Carrie Underwood and Ottawa Hockey Fans Make Nice
Country sweetheart and converted hockey fan Carrie Underwood thought she understood the passion of the sport's most avid followers, but nothing could have prepared her for the backlash she faced when her husband, NHL player Mike Fisher, was traded to the Nashville Predators in February of 2011.
The long-term Ottawa Senator had become a beloved member of the team since debuting with them in the 1999-2000 season and a lot of heartbroken Ottawa fans assumed that it was all some nefarious plot concocted by Carrie to lure her husband to her adopted home. For a brief period of time, she became hockey's Yoko Ono.
"I never really understood how seriously certain regions can be about hockey," Carrie tells The Boot about the experience.
The backlash became rather vehement for a while, with Ottawa radio station 105.3 Kiss FM going so far as to ban the country superstar's music (which was a bit of an empty gesture, considering the station doesn't even play her music to begin with). But the country crooner (and secret grunge fan) is surprisingly understanding about the whole fiasco. She is, after all, a pretty big fan of Fisher herself and a learned hockey enthusiast, and can see why people would get so attached to him.
"[The Ottawa Senators] were rebuilding and they lost a lot of guys and the traded a lot of guys that were part of the community," Carrie muses. "And Mike's the heart. He's the heart of wherever he is. He's the heart of our relationship. He was the heart of the Ottawa Senators and they sent him packing, which was a shock to all of us. I just think that people wanted someone to blame."
Even though it's been over a year since the trade, the singer still gets the occasional question about her role in it.
"I still get asked, 'Did you have something to do with that? Was that you?' I was like 'No! How can I control the NHL?'" she says, adding with a laugh, "Don't mess with me! You'll get your butt traded to some place you don't wanna be."
But most fans have moved on, and the city received her with open arms when she played there last summer. The Oklahoma native admits she was a little nervous about the show at first, and even considered canceling it after the news of Fisher's trade broke, but she couldn't have asked for a better outcome.
"I had agreed to do the show, signed all of the contracts and everything before Mike got traded," she notes. "After he got traded, I was like, 'Oh my gosh! They are going to hate me! Can we figure some way out of this?' But they were great! Nobody threw anything. I didn't get booed. It was wonderful."
Now that Ottawa and Carrie are cool again, she's looking forward to returning to the city on Dec. 4, when she rolls into to town to play at Scotiabank Place as part of her massive Blown Away world tour.
Now the singer's only problem with Canada's capitol is the fact no one wants to buy the house she built there with her husband. The couple never even had a chance to live in their dream home, because it wasn't quite finished when Fisher was traded. They've been trying to sell it every since.
"Now we have this giant house, just sitting there," she says with a sigh.