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.

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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.

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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.

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May you rest in peace Sir.

  • Connor Snipes

    Wayne most of us on OilersNation knew Paul as the only guy to sing the anthem. I know how painful it has been for many of us in the past while not to have him come onto the ice and give us O’Canada and the Star Spangled Banner. At 48 years young I can remember many a night when as a young man listening to PL sing the Anthem. The Stanley CUP years were the best of times because the anthem revved up the crowd. PL understood the moment. As in 2006 which will be remembered as a signature moment in his long singing career. The raising of the microphone then became his for all time. Other anthem singers have since done the same but PL was the first. How much a part of the Oilers was PL? IMO he was/is as much as part of the Oilers legacy/history as Rod Phillips and Joey Moss. The Oilers would do well to pay tribute to PL for his longtime commited to the team,the fans and this City. I will remember him well.

  • vetinari

    The name of Lorieau is to O’Canada as the name of Gretzky is to hockey… rest in peace Paul and thanks for showing the world what greatness looked like…

  • As someone who attended every home play-off game in 2006, I can honestly say that I almost looked as forward to the anthem as the game! As weird as that sounds, it was something that kind of took on a life of it”s own as the play-offs went on.

    I still get goose bumps when I hear the youtube clips, he will forever be known for those moments in 2006. It seems like before then, the national anthem was only something that you paid attention if something went wrong with it.

    I hope that when we make the play-offs again, they can use his version the same way Philly uses Kate Smith’s version of the “Star Spangled Banner”. We had really good luck with that version…

  • Weirfan

    He was the greatest ever singer of my favorite song just before my favorite hockey team played for most of my life. Finally met him when I was seated up by the stairs to the press box. He was walking to the box after the puck dropped. A moment that will stick with me forever.

    Thanks Paul

  • Dave "Killer" Carlson

    My favourite memory of Mr. Lorieau does not actually involve the Oilers. The UofA Golden Bears were host to the 2008-2009 CIS Men’s Volleyball Championship. The Bears made the gold medal match and Mr. Lorieau was there to belt out the national anthem. Hearing him inside the UofA’s main gym was something I’ll never forget.

  • 106 and 106

    He fired up the Oilers 7th man during that 2006 run. And cared a heck of a lot about your eye-sight. Amazing Memories, Amazing Man.

    We were spoiled for years and years.

    Thanks Paul.

  • Puritania

    Paul was the best. I’ll really miss the hell out of him. I really think there should be a Paul Lorieau statue at the new arena when it’s built. Or raise his name to the rafters like Rod. Use the number of games Paul sang for. Either of those options would be great.

  • Dave "Killer" Carlson

    Can’t say I really remember any Oilers anthem singer other than Paul Lorieau–he will always be part of the Oilers’ history and culture for me.

    I do remember hearing him sing the anthem for the first time–I was sure the Oil had somehow stolen him from the Montreal Forum. He sounded like he was born to sing the anthem at a hockey game. He was confident, classy, consistent, and professional, and somehow had a way of making everyone feel his support for the team, through his enthusiastic performance of the anthem.

    The smile and wave to the crowd at the end of each performance also showed his appreciation of and love for the fans, too. He showed that he “got it” and shared all of our feelings for the game and the team.

    A sad day for Oilers fans. I hope the team recognizes him in some way–perhaps the Kate Smith treatment when we finally compete in big games again?

    I really miss him.

  • Thank you Wanye for this. I was actually getting upset there wasn’t an article about him yet. He was a true gentleman and a legend in our city. Even though I’ve never actually met the man I still teared up when I heard of his passing. He was a part of our Oilers family and will be missed dearly. I hope for the home opener as a tribute, they just play a montage video of Paul signing the anthems throughout the years. RIP Mr Lorieau.

  • Of all my Oiler memories on the ice (saw them hoist the cup, loads of records) that anthem with the fans may be my fondest in-person memory. Only the Gretzky slapped over Vernon’s shoulder was better, but I didn’t have season tickets in Calgary, so Paul wins!

  • bazmagoo

    Honestly can’t believe Paul is dead, he’s been the anthem singer since I was a little boy. So sad.

    Also can’t believe that rip-off artist in Vancouver will probably go down as the person credited with involving the crowd in Oh’ Canada in most peoples minds. So sad.

  • As i recall. (much of the 06 miracle run is and was a tad blurry). The sharks fans had decided to boo Oh Canada in the shark tank. (as brain dead yanks are occasionally want to do in some gesture of superiority… or some damn loyalty thing that is basically insulting and a display of a few douche nozzles getting it wrong)

    anyways.. on return to etown post that incident a movement was created to not retaliate and boo the SSB but sit silently or join in…. so being the good drunken folks we tend to be… we joined in and sang that lame old SSB with old paul leading the way.

    Being fully warmed up as we were….. next song…. the ode to excellence itself and results are in moving pictures above…… it was freaking magical.
    I recall Paul saying that it was so loud on the ice that it was throwing him off so the moment grabbed him and he turned it over to the hoard. It was a poignant moment and such a cool display of unity by an ad hock cast of random characters.


    Last heard Paul sing at the alzheimers allstar game in leduc in late april. Small barn, lost of old pros there and he was amazing again. Kinda feeble and very pale but his voice still so purely resonant and powerful.

    Again.. it was freaking magical.

    RIP Paul

  • I was part of three number retirement ceremonies for the Oilers, and in each one I was able to meet with, and talk to Paul. He was the consummate professional, yet he still took the time to talk with us and make us feel special.

    My greatest memory is having the group of us ( I was part of a military black-light show that started off each ceremony) leave the ice and quickly run from the Zamboni entrance to the Oilers walkway so that we could carry the colour guard for the national anthems. Paul was there directing us, and the RCMP officers into the lineup for the march out to centre ice. The last words he spoke to us just before we marched out I will always remember. He looked at all of us and said, “OK. You look good. Now who’s gonna sing the anthem?”

    All nerves are gone as we shared a laugh. He goes out and nails the anthems, as he did every night, and I became an even bigger fan because for one small moment, I got to stand next to one of the great ones that this city has ever seen.

    All good men must die, but they live on forever whenever we say their names out loud.

    Goodbye Paul. I hope to see you again on the Jumbotron screen for the next playoff game the Oilers play in come April.

  • Connor Snipes

    RIP Paul!

    May the oilers do the honourable thing and play a hologram opener from your unbelievable efforts in the 2006 finals in this year’s season opener. Thank you for all of your years of memorable service to the Edmonton Oilers and the city of Edmonton.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Thank you Paul for the moment in 2006, captured above. I can’t think of many times in my life where I have been more emotional or proud to be an Oiler fan or Canadian than when I was part of the almost 17,000 people who you allowed to sing O Canada “with” you.

    Most performers would have relished a highly charged playoff game as an opportunity for them to shine, to “steal the show” and make it about them. You got it (unlike some of these other blowhards singing the anthem in other cities at playoff times). It is about the game and honouring those who have made our country great. Not about some primped up peacocks in tuxedos with grandiose gestures and even bigger egos who NEED the focus to be on them. As awesome as you sang O’Canada game in and game out, you realized it was so much more powerful coming from the stands and sent the message “we are in this together”.

    Thank you for that night in spring 2006 that still makes hairs stand up on the back of my neck and brings a tear to my eye. And thank you for decades being a classy professional who ended each top level performance with a simple and sincere smile and wave. Godspeed.