When you think of stars on ice, images of former Olympians in sequins pulling triple salchows are conjured well ahead of celebs making saucer passes and slamming each other into the boards. Activities that may mess up your smile rank pretty low on the to-do lists of those who earn their living gallivanting in front of cameras.
But many Hollywood types bitten by the hockey bug need a fix every now and then. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, best known for blockbuster films like Top Gun and Armageddon as well as the Amazing Race and the CSI television series, has been organizing low-key weekly pickup hockey games catering to celebrities craving ice time for over a decade.
While fans familiar with the charity celebrity hockey circuit have all seen vets like Alan Thicke, Tim Robbins and Dennis Leary take a few wristers, the game has since snagged many more notables in its wide net. Take a look at the who’s who of Chill’s all-star celebrity line-up.
Michael Bublé, “The Swingman”
Growing up in Burnaby, B.C., the jazzy crooner worshipped the Vancouver Canucks. If his hockey skills were on par with his pipes he would’ve traded in all the Grammy Awards for a shot at hockey glory in a heartbeat. While on tour in the U.K. last year, Bublé suited up and took a practice with the EIL’s Nottingham Panthers. “Take your best shots at me and keep the elbows high,” he goaded the team before taking to the ice. Further proving his love of the game, Bublé has a minority ownership stake in the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants, joining top brass linemates Gordie Howe and Pat Quinn.
Steve Carell, “The Slapstick”
Long before presiding over the paper pushers at Dunder Mifflin as alter ego Michael Scott, Carell played goalie on his high school hockey team in Concord, Massachusetts. During a season 2 episode of The Office, Carell takes the gang out ice-skating to celebrate his birthday and shows up in full hockey gear – stick and all. “I thought about playing in the NHL but you’re on the road so much you have no time to spend with your wife and kids … and I really want a wife and kids,” he quipped, explaining the get-up. Visit ichill.ca/sports for a clip of the comedian demonstrating a wacky goalie training ritual. Plus, every team needs “the funny guy.” Check out Steve Carells goalie training video below.
Justin Bieber, “The Youngblood”
The Biebs was going top shelf on goalies and rocking opponents against the boards long before he topped the pop charts as a Billboard No. 1 fixture. Along with skateboarding and chess, hockey is one of Stratford, Ont.’s most famous son’s ways of unwinding when he’s not performing in arenas or being chased like a Beatle. When he moved to Atlanta to start recording, and before his touring schedule got too hectic, Bieber played the 2008-2009 season with the Atlanta Knights hockey team wearing No. 18 and has been known to schedule in a skate on days off from the singing grind. His air hockey chops aren’t too shabby either. Earlier this year he took on Wayne Gretzky on CBS’s The Talk in an air hockey showdown and matched wits with The Great One in a 1-1 draw.
Taylor Kitsch, “The Bruiser”
Wonder why Tim Riggins was so good at laying people out on Friday Night Lights? Growing up in Kelowna B.C., Kitsch (best known for his role as the buff, constantly brooding Dillon Panthers fullback on Friday Night Lights) played Junior A hockey in the BCHL for the Langley Hornets. While filming FNL he played pickup hockey in Austin, Texas with other expat puck heads. He’s also participated in one of Luc Robitaille’s Celebrity Shoot Outs. We’ll find out if Kitsch can hold his own on Hollywood’s first line in Spring 2012. He’s playing the titular role in Disney’s sci-fi blockbuster John Carter where he’ll have to deke out hordes of martians to score the princess.
Dierks Bentley, “IceHole”*
Despite toting his hockey gear wherever he goes, this country star has faced more injury strumming his six-string than skating around on the ice. He once tore his ACL jumping off a stage riser and he’s also chipped his teeth on his microphone. Playing hockey, he’s never suffered anything worse than a hard puck to the shin. He told Fourth Period magazine that, for him, concerts are just like hockey games in that when he goes out on stage he tapes his boots in the same fashion that he laces up his skates—using duct tape for extra tightness. Bentley also revealed that on and off the ice he relishes playing the frontman: “I’m the centre and bring my bass players up on my left [wing], my guitar boys up on my right [wing] and the drummer’s the goalie, making sure nothing gets past us!”
[Editor’s Note: Bentley’s nickname is not a judgment about his playing antics. The Iceholes is actually the name of the Nashville men’s league team he plays on.]
Check out Carell’s goalie training ritual: