Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blue Rodeo rocker hits ice

Cuddy never tours without hockey gear

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When Jim Cuddy goes out on tour, he makes sure to take his guitars, a couple of harmonicas and a duffel bag full of hockey equipment.

The co-front man for Blue Rodeo got in a pair of skates Thursday just hours before his band's show at the MTS Centre. One was with fellow musicians, including his son, Devin, for a media event to promote this year's edition of the Juno Cup, a charity game between "rockers" and former NHL players held in conjunction with the Juno Awards in March.

The second was in Stonewall with a "bunch of old guys" he's been skating with for years.

"I always take my gear (on the road). I have let it be known that I like to play. I get in all kinds of games.

"My son is touring with me. He plays and so does his drummer. The three of us have played five or six games thus far (this tour)," he said.

The proceeds from the Juno Cup, which will be held at the MTS Iceplex on March 28, will go to MusiCounts, a charity supporting music education in Canada.

Cuddy said it has distributed more than $6 million to schools across the country over the years, usually in $10,000 amounts. It usually gives grants to about 60 schools annually.

It's a cause near and dear to his heart.

"The fact that music programs are under siege is very disappointing. It's considered superfluous in education to have a music program. It's easy to get musicians involved. Whether they went through the program or not, they're sympathetic to the fact that kids need to have an outlet that's not just a standard arts and science background," he said.

The former hockey players on hand for Thursday's event and skate, which included Winnipeggers Mike Keane and Carey Wilson and former Jets Perry Miller and Mike Ford, were only too happy to lend their support, although none of them admitted to possessing much in the way of musical DNA.

"Hearing me sing would be painful," Wilson said. "My wife, or anybody who has heard me do karaoke, can attest to that. It might be entertaining for a few seconds but after that it would be painful."

Keane said there's truth to the old adage that athletes want to be rockers and rockers want to be athletes. He said he's looking forward to playing against some "musical superstars" but it doesn't look like anybody from his favourite bands will be playing in the Juno Cup.

"I was always into the Go-Gos," he deadpanned. "I was a huge WHAM! fan. I wasn't too into heavy metal."

Cuddy said he prefers when the Junos are held in cities other than Toronto, where the week-long celebration of Canadian music can get "swallowed up" by other events.

"I like it when it comes to a town where it becomes the central focus. It's much more fun," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2014 A14

History

Updated on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:04 AM CST: adds video

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