South Delta Secondary School teacher Gatlin Saip was back singing the pre-game national anthems at Rogers Arena when the Vancouver Canucks took on the Tampa Bay Lightning earlier this week.
“It’s fun when the game has been televised, because I get all kinds of text messages from friends and family across Canada who are watching the game,” he tells the Optimist in an email. “I think it’s fun for my students to see one of their teachers on TV.”
Saip, who teaches mostly social studies and history at SDSS, has been singing anthems for the Canucks since 2008, but this was his first game this season.
He says he feels fortunate to have done it so many times and that “it’s definitely a unique experience that I try not to take for granted.”
Saip got started singing national anthems at Western Hockey League games and was eventually invited to perform at Canucks games. He’s also been a guest anthem singer for the Seattle Seahawks, when the NFL when they hosted their Canadian fan appreciation game, and has done anthems for junior hockey events.
Saip says he’ll be singing at the opening game of the World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver this year.
He notes there are three main challenges to singing anthems:
“1) You hear yourself with a delay, so you have to keep your tempo in spite of a pretty significant echo
2) They play all kinds of loud music during warm-up, so you have to keep your starting note in your brain
3) You could go blank and forget the lyrics -- or slip on the carpet. If anything goes wrong you end up on YouTube pretty fast.”