LAS VEGAS – Rob Riggle is not going to steal the show at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
The comedian/actor and host of the event mainly wants to be a delegator. He says it’s his job to “get up there and welcome everybody.”
And meeting the guy, he seems sincere. Channeling his inner Bruce Boudreau with a cone of chocolate Haagen-Dazs in one hand and motioning for emphasis with the other, he seems so un-celebrity like. Until you try to out-snark him with a question, and then you see his inner-entertainer come out.
Though he may not have a majorly overt connection to the NHL, he seems like a good choice. At very least better than Jay Mohr, the host of the 2012 awards. Riggle did host the ESPYs in 2012 – another one of those awkward blends of sports and pop culture. So he has experience in these settings.
We talked with Riggle at the MGM Grand Garden Arena about the NHL, the Catalina Wine Mixer (movie reference), and what he would do if he had his own award named after him. I was impressed with the dude. Hopefully he crushes it Wednesday night.
Q: What’s better, the NHL Awards or the Catalina Wine Mixer? (Sidenote: This is a reference from the movie “Step Brothers” which included Riggle. Warning, clip in link includes some strong language)
Riggle: I don’t know if it’s fair to compare anything to the Catalina Wine Mixer, except maybe this. Look, they’re both going to be awesome parties. Big celebration, a lot of fun and if everybody comes with that ‘happy season’s over, summer party time’ attitude, we’re going to have a really good time.
I have this weird obsession with the Mark Messier leadership award presented and chosen by Mark Messier…
“How great is that?!?”
If you could make the Rob Riggle Award, what would it be for and how would you present it?
It would be the Rob Riggle Award for high performance karate. High performance karate without any training … I’m kidding.
I don’t know. Leadership is a good one. Spirit. Esprit de corps. Attitude. That’s a good one. The ‘Rob Riggle Good Attitude Award.’
Which athletes would you choose to nominate?
These require thought! Peyton Manning has a really good attitude. Drew Brees has a good attitude. John Tavares has a good attitude. So does Carey Price, I like him a lot. Jonathan Quick has a good attitude. Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have good attitudes. Marcus Allen has a good attitude. I’d put them all in the mix there. And Jordan Spieth. I like him a lot. He has a good attitude.
How did you get approached for this? How do you put your stamp on these awards?
They asked me. That made it real simple. And I said yes. I’m a sports fan. I’m a hockey fan so I was like ‘absolutely.’ It was an honor to be asked. I don’t put my stamp on anything. This is the NHL. It’s a celebration of their season. I’m just the facilitator. I’m the guy who’s going to get up there, welcome everybody. The NHL is pretty awesome. They have 16 awesome trophies we’re going to pass out in the evening. That’s a lot of work to do. We don’t have much time for screwing around. I’m going to get up there, greet everybody, maybe a couple of yucks and we’re into the show and passing out awards. And they have great trophies. It’s about celebrating the NHL, celebrating their season. Celebrating the players both past and present and I am just a facilitator.
What’s your favorite team?
I grew up in Kansas City, we didn’t have a team … well we did and we lost it. We had the Scouts, and they eventually went to Colorado and then to New Jersey and became the Devils.
So you’re a Devils fan?
No, because they left us. They left me in Kansas City without a hockey team.
I lived in New York for 10 years, I followed the Rangers. Now I live in LA. I want to adopt a team, I’m always going to be a Kansas City Chiefs and Royals fan. I want to adopt a team in a new town, so I’ve adopted the Kings.
Do you have a favorite Kings player?
I met Jonathan Quick. He did one of my Fox NFL pre-game show skits with me. I liked him a lot. I was a big fan of his in the 2012 Stanley Cup Final. I’ve met him. That’s the only King I’ve met.
Drew Doughty is here!
I’m going to introduce myself to all of them.
I’ve been shaking hands with everybody. I won’t be shy about getting out there and pressing the flesh and telling the players both past and present how awesome they are … which I’m sure they never hear.
Is there anything you’ve ever wanted to ask any of these guys?
When I hosted the ESPYs in 2012, I had a similar opportunity to ask players from all sports questions and things like that. I never turned into sports nerd. I never was like ‘do you think they should do this or think they should change the rules, what do you think of the 3-4 defense and blah blah blah.’ I wanted to know what they liked, what their favorite team was, who is their favorite football team if they’re a basketball player, or just hanging out with them. Small talk. Conversations. Finding out where they’re from and meeting them on that level. To me that was more rewarding.
Do you go to many Kings games?
I live about 40 miles from LA, so I live way up the 101 there. I live a pretty good chunk away. It’s hard to get back. I’m not a season ticket holder or anything like that. What usually happens is I’ve got friends who say ‘hey, we’ve got tickets.’ And if I’m not on daddy duty, or I’m not working, I’ll go.
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