As Dierks said in an interview just a month ago, "It's one of those songs that's tough to do, but I'd be honored to get the call."
Just hours before the game, Dierks posted a video of his rally chair "in his house," leading the general public to believe he would be absent from the Game 4 festivities.
DB Congress members knew better. There's no way he would sit out a game of that importance (especially when home in Nashville)! There had to be something more behind the scenes.
Sure enough, as DB Congress Chair Ronna Clark said, "I knew as soon as they said 13x Grammy nominee!"
Despite being on vocal rest, with his iconic "whiskey-soaked grit in his voice," Dierks reverently sang our nation's anthem. For such a high-energy performer, this rendition was appropriately solemn and honoring (especially when singing "that our flag was still there"). Without fanfare or showboating, it was the Star Spangled Banner as it was written.
He even donned a Kevin Fiala jersey (unique from many artists who have worn their own name on their backs) in support of the Predators' forward who broke his leg in April.
As a Predators season ticket holder (and #1 fan), though he's been silent on social media since last night, one can only imagine the joy he felt in taking on this role.
No Bandwagon Here
His hockey love goes beyond sitting in the stands. He has spent quality time on the ice as a center for the Nashville Iceholes, giving him a "way to clear his head from the hustle and bustle of the road." He was also an honorary Predator For A Day last year.
His son, Knox, is taking after dad and becoming quite the hockey player himself! (That look, though!)
Country music star and hockey player, with red, white and blue in his veins, last night's surprise performance will, no doubt, be one Dierks will "hold on" to for years to come.
*The Predators won, putting the series at 2-2 against the Penguins.
DB Congress Rep, WA