Although there are now several professional hockey leagues spread out across the world, the NHL is still generally regarded to be the best of the bunch. It’s always been natural for Canadians to gravitate to the sport and the league and since the 1980s it’s also become more popular with Americans. The game attracts fans from all walks of life including the rich and famous. It’s not uncommon to see celebrities supporting their local NHL teams at rinks across North America especially with teams in markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. Some of these famous fans are glad to rub shoulders while sitting in the stands while others prefer their to shield privacy by slumming it in luxury suites.
Celebrity NHL fans include men and women of all ages and include actors, musicians, and fellow athletes. Many of these fans played the game as kids and some of them still lace up the skates on a regular basis. Some celebrities are quite visible as they participate in marketing promotions for their favourite clubs and others often hold hockey games to raise money for charities. While some celebrities became fans after dating or marrying NHL players, others are simply supporters due to their love of hockey. Below is the list of the top 15 celebrity NHL fans.
There are many others who didn’t make the list but deserve to be mentioned. These include: Matthew Perry, Tom Hanks, Metallica, Carrie Underwood, Elisha Cuthbert, Michael J. Fox, Christie Brinkley, Shania Twain, David Beckham, Leonardo Di Caprio, Kevin James, Michael Buble, Keanu Reeves, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Gord Downie, Jim Cuddy, Cuba Gooding Jr., John Cusack, Anne Murray, Mark Wahlberg, Larry King, Alyssa Milano, Sylvester Stallone, Snoop Dogg, Emilio Estevez, Steve Carell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Belushi, Stephen Colbert, Kid Rock, Gene Simmons, William Shatner, Taylor Swift, Joe Piscopo, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Ralph Macchio, John McEnroe,, Jimmy Fallon, Tracey Morgan, John Goodman, Ozzy Osbourne, Hulk Hogan, Drake, Steve Nash, Burton Cummings and Chris Jericho. We may also be able to add legendary English singer Rod Stewart to this list soon as his son Liam Stewart currently plays for the Alaska Aces of the ECHL and although it’s a long shot, he could one day be skating for an NHL team.
15 Justin Bieber
Yes, unfortunately Justin Bieber is known to be quite a hockey fan. The bubblegum singer played the game while growing up in Stratford, Ontario. But while he’s skated with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the past he’s known to cheer on just about anybody. Bieber enraged Chicago Blackhawks’ fans back in July of 2013 when he stepped on the club’s logo in the dressing room while taking a photo of the Stanley Cup and then touching it. Many fans got their revenge by standing on a giant photo of Bieber’s face. Hockey fans can take solace in the fact that Bieber also shows up at NBA basketball games and in one of sports truly odd-couple pairings, hangs around with undefeated boxing bad boy Floyd Mayweather Jr.
14 Howie Mandel
Canadian comedian Howie Mandel is one of many funny men who have an affinity for NHL hockey. The 60-year-year-old Mandel is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but since he hasn’t had a chance to celebrate a Stanley Cup victory since 1967 he’s been photographed with the famous trophy at his home before old age sets in. Mandel has made several movies in the past, but is perhaps best known for hosting the "Deal or no Deal" game show. The actor/comedian said he was amazed there were several spelling mistakes on the Cup, such as the 1963 engraving of the Toronto Maple Leaes.
13 Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russel
Actress Goldie Hawn and her partner Kurt Russell have been together for more than 30 years now and one of the passions they share is NHL hockey. The pair can often be seen at Los Angeles Kings games and have spent a day with the Stanley Cup at their Malibu home in the past. Russell got his acting start with the Disney studios as a kid, but also made it as far as the minor leagues as a pro baseball player. Hockey fans may also remember him starring as former American hockey coach Herb Brooks in the 2004 movie Miracle. Hawn made a name for herself on the old Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In comedy show and has also starred in several movies. The couple’s 29-year-old son Wyatt Russell played in net in junior hockey in Canada as well as in the USHL with the Chicago Steel and over in Holland. But like his mum and dad, he’s now turned to a career in acting.
12 Russell Crowe
Actor Russell Crowe may have been born in New Zealand and brought up in Australia, but he became a big hockey fan after heading to the U.S. to film a movie in 1995. The 51-year-old laced up the skates himself a few years later when he played a hockey-playing sheriff in the movie Mystery, Alaska. Crowe has admitted he’s a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and has said he’d get just as much enjoyment holding the Stanley Cup as he does from gripping the best-actor Oscar he won in 2000 for the movie Gladiator. However, like many Leafs fans, Crowe may be getting tired of waiting for the team to make an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals and has admitted to also being a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins after meeting Ron Francs and Jaromir Jagr when preparing for his Mystery, Alaska movie role.
11 Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins
Movie star Tim Robbins and his former Oscar-winning girlfriend Susan Sarandon are both big New York Rangers fans and used to enjoy taking in games together at Madison Square Garden. The pair met back in 1988 on the set of the baseball movie Bull Durham but split up in 2009. However, they still share their love for hockey. Robbins has also been known to play in several charity games and was once quoted as saying, "I like crunching people into the boards and stuff. It's a healthy way to get rid of that thing that's in all of us, this violence, y'know. We've got it in us.”
10 Adam Sandler
Who can forget Adam Sandler’s hockey-loving, golfer character Happy Gilmore? The American actor/comedian was born in Brooklyn and has spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, but his favourite team is still the Boston Bruins. Sandler spent a lot of a time as a youth in Manchester, New Hampshire and his affection for the Bruins was born there. However, Sandler was also seen wearing a New York Rangers jersey in the movie Big Daddy and is a well-known New York Jets and Yankees fan. Boston fans seem to forgive him for his split allegiance though.
9 Kevin Smith
Entertainer Kevin Smith is a jack of all trades as he’s an actor, director, podcaster, comedian, public speaker, and comic-book writer. The 45-year-old is perhaps best known for his role as Silent Bob. Smith was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and is a big Devils supporter, but he’s also been a longtime fan of the Edmonton Oilers. Smith’s mother used to work for the Devils team doctor years ago and would bring home autographed sticks and other items for her boy. Smith has also been known to enter ball hockey teams in charity street tournaments around North America, including Brantford, Ontario, the birth place of Wayne Gretzky. There’s also a common hockey thread in many of his movies.
8 Denis Leary
Actor/comedian/writer/singer Denis Leary is well known for his roles in TV shows such as Rescue Me and Sex &Drugs&Rock&Roll as well as movies like Draft Day and The Amazing Spider-Man. The 58-year-old was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and is of Irish heritage. He holds dual citizenship and is a cousin of talk-show host Conan O’Brien. He’s also a well-known fan of the Boston Bruins. Leary was the host of an NHL's Greatest Goals video and has a rink in his backyard with underground piping at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. Leary has also raised money for charity in the past with his Celebrity Hat Trick hockey games.
7 Viggo Mortensen
Actor Viggo Mortensen was born in New York City back in 1958, but grew up as a huge Montreal Canadiens fan. He’s an actor/musician/poet/ painter/photographer with a Danish background, but is probably best known to hockey fans as for his role of Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies. He’s also starred in some other big films such as Carlito’s Way, Witness, A History of Violence, and Eastern Promises. Mortensen also spent part of his youth in Argentina, but has always been faithful to the Habs. He once told the Canadiens magazine that he wears his Habs t-shirt on movie sets and Mortensen also became part of the club’s history in 2009 when he introduced former star Guy Lafleur to the Bell Centre crowd at the team’s 100th-anniversary celebrations.
6 Jay Baruchel
Another famous Habs fan is 33-year-old actor/comedian/writer/director Jay Baruchel of Ottawa. Baruchel stars in the TV comedy Man Seeking Woman and has also appeared in movies such as Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder, Million Dollar Baby, She’s Out of My League, and The Art of the Steal. However, his most well-known work to hockey fans should be the movie Goon. He wrote the screenplay for the film and will reportedly also write and direct a Goon sequel. Baruchel grew up in Montreal and that explains his fondness for the Canadiens. Baruchel is involved in a lot of Habs publicity, marketing adventures, and videos and has been named an honourary captain of the club.
5 Neil Young
It’s probably just natural that famous Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young should be a big hockey fan since his dad Scott Young was an award-winning sportswriter/author/journalist. Scott wrote several hockey-related books during his career while working at the Globe and Mail and also worked on Hockey Night in Canada for a short time. Obviously, some of his love for hockey rubbed off on his rocking son. Neil shows up to hockey games when he can and has been spotted many times at "The Shark Tanks" in San Jose. However, the 70-year-old music icon also claims to be a fan of the Winnipeg Jets.
4 Alice Cooper
American rock star Alice Cooper, also known by his birth name of Vince Furnier, is a well-known golf nut, but is also a big hockey fan. Cooper often shows up in the desert to take in Arizona Coyotes games after cheering on the Red Wings while growing up in Detroit. The 67-year-old shock rocker had his own bobblehead night at a Coyotes game and sang a medley of his many hits to the crowd. In an interview with NHL.com, Cooper was quoted as saying, “I grew up in Hockeytown and when I was ‘this tall,' my dad would take me to see Gordie Howe and Terry Sawchuk and Ted Lindsay and those guys. Those were rough guys; there was blood on the ice every night.”
3 Mike Myers
Another long-suffering hockey fan is Canadian comedian/actor/writer/director/producer Mike Myers…who happens to cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 52-year-old was born in Scarborough four years before the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup. Myers is best known for his Austin Powers and Wayne’s World movies as well as starring on Saturday Night Live. He named two of the characters in the first Austin Powers film General Borschevsky and Commander Gilmour after Maple Leafs players Nikolai Borschevsky and Doug Gilmour. Myers probably realizes the Leafs will never win another Stanley Cup in his lifetime and that could be the reason he filmed The Love Guru back in 2008. It was obviously a fiction/fantasy venture since the Leafs win the Cup at the end of the movie.
2 Vince Vaughn
One of the biggest Chicago Blackhawks fans around is definitely American actor/comedian/producer Vince Vaughn. The 45-year-old from Minneapolis, Minnesota can often be seen mingling with fellow Blackhawks fans at the United Center in Chicago. Perhaps fans didn’t know the Blackhawks season-ticket holder’s mother was born in Brantford, Ontario, the home of Wayne Gretzky. Vaughn has made some fine films over the years such as Swingers, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Psycho. Zoolander, Old School, Wedding Crashers, The Break-Up, Delivery Man, and Unfinished Business. Vaughn even went as far as paying for Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper’s party of 20 tab in Chicago last season when the Lightning were trying to eliminate the Hawks in the Stanley Cup Final.
1 Riddick Bowe
Former Undisputed Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Riddick Bowe tops this list because he’s quite a character who’s passionate about the Toronto Maple Leafs and won’t hesitate to prove it. The 48-year-old Bowe was born in Brooklyn, New York. But somehow the 1988 Olympic silver medalist became a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1993 when they were knocked out of the semifinals by the Los Angeles Kings in seven games. Bowe, who retired with a record of 43-1 with 33 KOs to his name, reportedly owns a home in the Toronto area and once held an ownership stake in the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. He obviously takes his love for hockey seriously as he became upset with the Leafs play under former coach Randy Carlyle in 2014. Before a game against the Flyers, Bowe famously tweeted, “If the @MapleLeafs lose tomorrow I’m going to knock out Randy Carlyle. One punch between the eyes.” The Leafs lost the game 4-2 for their seventh straight defeat, but luckily for Carlyle he managed to elude Bowe until he was fired 10 months later.