Rinkside Romance: Are Hockey Players Hollywood's Latest Accessory?
By Maggie Coughlan Posted Apr 3rd 2010 10:00AM
Some things just belong together. Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper. Athletes and celebrities. No one bats an eyelash when a Kardashian and a professional athlete are photographed canoodling. Or even when Kate Hudson is spotted in the stands at a baseball game. Sitting on the sidelines has become quite chic, as more and more celebrities are photographed supporting their athletic better half.
While Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe may have been one of the first couples to romanticize baseball, and celebrity wives sitting courtside make the price of an NBA ticket worth double, sitting rinkside might be the newest place to spot celebrity wives and girlfriends. And with their recent engagements to hockey players, Hilary Duff and Carrie Underwood aren't the only ones to brave the chill of the ice rink -- romance between Hollywood and hockey is on the rise.
From singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl to announcing her engagement to Ottawa Senators player Mike Fisher, Carrie Underwood has taken her commitment to athleticism to a whole new level. After a low-profile year of dating, Fisher popped the question to Underwood in December 2009. Although the duo kept details of their relationship private, Underwood made reference to their romance in the liner notes of her album, 'Play On.' "I love you so much!" she wrote to Fisher. "You make my life better in every way!"
Hot on Underwood's heels, Hilary Duff announced her engagement to Edmonton Oiler Mike Comrie in February. A staple in the crowd at Comrie's hockey games, Duff's new found interest in hockey had everything to do with her man: "I'm the crazy lady sitting the crowd screaming my head off," she told PEOPLE in 2009.
Model turned actress Rachel Hunter has spent her fair share of time rinkside. Once linked to New York Rangers player Sean Avery, Hunter's hockey lust didn't stop there. In 2009, she was engaged to Los Angeles Kings player Jarret Stoll. Twelve years Hunter's junior, Stoll proposed after two years of dating. Just seven weeks before their planned wedding day, Stoll ended the relationship with Hunter in person, but e-mailed wedding guests to notify them of the cancellation.
A friend of Hunter's told The Sun, "She has absolutely no idea why Jarret has done this. It sounds like it could be a classic case of cold feet. He is a fair bit younger than her." With his failed engagement behind him, Stoll has moved on to daughter of former teen idol David Cassidy, 'Melrose Place' actress Katie Cassidy.
Best-known for his skills on the ice, Sean Avery is even better known for his comments off the ice. During his time with the Dallas Stars, Avery approached assembled reporters in a locker room prior to a game against the Calgary Flames and was clearly eager to make a statement.
"I'm just going to say one thing. I'm really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight," he commented.
While the NHL later suspended him for his comments, it was never made clear whether Avery was referring to Flames' player Dion Phaneuf, who currently dates actress Elisha Cuthbert, or Jarret Stoll, who at the time was dating Rachel Hunter -- or both.
It's not all negative commentary in the love life of a professional hockey player. Singer-actress and 'Dancing with the Stars' contestant Willa Ford has been happily married to Dallas Stars player Mike Modano since 2007. After a year-long on-again, off-again courtship, Modano proposed amid controversy that Ford was dating her 'Dancing with the Stars' partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
In the world of hockey player/celebrity power couples, finding marital bliss isn't always easy. With an arsenal of famous women dating more and more hockey players, celebrity sightings at hockey games are becoming more and more common. While an actress on an athlete's arm may seem like a timeless pairing, a hockey player on the arm of a hot young starlet may just be Hollywood's latest accessory.
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