John Amirante sings the national anthem before Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers, Monday, June 9, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
John Amirante sang his final national anthem for the Rangers Saturday night before Game 2 of their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Garden.
Amirante’s spirited finale – greeted by appreciative cheers from the sold-out crowd – concluded a 35-year run with the team that he told Newsday he has rooted for since he was 12 years old.
Amirante, 80, however, said he was told before this season that he would do only four games total – regular season and playoffs combined – and that the Garden’s handling of his final season upset him.
Amirante told the Cablevision-owned newspaper that he “wanted to retire with some dignity. I just didn’t want to be shoved out the door, it seems.” He said he at least would have appreciated an announcement so he and fans could both acknowledge the conclusion of his 35-year run.
A Garden spokesman said of Amirante: “The Rangers appreciate his years of service and wish him well.”
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