November 28, 2013
Hours before performing the national anthems prior to Thursday's final game of the Subway Super Series, performer Dirk Edwards invited the Twitterverse to, "Come listen to me make a fool of myself in 2 languages."
Consider that a called shot.
In a classic there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I moment that rivals the butchering of O Canada prior to a New York Islanders game earlier this week, Edwards' renditions of the Russian and Canadian anthems prior to the Russia-Team WHL game in Lethbridge, Alta., each went sideways. First Edwards, whose Twitter bio lists him as a sales supervisor for Shaw Cable, had to pause midway through the difficult Russian anthem. That's understandable for someone interpreting a song written in an unfamiliar language.
But it got worse with O Canada. Edwards slipped up on the second line, chuckled nervously and appeared to say, "oh sh-" before realizing he was in front of thousands of fans. During the next line, the correct "glowing hearts" became "glorious hearts." The good Canadian boys on Team WHL's bench really had to strain to maintain their game faces.
Unfortunately, the singer had forecast on his Twitter account that this might happen.
This marks the second major event in a row staged by the Western Hockey League that had an anthem singer who struggled with the task out of possible inexperience. The prior instance occurred at the Memorial Cup last season when Saskatchewan performer Alexis Normand forgot the words to The Star-Spangled Banner.
The anthems are part of a professional-looking game presentation. It's understandable that Lethbridge is likely not teeming with professional singers who can do the Russian anthem in an arena setting. But the host Lethbridge Hurricanes organization and the WHL had months to locate someone with such a skill set. The Super Series sites are finalized well ahead of the season. The Hurricanes are already dead last in the WHL; they don't need any more embarrassment.
Here's hoping Edwards has plenty of people to pat him on the back and tell him he made a game effort. Those uncomfortable 2½ minutes might end up being his 15 minutes of fame.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com (video: Sportsnet).