Celebrity Hockey Players


John Kerry (USA; Aurora, Colo.); politician and current US Secretary of State — While attending Yale University, Kerry played freshman and JV hockey, and his love for the game has never waned. A couple of years ago, at age 68, he was seen sporting two black eyes and a broken nose—the result of a pick-up hockey game. That wasn’t Kerry’s first trip to the emergency room: He attributed his earlier hip surgery and later knee surgery to hockey (and other sports); and before he entered Congress he had jaw surgery for a bad bite exacerbated by a run-in with a goal post.

Taylor Kitsch (Canada; Kelowna, BC); actor, model — Best known for his role as Tim Riggins in the NBC series Friday Night Lights, Kitsch also appeared in True Detective and in the movie Battleship. He played junior hockey for the Langley Hornets in the British Columbia Hockey League, before a knee injury ended his career.

Avril Lavigne (Canada; Belleville, Ont.); singer, songwriter — Since her professional debut, Lavigne has sold more than 30 million albums and over 50 million singles worldwide. Long before she sang about “Sk8r Boi,” she was a skater girl. Lavigne hit the ice not long after she learned to walk: her dad had her on skates on their backyard pond when she was 2 years old, and by age 10 she was playing in the boys’ hockey league in her small town of Napanee, Ontario. “Everyone plays hockey [where I’m from],” she says. “I grew up at the hockey arena.” At age 16, however, she hung up her skates after signing a recording contract.

Denis Leary (USA; Worcester, Mass.); standup comic, TV and movie actor — Leary has appeared in more than 40 films, including The Sandlot, Suicide Kings, Wag the Dog, The Thomas Crown Affair, and the Rescue Me TV series. As a kid, Leary wanted to play pro hockey, but lousy grades kept him off the high school team. He still takes to the ice, and separated his shoulder a few years ago. To raise money for charity, Leary hosts an annual ice hockey event that pits celebrities against legendary hockey stars. He has a backyard hockey rink at his home in Connecticut, with piping installed below the ice surface to help keep the ice frozen.

Matthew LeBlanc (USA; Newton, Mass.); actor, comedian, producer — Best known for his role as Joey Tribbiani in the NBC sitcom Friends and its spin-off Joey, LeBlanc has played hockey since he was a kid and all through high school, as a defenseman. His team won the state championship, and went to Canada to play in Montreal at the provincial championship.

Matisyahu (USA; West Chester, Pa.); reggae rapper, alternative-rock musician — Matthew Paul Miller, as he is otherwise known, grew up playing hockey in suburban Westchester County, New York. When he ultimately moved to Los Angeles, he wanted his children to play as well. Through the LA Kings, who play his music at their home games, he connected with former NHL player Luc Robitaille. That friendship ultimately led him to Park City, Utah, where he took part in the Luc Robitaille Celebrity Shootout to benefit the Echoes of Hope charity.

Mike Myers (Canada; Scarborough, Ont.); actor, comedian, screenwriter, film producer — Myers is known for his run as a featured performer on Saturday Night Live, and for playing the title roles in the Wayne’s World, Austin Powers, and Shrek films. While taking a break from filming movies, Myers worked to improve his game. He learned to be a better skater so he could be a better player.

Nickelback (Canada; band formed in Hanna, AB); rock musicians — One of the most commercially successful Canadian groups, having sold more than 50 million albums worldwide and ranking as the eleventh best-selling music act, and the second best-selling foreign act in the U.S. of the 2000s, behind The Beatles. “I didn’t play a lot. I skated a lot,” says lead singer Chad Kroeger. “I play now when we’re not on tour more than when I was younger.” A few years ago, the band suited up to play with the NY Islanders.

Michael Ontkean (Canada; Vancouver, BC); actor —Best known for playing the minor league player Ned Braden in the cult classic Slap Shot, Ontkean grew up playing hockey and earned a hockey scholarship to the University of New Hampshire, a Division I program playing in the ECAC. In his three years in the varsity program, Ontkean scored 63 goals and 111 points in 85 games played.

Matthew Perry (USA; Williamstown, Mass.); TV and film actor — Mostly known for playing Chandler Bing in the long-running TV series Friends, as well as for roles in the movies Fools Rush In and The Whole Nine Yards. He enjoys playing ice hockey and softball in his spare time.

Keanu Reeves (Lebanon; Beirut); actor, film director, producer, musician — Reeves’ memorable film roles include the Bill and Ted franchise, action thrillers Point Break and Speed, and the science fiction-action trilogy The Matrix. Reeves grew up primarily in the Yorkville section of Toronto, where he was a successful goalie in high school and earned the nickname “The Wall.” He dreamed of playing hockey for Canada but an injury dashed his hopes for a hockey career.

Tim Robbins (USA; West Covina, Calif.); actor, screenwriter, director, producer, activist, musician — Known for his roles in the movies Bull Durham, Jacob’s Ladder, The Shawshank Redemption, and Mystic River (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), and for directing films such as Dead Man Walking. Robbins is a passionate hockey player who participates regularly in the New York adult recreational hockey community.

Kiefer Sutherland (UK; Paddington, London); actor, film producer, film director — Sutherland spent his childhood in and around Toronto, before moving to LA to pursue a career in acting. Stand by Me was his first US film and he appeared in more than 70 films, notably Young Guns, Young Guns II, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Flashback, A Few Good Men, The Vanishing, The Three Musketeers, and The Sentinel. Sutherland has been associated most widely with the role of Jack Bauer, on the critically acclaimed television series 24. He considers himself a “very, very average hockey player” who dearly loves the game, and occasionally plays with producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Alan Thicke (Canada; Kirkland Lake, Ont.); actor, songwriter, game and talk show host — Known for his role as Jason Seaver, the dad in the TV series Growing Pains, he is also the real-life father of actor Brennan Thicke and singer Robin Thicke. Thicke, a lifelong hockey fan, once had his nose broken by Gordie Howe in a celebrity hockey game. He later lost five teeth and required 30 stitches after getting hit in the face by a flying puck while playing hockey with actor Michael Vartan. Sadly, Thicke passed away on December 13, 2016, from a massive heart attack suffered while doing what he loved most—playing hockey, with his son Carter.

Michael Vartan (France; Boulogne-Billancourt); actor — Known for portraying Michael Vaughn in the TV action drama Alias, and for his role in the TNT medical drama Hawthorne. In his limited free time, Vartan has fed his obsession with sports, particularly ice hockey. “If it weren’t for acting, I’d give anything to play a professional sport,” he has said, still holding on to his lifelong dream. Vartan plays in Luc Robitaille’s celebrity charity hockey matches.

Anthony Weiner (USA; Brooklyn, NY); politician and former U.S. congressional representative (D-NY) — A once-rising star on the political circuit, Weiner fell from grace after it was revealed he sent a link to a sexually suggestive photograph of himself via his public Twitter account to a woman who was following him on Twitter. These days, Weiner can be found playing rec league hockey as goalie at New York City’s Chelsea Piers.

Wil Wheaton (USA; Burbank, Calif.); actor, blogger, voice actor, writer — Known for his role in the film Stand By Me and for his portrayal of Wesley Crusher in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. More recently he appeared in the TV series Eureka. “As soon as I could put on skates and not fall down, I wanted to play ice hockey,” he says. “I was 16 when I started playing, and I played until I was in my early 20s. I was a goalie. I turn 40 this July, and I’m spending the first half of the year getting back into shape so I can join a 40-and-over league here in LA and start playing again.”

Wilbur Wright (USA; Millville, Ind.); inventor, aviation pioneer — Wright, along with his brother Orville, is credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful airplane. He was a bright and studious child, and excelled in school. With his outgoing personality, Wright made plans to attend Yale University after high school. In the winter of 1885-86, however, an accident changed the course of his life. He was badly injured in a hockey game when another player’s hockey stick hit him in the face. Though most of his injuries healed, the incident plunged Wright into a depression. He did not receive his high school diploma, canceled plans for college, and retreated to his family’s home. It was then that he turned his energies into inventing, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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