"I've played a lot of shows around North America and all over the world and my friends have never come to see me. Then I said I was going to do this thing at Fenway and they all said they are coming. They're hockey fans, though; it has nothing to do with seeing me."
-- Daniel Powter
"There's been a few times in my career that I have had amazing opportunities -- like playing at the Brandenburg Gate during the Live 8 concert," Powter, the man behind the hit song "Bad Day" told NHL.com recently. "To sing at Fenway Park, that's an opportunity I could not pass up. I'm really excited to do it, man."
Powter, 38, will sing the Canadian national anthem as part of the pre-game festivities for the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers at Fenway Park on Jan. 1 (1 p.m., ET, NBC, CBC). He will be joined by James Taylor, who will sing the Star-Spangled Banner, and Boston's own Dropkick Murphys, who will perform a set of their music before the game.
"To me, this is really important; I'm going to represent Canada," said Powter, who hails from Vernon, British Columbia, but now resides in Los Angeles.
Powter says he asked been asked to perform "O Canada" at several NBA games since his breakthrough with "Bad Day" -- which went No. 1 in both the United States and Canada, as well as several European countries -- but never felt the urge to accept any of those invites.
But, he says he did not have to think twice when Winter Classic organizers came calling.
"It's hockey," said Powter, who grew up idolizing Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers and now has season tickets to the Los Angeles Kings. "Come on, in Canada, when you come out of the womb, your dad hands you a hockey stick. That's how important it is to Canadians."
Powter's own father hailed from Quebec and introduced Daniel and his siblings to the game through his love of the Montreal Canadiens. Daniel Powter eventually grew to love the dynastic Oilers of the 1980s, especially Gretzky, the linchpin of those teams.
"I thought at that time, when he was rolling, that he was the best athlete in the world," Powter said. "That Oiler squad back then was crazy."
Today, Powter is in second season with season tickets to the Kings and that up-and-coming squad has captured his imagination.
"I'm a big fan of (Anze) Kopitar, but I'm always looking for those guys that are improving. (Wayne) Simmonds is a favorite of mine now. He's really improving and he's got hustle. In the past two years, he's gotten so much better. I love watching players like that."
Now that Powter has displayed his hockey credentials -- "I played until I was 16. I could skate alright, but I didn't really have skills. I think I made the right choice," he says -- there is no doubt that he is the perfect fit to open the Winter Classic show this time around.
Because, musically, he is a perfect fit.
After all, Powter is the first solo Canadian male artist to top the Hot 100 since Bryan Adams in 1995. For more than a year, "Bad Day" was an anthem across North American, enjoying prominent roles in both the hit TV show American Idol, as well as the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie. Plus, he is about to drop a new album this spring.
"I made this latest record with (producer) Linda Perry and I'm really proud of it," Powter said. "To me, it is a great representation of the transition I have made over the past couple of years."
Come New Year's Day though, it won't be a new album he will be thinking about, but rather doing the Canadian anthem justice before the capacity crowd at Fenway and the millions of fans watching on national television across North America.
And if he didn't understand how much he will be in the spotlight on Jan. 1, it took only minutes for his childhood friends to remind him of the gravity of what awaits at Fenway Park.
"I've played a lot of shows around North America and all over the world and my friends have never come to see me," Powter said. "Then I said I was going to do this thing at Fenway and they all said they are coming. They're hockey fans, though; it has nothing to do with seeing me."