Nickelback’s hometown removes iconic signs celebrating Alberta’s biggest rock stars | CBC News

The Alberta town that proudly announced itself as the home of the Canadian rock band Nickelback has removed its popular highway signs, with potential safety risks cited as one reason they were taken down.

Since 2004, the three highway entrances into Hanna, Alta., have boasted welcome signs stating that the town of 2,600 was “Proud to be the home of Nickelback.”

In May, those signs were all taken down.

Danny Povaschuk, mayor of the town about 200 kilometres northeast of Calgary, said the highway signs posed a safety concern when Nickelback fans and curious motorists stopped on the side of the road to — in a nod to one of the band’s hits — photograph themselves with the sign.

“I would have never in a million years thought that we would have feedback on the impact of the signs,” Povaschuk told CBC News.

WATCH | Nickelback’s performance at the 2023 Juno Awards

Nickelback perform ‘Rockstar,’ ‘How You Remind Me,’ ‘Animals’ | 2023 Juno Awards

Nickelback perform ‘Rockstar,’ ‘How You Remind Me,’ ‘Animals’ at the 2023 Juno Awards

But the removal was also prompted by a desire for the town to refurbish the signs, which were about 30 years old, while refreshing the message being given to potential visitors, he added.

“The feeling of council … was to keep the new sign simple and not put anyone’s name on it,” Povaschuk said.

As one of the best-known bands in the world, Nickelback is easily the biggest name associated with the community. But Hanna was also home to sports notables like the Calgary Flame’s Lanny McDonald, CFL defensive lineman Blake Nill, former Vancouver Canuck Jim Nill, and professional wrestler Dave Ruhl.

Povaschuk said a dilemma posed by the monument refurbishment project was around what to do with the old signs.

One of them ended up being gifted to McDonald when the former hockey star turned 70, and now hangs in one of his restaurants in Montana. In a photo of the sign that was presented to the McDonald, the wording was amended to state “Home of Nickelback and Lanny McDonald.”

A second was donated to the Hanna museum, while the third will be kept at the visitor information centre.

Artwork depicting album art is displayed on the exterior of a blue building.
Murals of home town band Nickleback adorn the curling rink in Hanna, Alta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The economy of the rural town is mostly based on agriculture, oil production, power generation, coal mining and tourism. Although the welcome signs are gone, there are plenty of other reminders of the Canadian rock-and-roll success story.

Among its many public murals is a series of Nickelback album covers adorning the exterior of the curling rink. Povaschuk said artist Donna Brink will return to Hanna to add a mural depicting the cover art for the band’s 2022 release, Get Rollin’.

Edmonton AM7:14Hanna, Alta., rethinking its appreciation for hometown heroes Nickelback

If you’ve ever driven past Hanna, Alta., you’ll know there’s a highway sign proudly declaring it’s the home of Nickleback. But that Nickelback sign is no longer there. Hanna mayor Danny Povaschuk joins us to explain.

As well, the town is refurbishing an old electronic sign to keep the “Home of Nickelback” message in lights. Povaschuk said it will be placed in a safe location — away from the busy highway.

“Nickelback is an important component to our town,” he said. “They’re a very important part of what we are.”

And the town has remained important to the big rock stars.

The band’s 2005 music video for Photograph followed band members as they chronicled childhood memories in their homes and at the school or old arcade.

At its March induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame during the 2023 Juno Awards in Edmonton, lead guitarist and vocalist Chad Kroeger gave a shout-out to their rural Alberta roots.

“Twenty-seven years, blood, sweat and tears started off 300 kilometres southeast of here in a little town called Hanna,” Kroeger said.

Nickelback, which has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, is currently on its North American Get Rollin’ tour. The band was not available for comment.

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