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Tension over the Vietnam war had fans leaving their seats for the Star Spangled Banner, so the Flyers owner started playing a recording of Smith singing God Bless America instead. She sang at Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals and has been a mainstay ever since.
A statue of Smith has since been erected outside, while inside Flyer fans are treated to audio tape of her singing alongside new vocalist Lauren Hart. Both women take turns singing via the magic of technology.
While the Blackhawks fans stand and cheer throughout Jim Cornelison's operatic version of the national anthem, Philly fans get pretty fired up when ol' Kate is brought out for the big games.
"I’ll be fired up when that national, er, God Bless America goes off tonight. They do a great job with it. The fans get into it. It should be great tonight. Great atmosphere for hockey, can’t wait," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said before the Flyers took their home ice for the Stanley Cup Finals. And then pounded his fist for emphasis.
Home sweet home indeed.
The Flyers have the best home record in the post season at 7-1.
But, Blackhawk fans warn, Kate Smith was the inspiration for the popular phrase, "It ain’t over til the fat lady sings."
So Windy City Fans, stand up and sing with ol' Kate. Sing Kate, sing!