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Sens fans catch on to sweet tune

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
From Fenway Park to Madison Square Garden and beyond, it has become a sporting anthem of sorts around the globe.


Seems like Ottawa Senators fans have decided that sing-along favourite, Sweet Caroline, deserves a place in their world, too. The Neil Diamond classic has become a hands-down winner among the Sens Army whenever they’re asked to choose which tune they’d like to croon at Senators home games.

“There’s something about that chorus that gets them every time,” said Senators public address announcer Stuntman Stu, who presides over the “contest” held at every game at Scotiabank Place. “That song is comfort food, like eating pizza at a game.”

Ask a Senators player about the appeal of the song by Diamond – who brings his latest tour to Scotiabank Place this Sunday – and the immediate response is a wide grin. The New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers have included it as part of their repertoire at home games in recent seasons. Now it appears to be Ottawa’s turn and it’s clearly the people’s choice.

“It’s easy to sing. You remember the words,” said forward Antoine Vermette. “I think it’s pretty entertaining. It’s easy to get going. It’s a fun song and it can reach out to different people and different ages. I think that’s part of it.”

Veteran defenceman Luke Richardson, who was born the same year (1969) that Sweet Caroline was recorded, agreed with that assessment.

“Every generation kind of sings along (with it),” he said. “It’s kind of a feel-good song that I think bridges the generation gap. In a stadium of 20,000 people, you’ve got infants to elders and everybody can sing along together.”

While the words to the song are flashed on the Scotiabank Place scoreboard, the chorus is catchy enough that the rendition grows louder and louder with each word. It isn’t difficult to be lured into joining the fun.

"It’s easy to sing. You remember the words. I think it's pretty entertaining. It's easy to get going. It's a fun song and it can reach out to different people and different ages. I think that's part of it." - Antoine Vermette
“Neil Diamond’s kind of got that genre down, the sing-alongs,” said defenceman Brendan Bell, who isn’t exactly part of that generation – he’s 25. “It’s one of those songs that has a good melody and you can understand the words, which is a big thing.

“People like to sing along because they know the words. Everybody likes the ‘ba, ba, ba’ part, too. I think that people like to sing along and like to think they’re rock stars. Maybe that’s part of it.”

Added Richardson: “Even if you don’t know the song, it doesn’t take long before you (pick) up a line or two and you can somehow follow along. It’s one of those ones where it’s not a rockin’ stadium song, but it’s a feel-good, brings people together kind of song.”

Tickets are still available to Diamond’s 8 p.m. show on Sunday at Scotiabank Place, which will be a busy place for concerts in the next few days. Sarah Brightman appears on Friday night, while James Blunt takes the stage on Saturday evening and Neil Young has a Tuesday date set.

To purchase tickets to any of the shows, log on to www.CapitalTickets.ca.


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