Justin Bieber, who played hockey for Team Gretzky got a taste of the sport on Saturday when he got pushed into the glass by Chris Pronger of Team Lemieux during the first period of the NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout at Staples Centerin Los Angeles.
However, during the celebrity exhibition game, the singer showed extraordinary skills that would even qualify him for a professional team in his native Canada. Guessing the short but memorable humiliation on Saturday mobilized him to show what he can really do.
Bieber was driven into the boards in the first half by a laughing Pronger, who spent 18 years in the league as a hard-nosed defenseman.
The singer then managed an empty-net goal and an assist as Team Gretzky beat Team Lemieux 5-3 in the 2017 NHL All-Star Celebrity Shootout.
In the end Justin Bieber did not look out of place on the ice even in the company of current NHL stars Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, along with a host of retired greats and hockey-loving celebrities.
Even though Bieber missed two penalty shots, he eventually scored a goal as time went on.
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. even commented on it, saying jokingly: “Twenty-five shots later, thank God he made it.”
“I was shocked at how good the kid can play,” said Gooding, who scored the winning goal. “He really has nice skills, and he’s a real sweet kid, too.”
The NHL Instagram account showed a cheerful Bieber with Wayne Gretzky in the locker room.
The pop star will return to Staples Center on February 12 as he is nominated for four Grammys, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year.
Local Southern California favorites including Luc Robitaille and Teemu Selanne wore patches on their jerseys honoring Canadian actor Alan Thicke, a longtime fan of the Los Angeles Kings who died in December while playing hockey.