The National Hockey League announced on Thursday that NHL fans and country music stars Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Charles Kelley and Chris Young will serve as celebrity coaches for the NHL All-Star Game on Sunday, Jan. 31.
They’ll join actual coaches Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers, Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars, Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings and Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals in orchestrating line combinations, running systems and … oh, wait, it’s 3-on-3, and thus a chaotic game of shinny? Maybe they’ll strum us a few ballads to maintain the proper mood balance.
Gill is a veteran Predators fan who once wore a shirt that proclaimed Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi is a “sissy” to a playoff game.
Dierks Bentley has been literally preparing for this moment for seven years.
Charles Kelley is a founding member of Lady Antebellum and a damn fine looking man, to the point where maybe he should be an honorary Swede.
Chris Young is an outfielder for the Red Sox. Wait, he’s that guy from “P.C.U.” that isn’t Piven or Spade. Wait, no, he’s some other country guy, too.
We look forward to seeing which divisional teams they’re chosen to coach, if only to see Vince Gill smash a guitar over another singer’s head when they try to choose Barry Trotz’s bench. And, also, to see four grown men fight over who gets to coach “the south.”
But mostly we’re really, really upset for the NHL assistant coaches that have worked hard all year to earn a place on an All-Star Game coaching staff. As a great man once said of these “joke” candidates and the sanctity:
“All you have to do is be smart enough to take the opportunity [and decline the invite]. Smart enough not to go to Nashville so you can be the centre of attention and take that attention away from talented, hardworking colleagues who actually may have distinguished themselves and earned their invitation.”