Dierks Bentley lives, eats, and breathes hockey, and his band always plays backstage before his show starts. In fact, Bentley may be the only country star who travels with full hockey gear no matter where he goes. Bentley sat down with The Fourth Period magazine recently to talk about his incredible love of the game.

The 'Up On The Ridge" singer reveals to the magazine that even his family loves his hockey habit. "They love it. I think they are more worried about me getting hurt, but I've gotten more injuries on stage than I've gotten on the ice." He elaborates, "I've torn my ACL jumping off a stage riser, I've chipped my teeth on the microphone, got some stitches in my knee from sliding across the deck on a slippery night. Knock on wood I've never been hurt in hockey. I've taken some pucks to the shin and couple whacks with a stick, but nothing has ever broken."

But how would the sports-pro/music-star compare concerts for singers to hockey games for players? Bentley reveals, "For me, it [a concert] is a hockey game. When I go out on stage, I tape my boots just like I'd lace my skates up. I tape 'em up with duct tape really tight. There are six of us in my band on stage just like there are six of us on the ice. I really approach it with the same energy. You get on stage and have that adrenaline rush. On stage, I'm the center and bring my bass players up on my left [wing], my guitar boys up on my right [wing] ... and the drummer's the goalie, making sure nothing gets past us!"

Bentley grew up in Arizona, and he started rollerblading long before he ever put ice skates on. Lucky for him, ice isn't hard to find in Nashville, so the 35-year-old chose hockey as his quick sport of choice. When Bentley is at home, he regularly plays with men's hockey league the Nashville IceHoles. "What I love about the IceHoles is we only have 10 guys; I can't stand being on a team with more than 10 players because every three shifts wouldn't be enough ice-time," he says. "I want to walk off the ice just completely drained."

"What I lack in talent, I make up for in hustle," Bentley says of his level of achievement in hockey. "When I come off the ice, I'm rocking back and forth like a heroin addict and everybody's like, 'Are you okay?' and I'm just like, 'Yeah, I can't breathe.' It makes the beer in the fourth period taste that much sweeter!"

Bentley knows that in his mid-30s he's too old to be a professional hockey player -- and he's more than content with his career of choice as a musician. The curly-haired singer says, "I just feel blessed to be able to do this and not worry about a plan B. Until that time comes, I'll keep [singing]."

We're thankful for that!

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