John Amirante was truly a class act. When he sang the national anthem at Madison Square Garden during the playoffs, it made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Players say they like to feed off the energy of the crowd, but the crowd always fed off his singing.
Before Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Final, John Amirante belts out the National Anthem in front of a raucous Garden crowd.
As the Madison Square Garden PA Announcer said prior to Game 4 of the Rangers-Senators series last year:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, here to sing Oh Canada and the Star-Spangled Banner, please welcome back a fan favorite since 1980, JOHN AMIRANTE!”
Roughly 30 hours before the puck was scheduled to drop for Game 4, word leaked the Rangers had decided to bring their iconic National Anthem singer, John Amirante, back from a two-year hiatus.
As word spread through the City of New York, many fans rightfully became excited about Amirante’s imminent return.
When it came time for the fans to rise and remove their caps for the singing of both National Anthems, there was a palpable electricity in the air of Madison Square Garden.
The first time I met Amirante was during that Rangers-Senators playoff series. I was in the media dining room at The Garden and I plucked up the courage to introduce myself. He treated me like an old friend although I was a complete stranger and just an intern.
From then on whenever he saw me he’d greet me with a big smile and say he was just as nervous for that night’s performance as he was his first.
In light of his passing, we ask all fans to please rise and remove their caps one final time, for the man that embodied the patriotic pride and proud tradition of the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
There will never be another John Amirante!