Canadian rock band Nickelback isn't shying away from returning to a major sports event, performing at the 2012 NHL Awards on Wednesday with two live performances at the Wynn Las Vegas.
It's been seven months since 55,000 fans signed a petition asking the NFL to keep Vancouver's Nickelback, which has sold more than 50 million albums, from perform at the annual U.S. Thanksgiving football game, between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.
Nickelback, formed in 1995 in Hanna, Alberta, got the last laugh. There was only a smattering of boos at the game, while the CD the band was promoting -- "Here and Now" -- was propelled to No. 2 on the Billboard charts.
The 2012 NHL Awards will honor the best regular-season players in a wide range of categories, including most valuable player (Hart Trophy), outstanding goaltender (Vezina Trophy), outstanding defenseman (Norris Trophy) and outstanding rookie (Calder Trophy). Actors Ray Liotta, Kevin Connolly, Matthew Perry and Vince Vaughn are among the celebrities scheduled to attend.
Playbook had a chance to spend a few minutes with Nickelback's lead singer, Chad Kroeger, to talk about hockey and fans.
Being from Canada, I can assume you’re hockey fans?
"Growing up in Alberta during the dynasty days, it was tough not to be an Edmonton Oilers fan. Not to say that there weren’t a couple of Calgary Flames fans, too. It was just a great time to be growing up there. It was a great time for hockey in Alberta."
Did you play?
"I didn’t play a lot. I skated a lot. I play now when we’re not on tour more than when I was younger."
Are there a lot of ice rinks up there that you can play year round?
"Well, I built one in my basement of my home. I’ve got a 5,000-square-foot playing surface in my basement. It’s perfect for three-on-three. It has boards and zamboni. It’s pretty cool."
You’re going to be performing at the NHL Awards on Wednesday. Will you be like a kid in a candy store?
“Absolutely. Those guys are warriors. They are modern-day gladiators. They all deserve the awards just for making it through another season.”
Your last big big performance at a sporting event was the Thanksgiving football game for which 55,000 fans created a petition asking you not to play. You obviously did. And then you created this Funny or Die Web video about it. How did that happen?
“Will Ferrell’s production company of Funny or Die thought it was evidently as funny as we did. They wanted to poke fun at all of it. We were very much on board obviously. We jumped in with both feet. We spent the whole day laughing and acting silly. We were just rebutting the silliness.”
With you selling out many shows on this "Here and Now" tour, are you laughing all the way to the bank?
“You never get into this for the money. Anybody who wants to get in this business for the money, it’s going to be an uphill battle. It’s a small percentile of people who see one dime out of the music business. We’re just fortunate that way.”
So things are pretty good for you guys?
“We have no complaints. We’re getting to travel around and be the circus. We play songs for people and make sure they leave with smiles on their faces.”