Country music star Gill set for NHL All-Star spotlight

Friday, 01.29.2016 / 3:50 PM
Bill Price  - Editor in Chief

NASHVILLE – Vince Gill, a Nashville Predators season-ticket holder since the team's inaugural season in 1998-99, has plenty to do during 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend.

He will sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" with his daughter, Corrina, before the 2016 NHL Honda All-Star Game (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) on Sunday, and also will serve as a celebrity coach for the game.

The singing part is easy. Gill is a country music legend who has won 20 Grammy Awards.

The coaching part? That's another story, but he will take a cue from former Predators coach Barry Trotz on how to act behind the bench.

"I'm going to keep my mouth shut and wear a bad jacket," said Gill, adding that Trotz, now the coach of the Washington Capitals, taught him how to do Trotz's signature no-neck look. "If I can get that together, I can be a hockey coach."

Asked if he has any drills for his players, Gill laughed and said, "I'm not going to say anything, dude."

That would be a first. Gill has been a vocal supporter of Nashville and the Predators in the 18 years they have been in the NHL. He is serving the role of "Mayor of Smashville" this weekend as the hockey world converges on Music City.

"At the end of the day, all of us really want to see the city shine," Gill said. "We all live here, make our homes here."

Gill has more than made a home in Nashville; he played a part in building the home of the Predators.

"I was fortunate to be asked by then-mayor [Phil] Bredesen to sit on a committee of six people – four architects and the late Anthony Mason, the basketball player," Gill said. "They wanted us to pick the design of the arena. They wanted the viewpoint of a musician and people who spend a lot of times in arenas."

Gill said the he picked the winning plan for Bridgestone Arena because it had the building facing Broadway, Nashville's famous thoroughfare, and the historic Ryman Auditorium. He said this weekend will be a culmination of the arena, the team and the city's strong support of the organization.

"For so many years the Predators have continued to improve," said Gill, who became a fan of the sport watching minor-league hockey in Oklahoma City when he was six. "To have this opportunity is unbelievable. The city is going to shine."

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