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Doug Allen cites COVID protocols, leaves national anthem role with Sabres

He mentioned the importance of choice and freedom. 'I had COVID in January of 2021. I now have natural immunity, so I am choosing to not get vaccinated,' he said.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — According to a report by The Buffalo News, Doug Allen has stepped away from his longtime role of singing the national anthem before Buffalo Sabres games.

Allen, who is widely recognized by Sabres fans as the man who has sung the "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games for more than 25 years, said he had COVID in January in a letter posted Saturday morning. He added that "I now have natural immunity, so I am choosing to not get vaccinated."

Last week Erie County officials joined representatives from Pegula Sports & Entertainment to announce new health and safety protocols for Highmark Stadium and the KeyBank Center.

All guests 12 years old and older will be required to provide proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at any event. A test-out option is not allowed.

That policy for KeyBank Center began on Saturday night with the Eric Church concert.

Allen's letter read, in full:

To Whom it may concern,

This letter is to inform the great Hockey fans of Western New York and Canada, that because of the vaccination policy adopted by the Sabres Organization, I will not be singing the national anthems to start each Sabres home game this year. I am not anti-vaccine. There are many people at risk who should get it. But, I am old enough to understand the importance of choice and the freedom of being an American. I had COVID in January of 2021. I now have natural immunity, so I am choosing to not get vaccinated.

This was not an easy decision. I have no ill will toward the Sabres organization. I cannot thank the Sabres and the fans enough for the joy it has been to sing for you. For more than 25 years I have felt at home on that carpet sharing a patriotic moment with all of you. I pray that I will soon be able to do it again. Go Sabres! God Bless America!

Respectfully submitted,

Douglas P. Allen