17 years ago, Dennis K. Morgan earned the honor of being the National Anthem singer for Nashville Predator home games. With more than 185 performances to his credit, Morgan wasn’t happy when the NHL team replaced him with some of Music City’s biggest stars during the team’s epic Stanley Cup run this past season.
Morgan shared his disappointment before the season concluded, but left the door open to continue with the Preds. However, in a new radio interview with Canada’s SportsNet 590: The Fan, Morgan made it clear that he no longer wanted to associate with the hockey team.
“Even in the unlikely event that I was invited, I don’t want to have an association with the organization any longer,” Morgan said this week.
Morgan, a healthcare IT recruiting manager, first spoke to The Tennessean in May and recalled his disappointment when Carrie Underwood replaced him by singing the anthem prior to Game 3 of the playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks.
“They came to me and said the captain’s (Mike Fisher) wife asked to sing the anthem that night,” Morgan said in May. “It was presented to me as a one night only kind of thing and I agreed to it. Then they continued to bring in these other singers and touted them as ‘A-listers,’ which kind of hurt me.”
Over the course of the Preds impressive playoff run, the organization welcomed Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Faith Hill, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, and others to sing the National Anthem, causing a flurry of home game excitement with the surprise performances. But, Morgan insists that he doesn’t blame any of the artists who shared the honor. His frustration falls more on the organization for not honoring their contract.
“I don’t blame Carrie Underwood or Luke Bryan or any of the other acts who have performed,” Morgan told The Tennessean. “I’ve been as good-natured as I can be. With my closest friends, I’ve certainly shared my disappointment. But most of the time I’ll toe the company line and say, ‘Why am I not singing? Because I don’t have seven Grammys, I’m not married to the captain, she’s a whole lot prettier than me,’ that kind of thing and try to leave it at that.”
Morgan’s comments sparked backlash from Predators fans. As a result the singer went to the press to give his side of the story and try to clarify any misunderstandings.
“I’m not trying to drag the Preds’ name through the mud like mine has been, I just want a chance to clear my own name,” Morgan told SportsNet 590: The Fan this week.
For Morgan, the issue wasn’t so much about being upstaged as it was about wanting to reach a milestone anniversary and honor his commitment to the Preds. Prior to landing a contract with the Nashville team, Morgan sang the anthem for the Dallas Stars. In two years he would have celebrated his 25th year as an NHL National Anthem singer.
His contract with the Nashville Predators expired last week and the singer hasn’t been contacted by the organization since.
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