WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton Oilers fans began singing the “Star-Spangled Banner” on the encouragement of country singer Brett Kissel Sunday before Game 3 of the Ducks and Oilers. Kissel’s in-arena microphone wasn’t working, prompting the fans to start singing.
Local country singer Brett Kissel came out to sing the U.S. national anthem decked out in an Oilers jersey and guitar prior to Game 3 of Edmonton’s Western Conference semifinal game against the Anaheim Ducks. But as he went to start the anthem, the microphone wouldn’t work.
“I was so nervous,” Kissel said on Monday. “There’s no noise coming back, I can’t hear anything, and no one can hear me… I was losing my mind. Everyone in the building knew something was off.”
“I’m thinking, ‘there’s no Plan B. What do you do?’ I was just thinking, ‘oh my God. What do you do?’”
Kissel attempted twice to sing the anthem before throwing his hands in the air, encouraging the crowd to sing along with him. What happened from there, he said, was magical.
More than 18,000 fans belted out the anthem, word for word.
“My cowboy hat goes off to them. They get all the credit for bailing me out,” he said.
“What could have been an epic anthem fail turned out to be a magical moment.”
For Patrick Maroon, originally from St. Louis, Mo., the moment was something to be remembered.
“As an American, for Canadians to sing the national anthem was pretty special to me. They should all be proud and it certainly got me going. That was pretty cool.”
Head coach Todd McLellan didn’t realize at first there was a technical issue, he thought it was another way to get Oilers’ fans involved in the game. He said it was further proof of the passion that comes from Oilers fans.
“Sometimes a glitch can produce a great moment and I thought once again, the people of Edmonton showed their respect to our neighbours down south. It speaks volumes of the quality of person that lives here in this community,” he said Monday morning.
“It would have been very easy for them to be quiet and not show the same energy and passion that they show for the Canadian anthem but I’m certainly proud to say that I’m from Edmonton today and I think everybody else that’s around me can say that as well.”
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) May 1, 2017
The gesture drew praise on social media as Kissel’s name began trending on Twitter.
— BRETT KISSEL (@BrettKissel) April 30, 2017
Pam Hobday, who was in the crowd Sunday night, said Edmonton should definitely feel proud.
“Everybody just decided, ‘OK, we’ve heard this song enough times, we know the words,’” she said.
“You could pan around the whole stadium and see that everybody was participating and very proud to participate.”
The game ended with a 6-3 win for the Ducks, who pulled the series back to 2-1.
With files from The Canadian Press.