I Was a Stand In at the 2017 National Hockey League Awards and Expansion Draft – And WOW, Joe Manganiello is TALL!

Wow, Joe Manganiello is tall! Like 6’ 5”. Super nice guy. At the very end of one of the run-thrus for the 2017 National Hockey League Awards and Expansion Draft at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV and broadcast on NBC, he was ending the show and all of us Stand Ins were in a row directly behind him. He made some joke and then we had to fill some time while the credits would roll. So he turned around and walked back to us. I was standing next to him, smiled, said, “Good job!” and high-fived him. His hands were rough. I’m guessing he doesn’t wear gloves when he works out?

Did I mention he was tall? 😉 I didn’t just look up at him with my eyes – I had to tilt my entire head. Great guy. Really funny, easy going.

I was hoping to see his gorgeous wife, Sophia Vergara.

I met her on the set of MODERN FAMILY a year or 2 ago when they shot an episode here in Las Vegas. I recommended my friend Kim Renee’ to my agent when they were looking for card dealers. She read for the role and ended up getting it. So proud of her. Kim was one of the Stunt Women for the WONDER WOMAN tv series.

Sophia is drop dead GORGEOUS! I am so lucky that my career keeps me around a lot of beautiful women – but she is jaw dropping. It is hard to think around her. Unfortunately, I never saw her at the rehearsal for the Awards show.

In a stroke of luck, I was staying just 2 buildings away at the super luxurious Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. Be sure to read my long blog post about that. In short, a friend was in for a convention and his company got him a suite. Whenever he comes into town, he allows me to stay with him and enjoy the room. He is the perfect roommate – because he is NEVER there. He is always at some corporate function/dinner, so I suck up all that free wifi/spa/room service! 😉

My good friends Anna Wendt (who writes the Hollywood Underdog blog) and her sister Karen Wendt picked me up on the way.

I was Stand In for several different people, but my main job was as Stand In for Bobby Carpenter who recognized Denna Laing after recovering from her massive spinal-cord injury. I had to read about 2 pages of copy from the teleprompter. That is quite a bit of time in tv land. I got the chance to quickly scan the text in the Stand In book before walking out on stage. I could see it was about a very emotional/heavy event, so I wanted to do it justice. I felt good about reading all that text with heart.

Here is the inspiring story about Denna Laing. Click on the link and be sure to watch the emotional video clip.


Here is a clip about her with Bobby at the Boston marathon

I also played several Draftee picks. I tried to make each person walk and shake hands with the announcers on stage different. I remember a hilarious stand up comic where he impersonated all the different positions on football team. Here is one of Bob Nelson’s most famous routines at Rodney Dangerfield’s comedy club in the 1980’s. It starts at about 1:30 mark.

I got big laughs/applause from a few people in audience and crew when the last time I came out, I did that bodybuilder pose called The Crab. That is the one where they look like hugging a big tree and flexing their arms and shoulder muscles.

In between run-thrus, I was sitting in audience chairs that have big signs for where the VIPs will sit later that night. Someone noticed I was sitting next to seat reserved for Grant Fuhr. Evidently, I have another evil twin (besides Bruce Willis). 😉

Here is a great highlight reel of the Award show

Here is the full 2 hr program.

Las Vegas finally has some skin in the game – the Vegas Golden Knights.

Great cast and crew. Hope to work with NHL Enterprises, Dempsey Productions, and NBC Sportsnet, and Rogers Sportsnet again soon.

Thank God, I’ve had a really good run of work recently, including Standing In for Drake at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards. That was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. My birthday is July 15. An old roommate Matt Jacobs says actors should always get an acting gig on their birthday. I hope he is right!

Here are some photos of me working the 2017 National Hockey League Awards and Expansion Draft. The T-Mobile Arena is HUGE! Holds something like 20,000?!? The media screens on stage are ginormous! Look at the scale of me vs them.

Author: Chris Rogers

SAG-AFTRA Actor, WordPress Presenter, Public Speaker, Coach, Emcee & Host

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