there will ever be. Our most sincere condolences go out to your family.
May you rest in peace Sir.