Dierks Bentley is a well-known music star that has seen seven of his singles reach the top of the country charts over his career, winning multiple awards in the process. Oh, and he has a deep passion for the game of hockey.
By Ryan Porth | Photos by Danny Clinch
Special Edition 2011
In the 13
years since the Predators arrived in Nashville, the
team has slowly converted a pigskin town into a legion
of loyal puckheads. One such fan is country superstar
Dierks Bentley, a chart topping, award-winning artist
who counts hockey amongst his great passions. Whenever
he gets a chance, the Feel That Fire singer puts down
his guitar, laces up, and hits the ice with his local
men's hockey league, the Nashville IceHoles.
We caught up with the 35-year-old Arizona native, who
compares his game to Nashville's Jordin Tootoo and
explains how a concert for him is essentially like a
How did your passion for hockey start?
Dierks Bentley: The Predators moved to town (in
the late 90s) and I just remember going to a
game and immediately falling in love with the
sport. I played some rollerblade hockey before
that, but being down in Tennessee it's hard to
find some ice; all I could think about was
playing hockey. A buddy of mine from Toronto
gave me some gear and I went down and signed up
for a men's league. I kind of had to see it live
to get into it.
So the Preds coming to Nashville had a big
effect on you becoming a hockey fan?
Yeah, it's had a huge effect on Nashville in
general. When I first signed up for hockey, I
signed up for a B league and I barely knew how
to skate and hold a stick at the same time. Now,
I'm still in that league and I'm a lot better
than I was a few years back. The men's league
has really developed because of the Predators.
How many Predators games do you get to attend
or watch during the year?
It's tough because I'm on the road so much. I
get off the road and I have a choice with my
free time to either watch or play hockey, and I
usually choose to play. I try to make six or
seven Preds game a year. It's not as much as I'd
like, but being married and having two kids
makes it kind of tougher.
I hear you have your own term for The Fourth
For us, it means going to a bar after the game
and finishing the game at the bar – the fourth
period. We've got some guys that are pretty good
for the first three periods, but their strongest
period is always the fourth period. They may not
be able to pull their weight on the ice for
three periods, but they do a fine job in the
fourth! It's half the reason why they're on the
Talk about the team and league you play in. I
hear you have a clever team name?
Yeah, our team name is the Nashville IceHoles...
great team! What I love about the IceHoles is we
only have 10 guys; I can't stand being on a team
with more than 10 players because every three
shifts wouldn't be enough ice-time. I want to
walk off the ice just completely drained.
10 years of playing, what's the best game you've had?
I had a great game the other night. We were playing with seven guys
against a much better team with 15. It came down to the third period and
we were down 4-2, and I had the tying goal which was a deflection. In our
league, to be able to plan that out and have it intentionally deflected
and have it go in, that's more impressive than a slapshot or a wrist shot.
I pulled that off and I angled my stick just right to get it over the
What position and style do you play?
play center if I can because it's my favorite position, and also left wing
because I'm right-handed and it's a lot easier for me to come down the
left side and shoot. I play pretty aggressively – the more comfortable you
are on skates, the more aggressive you can be. It's a non-check league,
but there's a ton of checking going on. What I lack in talent, I make up
for in hustle. When I come off the ice, I'm rocking back and forth like a
heroin addict and everybody's like "Are you okay?" and I'm just like
"Yeah, I can't breathe." It makes the beer in the fourth period taste that
So would you compare
your game to anyone on the Preds? Maybe Jordin Tootoo?
(Laughs) I do love Toots. He's one of my good friends. What I love about
Tootoo is that some around the league can't stand him, thinking he's out
there just looking for hits and cheap shots. When I see Tootoo, I love the
hustle that he plays with.
What does your family think about you playing?
They love it. I think they are more worried about me getting hurt, but
I've gotten more injuries on stage than I've gotten on the ice. I've torn
my ACL jumping off a stage riser, I've chipped my teeth on the microphone,
got some stitches in my knee for sliding across the deck on a slippery
night. Knock on wood I've never been hurt in hockey. I've taken some pucks
to the shin and couple whacks with a stick, but nothing has ever broken.
Would you compare concerts for singers to hockey games for players?
For me, it is a hockey game. When I go out on stage, I tape my boots just
like I'd lace my skates up – I tape 'em up with duct tape really tight.
There are six of us in my band on stage just like there are six of us on
the ice. I really approach it with the same energy. You get on stage and
have that adrenaline rush. On stage, I'm the center 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!
How did your music career get started?
I moved to Nashville when I was 19 and spent a long time playing in bars
and clubs all over Nashville and downtown. Eventually I got a publishing
deal and that led to a record deal. It took me about eight years to get
Have you ever been approached by the Predators to do the goal song?
(Laughs) They have a great song right now, they've got Tim McGraw's I Like
It, I Love It. It's a great tune, but it's time for a new tune. I've got
to find the right song for them because I'd love to have that song up
If you weren't singing country music, what would you be doing?
It's too late to be a hockey player, but I don't know what else I'd be
doing. I love hockey and grew up around go-carts so I love racing, too. I
just feel blessed to be able to do this and not worry about a plan b.
Until that time comes, I'll keep (singing).