In honor of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, we’ve identified a starting lineup of celebrity fans for all 16 NHL playoff teams. Sure, some teams will have a lot more to choose from than others, but this is a list spawned from exhaustive research and meticulous fact checking*.
Let’s see how the NHL celebrity starting lineups stack up!
* These lists include famous fans both living and deceased, and in certain cases we stretched the idea of fandom a bit to include some celebs with local ties.
The roster: Justin Bieber, Drake, Will Arnett, Mike Myers, Chris Hadfield
The Leafs have no shortage of celebrity fans available for this group. They also have the high-end edge on this list, with Justin Bieber and Drake, two of the most famous human beings on the planet. In March, Bieber released a tribute to the Leafs. Drake was once visited by Mats Sundin at one of his concerts in Stockholm.
Mike Myers is one of the longest-tenured celebrity Leafs fans, naming characters in “Austin Powers” after former Leafs Doug Gilmour and Nikolai Borschevsky. “The Love Guru” includes the Leafs in the plot of the film.
Toronto native Will Arnett also makes the starting five, because he’s hilarious and “Arrested Development” still rules.
Finally, we have astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space. He also dropped the puck at a Leafs game from space, the biggest flex by a human being in recorded history.
The roster: Justin Trudeau, Viggo Mortensen, Celine Dion, Jay Baruchel, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
The Habs have a celebrity roster from many different fields, which certainly puts them among the most star-studded.
Viggo Mortensen, who famously played Aragorn in “Lord of the Rings,” secretly wore a Habs shirt underneath his armor in the trilogy.
Jay Baruchel is certainly the most vocal Habs fan, often engaging with people about his beloved team on social media. He is certainly one of the biggest hockey fans on this list (along with Daniel Negreanu, but we’ll get to him later).
From the realm of pop superstardom, we have Celine Dion, who was born in the Montreal suburb of Charlemagne. Then there’s Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who is not only a Super Bowl champion but also famously opted out of the 2020 NFL season to work at a long-term care facility in Quebec, working on the COVID-19 front lines.
Finally, you have the leader of a country, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, who did one of the most Canadian things in recent memory — chirping the Leafs:
The roster: Jordan Buhat, Brett Kissel, Todd McFarlane, Kurt Browning, Kevin Smith
Jordan Buhat is an actor on the show “Grown-ish,” a spinoff of the show “Black-ish.” He is an Edmonton native and a die-hard Oilers fan, as evidenced by his streaming setup.
Famed comic book writer Todd McFarlane, who worked on “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Spawn” among many other projects, once owned a part of the Oilers (despite being a Calgary native).
Country singer and Alberta native Brett Kissel had a famous moment when a faulty mic turned into a memorable singing of the anthem by a packed house full of Oilers fans.
We’ll also include Kurt Browning here, who was one of Canada’s more prominent figure skaters of his time. He was an honorary captain when the NHL appointed celebrity captaincies in 1991.
And wait, why is Kevin Smith on this list? He’s a New Jersey guy, and he absolutely loves the Devils. Well, at least once upon a time he was also an Oilers fan, and the rule here is, if your team is out of the playoffs and you have a tie to another team that’s in, you are eligible. Welcome to Connor McDavid-ville, Silent Bob!
The roster: Chris Jericho, Doc Walker, Fred Penner, Neil Young, Burton Cummings
The obvious choice here is Jericho, who grew up in Winnipeg. His father, Ted Irvine, played in the NHL mostly for the Rangers, later skating for the Kings during their first three seasons in the NHL. Jericho is an avid Jets fan and this video of him doing hockey highlights (including his dad fighting Bobby Orr) is definitely worth a watch.
The Jets celebrity fan group includes people whom Canadians would know pretty well:
children’s show star Fred Penner, who every Canadian who grew up in the 1980s knows extremely well
singer and Winnipeg native Burton Cummings
The great Neil Young has deep roots in Winnipeg, particularly early in his career, which definitely qualifies him for this group … as does this video of him welcoming the Jets back to Winnipeg.
The roster: Michael Keaton, Taylor Swift, Russell Crowe, Pat McAfee, Fred Rogers
The Penguins have a solid lineup, with the stars of “Batman” (Keaton) and “Gladiator” (Crowe) leading the way.
Former NFL punter and current WWE Friday Night Smackdown commentator Pat McAfee tweets about the Penguins often and will carry the social media lift for this team (and may even drop a few shout-outs on Smackdown). Mr. Rogers has his own Penguins trading card, and was their celebrity captain on the 1991 list.
Then there’s Taylor Swift, a superstar Pennsylvania native who has proudly rocked the Pens threads.
The roster: Kevin Connolly, Ralph Macchio, Chloë Grace Moretz, Billy Joel, Daniel Bryan
Kevin Connolly has done a lot with the Isles, from making a pick at the NHL draft to making an ESPN 30 for 30 film on John Spano’s infamous efforts to buy the team. He was the easiest pick of anyone on this list.
Long Island native Ralph Macchio — star of “Karate Kid” and “Cobra Kai” — has been spotted at Isles games, and even has an Isles bobblehead.
Fellow screen star Chloë Grace Moretz is also frequently spotted at games, rocking an Isles jersey. She also trolled Caps fans on social media.
WWE superstar Daniel Bryan makes the cut, because he is the inspiration behind the Isles most prominent chant — the “YES!” after every goal.
Despite his famed sellout streak at Madison Square Garden, Billy Joel is a Long Island native and has been around the team’s big moments, like the announcement of UBS Arena and postseason games at the Coliseum. He also has a night dedicated to him, and apparently might have been indirectly responsible for the “Fisherman” logo.
The roster: Pat Sajak, Wale, Lynda Carter, Scott Van Pelt, Larry King
Pat Sajak is one of my favorite people on this list. He’s a long-tenured Caps fan, even during the lean years. In 2009, he did an interview in which he referenced all of the bandwagon jumpers — “I understand in the tough days why it was a tough draw, so welcome aboard everybody.” The “Wheel of Fortune” host is a true lover of Capitals hockey.
Wale is D.C. through and through, and has put the Caps in lyrics to his songs, like “The Feature Heavy Song.”
Actor Lynda Carter is the original Wonder Woman. An OG superhero. And a big Caps fan:
— Lynda Carter (@RealLyndaCarter) June 2, 2018
Legendary broadcaster Larry King gets a nod here posthumously for referring to the team as “my Caps.”
Rounding out the list is ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, a DMV native. He celebrated with the rest of the fans when Ovi & Co. hoisted the Cup in 2018.
The roster: Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Adam Sandler, Conor McGregor, Denis Leary
This is easily the funniest collection of celebrity fans, which is no surprise given Boston’s legendary stand-up scene.
Steve Carell is one of the better hockey players among the celebrities on this list. The Massachusetts native played at many stages of his life, and confirmed his rooting interests during the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. Speaking of “The Office,” Krasinski enlisted David Denman (who played Roy on the show) in a video from Game 7.
Adam Sandler has New York roots, but we’ll shift him over to this group since he famously donned a Bruins jersey in “Happy Gilmore.” Fellow comedian and actor Denis Leary is nearly as synonymous with ice hockey in Massachusetts as the Bruins themselves.
Conor McGregor, one of the most famous fighters of all time, visited the Bruins locker room and dropped the puck at the game. That’s good enough to at the very least be the “enforcer” on this squad, especially given the considerable Irish heritage in the city of Boston.
The roster: Zion Williamson, Stephen Colbert, Petey Pablo, John Isner, Evander Holyfield
Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield makes the list because of this incredible Storm Surge:
North Carolina, come on and raise up! Petey Pablo has to be included here, thanks to his anthem being the goal song.
Tennis pro John Isner makes the list both as a fan, and one-time tennis coach for Martin Necas and Teuvo Teravainen. And he knows all about multiple-overtime sporting events, having participated in an 11-hour match at Wimbledon.
Zion Williamson is now playing for the New Orleans Pelicans, but we’ll ease the restrictions a bit here to get his star power on the list; he did make a hype video for a Canes playoff game when he was a star for Duke.
Stephen Colbert is a native of Charleston, South Carolina. Not only did he celebrate on “The Daily Show” when the Canes last won the Cup in 2006, but he had Canes emergency goalie David Ayres make an appearance on “The Late Show.”
The roster: Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Nicole Kidman, Tim McGraw, Kelly Clarkson
In the “embarrassment of riches” department, the Preds have pretty much every country music star under the sun available for their celebrity team. It was tough to narrow down our list to just these five.
The obvious one is megastar Carrie Underwood, whose husband used to play for the Preds. The Preds also boast the celebrity couple of Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, as well as country legend Tim McGraw.
Finally, we’ll add vocalist and talk show host Kelly Clarkson, who has sang the anthem before Preds games.
The roster: Ariana Grande, Josh Gad, Lexi Thompson, Tua Tagovailoa, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Ariana Grande has one of the best celebrity hockey origin stories ever. Well before she became a megastar, she was a kid who rode the zamboni at a Panthers game. She also has the dubious honor of being the first person struck by a puck in the stands at the Panthers’ arena. That didn’t waver her fandom, though!
Star of the stage and screen — and, importantly for a sport played on ice, the voice of “Olaf” in the “Frozen” movies — Josh Gad is a native of South Florida, and counts the Panthers among his favorite teams.
One of the team’s newer celeb fans is Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who celebrated his birthday with the Panthers. Sticking in the realm of athletes, LPGA tour member Lexi Thompson has also attended Panthers games.
Then, we come to the biggest name on the list: The Rock, the most electrifying man in all of entertainment. In fairness, this is a stretch, based on Dwayne Johnson’s Miami connections. But we’re holding out hope that we’ll get a classic, WWE-style promo hyping up the Panthers if their playoff run lasts a couple of rounds.
The roster: Dick Vitale, Hulk Hogan, Charles Barkley, Stephen King, Tom Brady
We’re not sure how Stephen King became a Lightning fan, but he flew his flag in a reply to actor Kim Coates’ tweet. As for the Hulkster, he’s been an icon on the Tampa sports scene for quite a while and displays his Lightning fandom proudly.
Then we get to Tom Brady. Why is TB12 on this list? Sure, he’s made jokes about joining the Bruins before, and the Ducks once claimed to sign him, but he’s in Tampa Bay now. Gotta support the local team, Tom!
The roster: John Elway, Larry Walker, Trey Parker, Dalton Risner, AnnaSophia Robb
We’ve got some great Colorado athletes on this list, including Broncos legend and current team president of football operations John Elway, who has golfed with Avs GM Joe Sakic and wished the team well on social media. Baseball Hall of Famer and Rockies legend Larry Walker once served as the Avs’ honorary emergency goaltender. As for current players, Broncos offensive lineman Dalton Risner has attended games recently.
Actor AnnaSophia Robb is a Denver native, and while we didn’t find any public Avs fandom, we will just assume it lives within.
Perhaps the most passionate celebrity Avs fan is “South Park” co-creator Trey Parker, who has featured the Avs in the series.
The roster: Jenna Fischer, Jon Hamm, John Goodman, Patrick Mahomes, Chris Long
Another alum of “The Office,” Jenna Fischer won the celebrity battle of the 2019 postseason against John Krasinski’s Bruins. St. Louis area native John Goodman served as the celebrity captain in 1991 and remains a proud Blues fan.
Patrick Mahomes happily made the most of his screen time at a recent Blues game. Speaking of the NFL, two-time Super Bowl champ Chris Long spent eight seasons with the Rams when they were in St. Louis and has fond memories of being a Blues fan.
Actor Jon Hamm rounds out the list, as his St. Louis superfandom extends to many appearances at Blues games in recent seasons.
The roster: Bryce Harper, Lil’ Jon, Wayne Newton, Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Negreanu
There’s no shortage of celebrities in Vegas. But it starts with MLB star Bryce Harper, a Vegas native and huge Golden Knights fan.
Then there’s Lil’ Jon, who has served as hype man at T-Mobile Arena, as has Wayne Newton. The pair even did a collaboration for the Golden Knights, which is the most random but most Vegas thing in recent memory:
Gordon Ramsay has joined Lil’ Jon at VGK games, donning the Golden Knights threads, so we’ll include him here too.
Then there is Toronto native Daniel Negreanu, one of the greatest poker players ever and a Golden Knights season-ticket holder. He’s a die-hard hockey fan, and has been vocal about having a team in Vegas long before the Golden Knights arrived.
The roster: Richard Dean Anderson, the Hanson brothers, Prince, Nick Swardson, Katy Perry
We start with the original MacGyver himself, Richard Dean Anderson. MacGyver can solve any problem, with seemingly any objects at his disposal; that sounds like a useful trait in a hockey player. Anderson is also renowned as a ringer in celebrity hockey games.
Next up are the Hanson brothers, from the greatest hockey movie of all time, “Slap Shot.” The Carlson brothers, who portrayed Steve and Jeff Hanson, are from Minnesota; the third brother, David Hanson, is from Cumberland, Wisconsin. Close enough for us!
Prince makes the list posthumously, as he deserves to be on any rundown of famous Minnesotans. We’re not sure whether he had a wicked slapshot but can confirm he had some skills on the basketball court.
Another famous Minnesotan is comedian Nick Swardson, who has been vociferous on social media about his Golden Gophers hockey fandom, so we’ll toss him on here too.
Finally, we stretch a bit to include “American Idol” host and recording artist Katy Perry; she’s from Southern California, but she gets the nod for this blinged-out Wild jersey.