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Voice of Victory: Patrick Lauder’s Arizona Coyotes journey

© Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Coyotes have a history of players who’ve battled through grueling NHL seasons, lacing up their skates year after year.

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Names like Keith Tkachuk, Teppo Numminen, Shane Doan and Clayton Keller are just some players who have made their presence felt whenever they step foot on the ice while repping the Coyotes. 

However, one voice has echoed through Coyotes’ history for more than 20 years: Patrick Lauder, the team’s anthem singer.

For over two decades, Lauder’s voice has been a franchise staple, stirring the hearts of Coyotes fans. But before becoming the team’s anthem singer, his journey was a surprising melody of football, music and an unexpected audition.

Northern Roots, Musical Routes

Born in Tacoma, raised in Vancouver, and having spent time in Seattle, Lauder hails from the state of Washington.

Growing up, he instantly loved music. Lauder participated in choirs, ensembles and other vocal competitions, believing it “felt like a release.”

In his teens and early adulthood, Lauder aspired to emulate the music teachers he had growing up, while also indulging in sports.

“I went to Fort Vancouver High School, played football and was an All-State kicker my senior year in 1982,” Lauder said. “Then I played a couple years of football for Central Washington University while also majoring in music since I wanted to be a music teacher.”

As he continued college, though, Lauder did switch his major to business. He worked in finance for Nike in Portland, Oregon amongst other jobs before coming to Arizona.

Yet, his passion for performing remained undiminished.

Desert Dreams: A New Chapter

After living in the Pacific Northwest, Lauder moved to Arizona in 1995.

Before being introduced to the Coyotes, he never went to an NHL game in general.

“I’ve been to a couple junior league games like the [Portland] Winterhawks games and maybe I have went to a few Seattle Thunderbirds games when I lived up there,” Lauder said. “I hadn’t ever seen an NHL game live and in person before coming here [Arizona].”

That would all change as Lauder was introduced to the opportunity to try out for the national anthem singing gig in a building near the ASU Gammage.

“Someone that I knew was a karaoke host and one of his friends said there were auditions for the new hockey team coming to town,” Lauder stated with a slight chuckle. “At the time, I didn’t know anything about a hockey team coming here, but I went to the auditions. After I sang at the second day of the auditions, I was asked if I wanted to sing at the first game and I did.”

Howling the Anthem

In his debut for the Coyotes, Lauder belted the national anthem in the first-ever home game in the history of their franchise against the Edmonton Oilers on Sept. 21, 1996. 

The video showcases Patrick Lauder’s debut performance, where he sang the national anthem during the first-ever home game of the Arizona Coyotes against the Edmonton Oilers on Sept. 21, 1996. (Video credit: Patrick Lauder)

“There were some nerves,” Lauder said when reflecting on the performance. “I did a few Trail Blazers games when I lived in Portland. But this was my first experience in the NHL, and the first time on ice while I was freezing cold. It went fine.”

Instantly after he sang, he was asked to perform again and firmly said, “Absolutely.”

“From that point on, any time they called, I told them that whenever I am available, any time you need me, I will be there,” Lauder expressed. “For the first few seasons, I probably did seven or eight home games, splitting amongst other people. Building up over the years, Mark Iralson (former Coyotes Director of Game Operations and Events Manager) wanted me to be the official anthem singer.”

Lauder ended up singing more than half of every season onwards until 2012. Arizona made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals that year, and he did every game in the playoffs (42).

2012: Year of the Lifelong Impression

The Washington native has made so many memories during his time as the Coyotes’ anthem singer, but especially in 2012 which meant so much to him.

“My favorite game I attended was the last game of the [regular] season and we were on the verge of winning the Pacific Division,” Lauder said. “It was Fan Appreciation Night in 2012 and I went out to sing and the mic battery was dead.”

“I started singing and nothing was happening, flipping the mic switch on and off with my thumb and started sweating. But the fans didn’t miss a beat and started singing in my key and cadence and they just took over, it was amazing. To just stand there in the middle of the ice and hear your version of how you sing come back at you, that gave me chills and thinking about it even now gives me chills.”

Clinching the division championship, the fans inside Arena (now Desert Diamond Arena) all wore white shirts, jerseys and sweatshirts among other attire during the playoffs, a tradition dawning the name, “Whiteout.”

Out of all the sports moments he has been a part of, the “Whiteout” was his most memorable.

“The energy at a ‘Whiteout’ is unlike anything that I have ever experienced,” Lauder said. “I’ve performed in front of sold-out Cardinals and Diamondbacks games, but when there was a ‘Whiteout’ in Glendale, it was insane to see the sea of white and feel all the energy that the playoffs brought.”

Fan of the Fans

Whenever he comes to games, Lauder loves the interactions he has with the fans and staff he is surrounded by.

Former Coyotes in-arena host Kristen Keogh reminisced over a 17-year friendship she has had with Lauder, voicing just how important he has been to the franchise.

“Patrick is one of the great legends of this organization,” Keogh noted. “Not only is his singing beyond beautiful, but his passion for the team and the ‘Yotes fans shined through every performance… If anyone else ever sang the anthem, I spent a good portion of the game fielding ‘Where is Patrick’ questions from the fans. He is truly loved.”

Grant Browning, a ‘Yotes fan who went to a plethora of games in Glendale growing up, recollected memories of Lauder and how he amped up the crowd before the team went to battle.

“Especially when we had that big playoff rivalry with the [Detroit] Red Wings in the late 2000s, Patrick’s voice really got the crowd going,” Browning stated. “The crowd sang in sync and once he finished, every fan in [Arena] roared.”

Echoing the same sentiment as Browning, Coyotes fan Payton Founch believes Lauder expresses his love for what he does is clearly evident every time he performs.

“When I go to the games and see Patrick sing, it’s amazing,” Founch said. “I know the arena has changed but people still sing along with him just as if the team was still in Glendale. You can see that he looks around as he sings and enjoys being in that environment.”

As a note to the fans, Lauder is very gracious and appreciative of the response he has received throughout his time with the Coyotes.

“All I want to say is thank you,” Lauder said. “I have made so many friends out of fans. Just so grateful for all the love and support that they have shown me all these years.”

The Future

While there have been other opportunities that have been offered to him to perform, he has always circled back to the Desert Dogs.

After accumulating 20-plus years of work with the ‘Yotes, Lauder expressed that this is his calling as he can mesh his interest in sports and music together.

“I always joked when people asked me if I wanted to be on Broadway,” Lauder said. “I never had that thought but after I started singing the national anthem for various events like the Coyotes, that was my Carnegie Hall. Being out there, combining my love of sports and music and being able to share the national anthem with everybody, it’s special.”

Lauder’s journey from a music-loving teenager in Washington to the beloved anthem singer of the Arizona Coyotes is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance.

His voice has become as much a part of the Coyotes’ identity as the players themselves.

As the Coyotes continue their journey, one thing is certain: when the crowd falls silent and the first notes of the anthem ring out, it is the voice of Patrick Lauder that will lead them into the game.

“I love the whole experience,” Lauder said. “This is where I feel like I have belonged, this is where I got this really neat opportunity locally and I am going to ride it for as long as it goes.”

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Reporter Alec Cipollini covers Phoenix Sports News for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account, @AlecCipollini

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