NHL Pittsburgh Penguins: 18,000 Strong Sing Anthem at Consol Energy Center

Russ GodekContributor IIIApril 14, 2011

Fans partake in the "Whiteout" at Consol Energy Center
Fans partake in the "Whiteout" at Consol Energy Center

Last night, 18,000 playoff-hungry Pittsburgh Penguins' fans gave chills to TV viewers.

In a tradition normally done by proud crowds at Canadian arenas, the Penguins' fans sang along to the country's national anthem.

Rarely, if ever, have Americans done this at sporting events.

Last night, things changed.

In what is sure to become a tradition at Penguins' home playoff games, the anthem performer, Sgt. Bob Timney, lifted the microphone towards the crowd as they took over and sang in unison.

Normally, the Penguins use Jeff Jimmerson to sing the anthem, and he does a wonderful job. While it was special to have a military man sing it last night, the tradition of letting the crowd sing along should continue with Jimmerson.

The sound of more than 18,000 fans singing along was breathtaking and really was a sight to see.

So much of playoff hockey is the atmosphere that surrounds each game. A big part of that atmosphere is the fans.

Last night, the fans at Consol made the City of Pittsburgh and the Penguins proud. From chants of "Lets Go Pens" to roars every time a big hit or save was made, the fans were deeply invested in the game.

The addition of the "Whiteout," where fans are encouraged to dress in white shirts and jerseys, has also become a Pittsburgh staple and added to the experience.

The crowd feeds off the players and the players in-turn feed off the crowd.

The question of whether or not there really is a home-ice advantage is often brought up.

Well after last night, it should be put to rest.

Consol Energy Center proved to be a formidable place for an away team to compete. In it's first playoff game in history, Consol has already cemented itself as an amazing arena with a loud and passionate crowd.

Here is to hoping that the crowd singing along to the National Anthem becomes a great Pittsburgh tradition for many years to come.