The NHL is aware of the backlash it's receiving for booking Kid Rock as entertainment for the 2018 All-Star Game, but says it is sticking with the Detroit rocker.
Steve Mayer, NHL executive vice president and executive producer for programming and creative development, told ESPN in an interview published Thursday that "our sole objective is to choose musical acts to perform at our events and entertain our fans."
Mayer acknowledged that the league has been criticized on social media for hiring Kid Rock, who has taken some flak as a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump. The 47-year-old singer also has displayed confederate flags at concerts, ripped Colin Kaepernick's protests during the national anthem and made anti-transgender comments during a Detroit concert in September 2017.
It is Kid Rock's longtime support of the Detroit Red Wings that helped him land the All-Star gig, Mayer told ESPN.
"Most of the time, our acts are passionate hockey fans," Mayer said. "It's all about the entertainment at the end of the day for us, and this selection was purely based on that, and the fact that Kid Rock is a hockey lover. That's simply the background here."
The NHL All-Star Game is set for Jan. 28 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.