The entertainment world has been buzzing with the surprise engagement announcement of Chad Kroeger and Avril Lavigne, two internationally acclaimed superstars whose romance eluded the watchful eyes of the media.
The 14-karat engagement ring, valued at $1 million, also made headlines.
While it’s well-known that Kroeger, the 37-year-old frontman for the rock band Nickelback, was born and raised in Hanna, few would know that Kroeger’s family lived in Stettler.
His grandparents, Henry and Cleona Kroeger, along with their three children — who included Chad’s mother Debbie — lived just down the street from the Stettler United Church.
Henry Kroeger operated the Massey Harris farm equipment dealership in town.
In 1959, the elder Kroeger took his first run at politics, running under the Liberal banner in the Stettler electoral division. That attempt resulted in a third-place finish.
Years after Henry Kroeger moved to Consort, he was elected as an MLA in Peter Lougheed’s Conservative government in 1975, and served in that capacity until his death in 1987.
He was Transportation Minister and his work with water management in the dry prairie region resulted in the Henry Kroeger Regional Water Services Commission being named in his honour.
Perhaps Chad can attribute some of his musical talent to his grandparents — Henry played bass guitar and Cleona the drums in the Tory Blue Notes, an all-MLA band.
The marriage of Chad’s parents, Wendall and Debbie Turton, broke up when he was about two years old and he later adopted his mother’s maiden name of Kroeger. Hanna is considered his hometown.
Before his success as Nickelback’s lead singer, Chad worked in a coffee house in Vancouver where coffee cost $1.95. As he gave back change, Chad constantly said, “Here’s your nickel back” — hence, the origin of the band’s name.
Mike Kroeger, Chad’s older half-brother, is also an original member of Nickelback. The popular rock band has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide.
Lavigne, 27, originally from Ontario, gained superstardom in the music’s pop genre while still a teenager.
The multiple-award-winning Lavigne has received 267 nominations and has more than 150 awards to her name.
The couple began dating in February when they got together to co-write a song for Lavigne’s upcoming album.
It will be the first marriage for Kroeger, and the second for Lavigne.