to sing 'Oh, Canada'
St. Clairsville native Leo Welsh
will be singing the Canadian National Anthem, "Oh, Canada" prior to the dropping of the puck inside Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus.
The NHL formally announced the Anthem singers on Friday, but Welsh, who is the Blue Jackets' primary Anthem singer, actually knew a month ago that he'd have the opportunity.
had a good feeling he'd be part of the festivities tonight.
He'd been paying close attention to past NHL All-Star Games and found that the host team's main singer usually played a role.
"It's been basically a standard policy that the house singer sings the first Anthem," Welsh
said during a phone interview.
"The last all-star game was three years ago in Ottawa and the house singer sang the United States National Anthem."
and the two Canadian Mounties met for a rehearsal Saturday.
It'll be the first time that Welsh
has sang on the ice with another person(s).
"It'll be a little bit different, but I've sung in choirs my whole life, so I am used to harmonization," Welsh
"It won't be a huge change for me."
Another change, but only a minor one, is that Welsh
and the Canadian Mounties will be singing 'Oh, Canada' bilingually . The song will begin in English, shift to French and then finish in English.
Nerves won't be a factor tonight for Welsh
Basically, it's just another day at the office.
"I don't get nervous about singing in front of people, but I do get nervous over things I can't control," Welsh
"If I have a cold or a voice crack that I can't control ... that makes me nervous, but people don't bother me."
started singing the National Anthem at Blue Jacket games in 2003.
actually shared the duty with Livy Turnow.
since moved, and Welsh
has been the full-time singer since 2006.
moved to Columbus to pursue a career with the Columbus Opera
graduation from Ohio University
and then landed the opportunity with the Blue Jackets
Growing up in the Ohio Valley, Welsh
was a Penguins fan before the Blue Jackets
arrived on the scene in 2000.
The two franchises clashed in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs with Pittsburgh eventually eventually eliminating the Jackets in seven games.
Welsh's loyalty wasn't in question.
"I definitely grew up cheering for Mario Lemieux and the Pens because watching him and those other guys score all those goals made hockey easy to learn," Welsh
"But, now, I am all in for the Blue Jackets.
It was an easy transition."
Along with singing for the Blue Jackets'
home schedule, Welsh
sang the National Anthem at a Reds and Indians game, on back-to-back days last summer.
also sang for a Nationwide Race at the Kentucky Motor Speedway.
"I met a guy from the Tribe at a Blue Jackets'
game and the people at speedway were Jacket fans and contacted me personally," Welsh
also had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem prior to his
alma mater's opening-round playoff game against Coshocton in November at Red Devil Stadium.
"I am not sure I've had bigger goose bumps than I did singing at St. Clairsville," Welsh
"I have never sung as loud as I did that day.
It was just a real treat and honor to get to do something I really love to do at a place I love being."
Singing isn't just a hobby for Welsh
The owner of a music degree from Ohio.
Welsh has been a member of the Columbus Opera Company and is currently in rehearsals for his role in Marriage of Figaro.
role in that, which begins in March, may cause him to miss a few Blue Jacket dates, but that's not totally out of the ordinary.
"I miss a game every once in a while," Welsh
"When I got married it was December, so I missed a few games for our honeymoon and different things have come up, but most nights I am there."
wife, Lisa, who is a native of Hilliard, have three sons, Kevin (5), Kane (3) and Cameron (4 mo.).