“Honoring Boston Legends” series:
For over 40 years, Bruins fans have looked forward to now-78 year old Rene Rancourt belting out the National Anthem before home games. He’s become as much of a fixture as any of the players who have slipped on the ol’ Black and Gold sweater. In recent years, he’s only added to the legend. First, by allowing the crowd to sing the National Anthem following the Marathon Bombing, he played a role in a seminal moment in local history. A couple of years later, he stood aside again and bravely allowed his fans to show their support by rightfully trashing the Voice winner, Jordan Smith, via social media. Smith had blasphemously been booked to sing the Anthem at the Winter Classic.
While Rene was clearly born to sing- his longtime ambition was to become an opera singer- it’s not just his velvety pipes that have carried him. Rancourt is a relentless worker. There is an urban legend that he used to rent out the local rink 3 times a week, to practice not only singing both anthems, but walking on the ice in his wing tips, and the arduous task of deciding how many fist pumps are appropriate. This routine sadly- and recently- came to an end, however, according to the same legend. It seems as though the hockey clinic he’d donate the ice time to, complained he accidentally concussed an 8 year old while working on a move where he would show off his Bruins’ socks. An HTTA investigation turned up no evidence of said complaint, but a story like that HAS to be true.
Through it all, Rene remains a true fixture in the community. HTTA may have turned up a source who claims Rancourt is such an ardent supporter of local businesses, rather than buying a tux, he rents a new one every day. Rumor has it, out of superstition, he insists on being measured every time. Rancourt is also willing to show up at fan events, and sing and fist pump his way through photo-ops and into the hearts of those in attendance.
Unfortunately, Rene has not been a stranger to controversy. He has spoken in the past about his experience with the Vietnam War. While a young man, he was about to be sent to Vietnam when he “entered a singing contest.” He won the contest, and a spot in GI Traveling show. He never had to leave the US. “You want to talk about luck”, Rancourt exclaimed, perhaps boastfully.
Another such incident occurred when he famously modeled his fist pump after Randy Burridge’s “stump pump”…whatever the hell that is. The story goes, Burridge was very upset, and confronted Rancourt. According to some, Rene laughed off Burridge and called him a “garbage player”. Many hard core fans may remember that “Garbage” was Burridge’s nickname while playing. To this on-looker, it appears Rancourt may have exerted his significant influence in an orchestrated attempt to shame, and perhaps intimidate Burridge. Nobody at all was reached for any comment on this situation.
Nevertheless, the Anthem remains the foremost symbol of this great country, and nobody does it like Rene. Many in these parts consider Rene Rancourt a friend, an icon, a Legend. Which is why we here at HTTA honor him, a Boston Legend.