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McLachlan excited to perform at Heritage Classic

by Tal Pinchevsky

VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver resident for the past 26 years, Grammy Award-winning singer Sarah McLachlan has seen and done it all in her adopted hometown.

Since moving west from Nova Scotia to begin her music career, McLachlan has toured the world and sold millions of records. But she'll add a new distinction to her resume Sunday when she sings the Canadian national anthem at BC Place to kick off the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators (4 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"I don't usually play in places this big. [I'm] usually in theaters. This will be fun. It will be exciting," McLachlan said. "It looks epic. It looks amazing out there. One thing I noticed is the rink looks small because it's such a massive space. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

McLachlan's Canucks fandom goes beyond simply rooting for the team. At the recent Dice and Ice charity event, which raises funds for the Canucks for Kids Foundation, she participated in a rookie ritual as first-year players Zac Dalpe, Eddie Lack, Jeremy Welsh and Ryan Stanton joined McLachlan on stage and serenaded those in attendance with a rendition of McLachlan's classic ballad, "I Will Remember You."

"That was real sweet," McLachlan said. "There were four of the rookies. It was a roasting kind of thing and I thought, 'I don't want to do anything too mean to them when I sing with them.' They were so terrified because they had no idea what's going to happen. It was a very gentle hazing."

The Canucks will enjoy a reunion of sorts at BC Place with McLachlan, whose new album, "Shine On," comes out in May. But another member of McLachlan's inner circle also will be participating in the events surrounding the Heritage Classic.

McLachlan's boyfriend, longtime NHL player Geoff Courtnall, will be part of a ceremony honoring members of the Canucks team that advanced to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers. Her relationship with Courtnall doesn't just enhance McLachlan's appreciation for hockey. It allows her a level of anonymity around Vancouver she didn't enjoy previously.

"It's great for me because when we go out now, nobody looks at me," McLachlan said. "They just look at him and say, 'Oh, it's Geoff Courtnell.' Great, I can just disappear."

All of the ceremonies and pageantry should make for a fun day for McLachlan, but like everyone else in attendance she's looking forward to enjoying the game.

"I think there's going to be a whole lot of excitement and anticipation and great energy," she said. "I'm certainly looking forward to being a part of that."

McLachlan said she hopes this game turns out better than the last time she sang the Canadian anthem.

"I'm afraid to even be here. Vancouver lost 6-2 or something the last time I sang the anthem," she said. "Hopefully that's not going to happen this time."

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