Canucks owner severs ties with anthem singer over performance at anti-mask rally
VANCOUVER -- A long-time Canucks anthem singer will no longer to be belting out "O Canada" to fans at Rogers Arena.
Ahead of Mark Donnelly's scheduled performance of the Canadian anthem at the BC Christmas Freedom Rally, an anti-mask demonstration, the owner of the Vancouver Canucks announced that Donnelly will no longer sing for them.
Franceso Aquilini responded to a newspaper article via a tweet, asking the Vancouver Sun to update its headline to describe Donnelly as a “former Canucks anthem singer.”
The article was about Donnelly’s participation in the anti-mask rally.
A Canucks spokesperson said he isn’t aware of any conversation taking place between Aquilini and Donnelly before the tweet was sent.
Prior to the tweet, Canucks chief operating officer Trent Carroll issued a statement, saying, “Mark Donnelly is acting independently and we hope the public understands he is not representing the Vancouver Canucks. We encourage everyone to wear a mask and to follow the provincial health orders. They are in place to help everyone in BC to stop Covid-19 from spreading in our province.”
At the rally on Saturday, Donnelly performed the anthem as planned. Before beginning, he addressed the crowd, some of whom could be heard shouting words of support.
"Since I guess there's a good chance I'm no longer employed over at Rogers Arena, I'm going to use the old words," Donnelly said, referring to the version of "O Canada" that includes the line "in all thy sons command," which was replaced with "in all of us command" in 2018.