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I'm not even sure why they play the national anthem(s) at hockey games. It's not like this was team Canada versus team USA. Other people have pointed out that the 'stars' of the Sharks are actually Canadian, and as far as I can tell, there were players from at least five different countries playing last night.

I guess the anthems are played out of 'respect' for the country, or maybe it's just tradition. Maybe it's because we identify hockey with part of our national 'being' or something. It just (to me) seems silly to do it when the league has become more diverse than it ever has been before. I guess the same could be said for football, baseball or basketball.

I also wonder when singing 'O Canada' actually became common at sporting events and why it did. Does it mirror trends that occured in the States? I also wonder if people sang 'God Save the Queen' or even 'the Maple Leaf Forever' at prior to games before 'O Canada' became the national anthem. If they did not, why did it change.

Also, do they do this in Europe, or just in North America? I know that when I've been to soccer games in England, the anthem wasn't played beforehand.
 
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