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Short Shifts

Three-year-old's reaction to meeting hero Rinne is pure joy

Carter Nicholson was shaking from excitement after brief encounter with Predators goalie

by Cristina Ledra @cledra / Staff Writer

Carter Nicholson turned 3 years old just a few months ago but he already experienced the thrill of a lifetime.

The Pekka Rinne superfan was standing in just the right spot to get a little love from his favorite player Thursday night in Nashville and his reaction was priceless.

Tweet from @hnich1017: 1.Chased down the Preds Girls���2. Pekka smiled and said ���hey bud������3. @Gnash00 blew him kisses���4. @PredsNHL win -in progress #Smashville ��

Carter started going to games last season with his mom Heather and dad Justin, and was immediately enchanted with the whole experience, from the game to Gnash the mascot to the Predators Energy team and, of course, Rinne.

"He just really got addicted to it," Heather told "He learned the chants, he knew what was going on on the ice. It was crazy how quickly he picked it up."

Carter requested a Predators theme for his last birthday party, so his parents threw him one at Ford Ice Center in Nashville, where he got to hang out with Gnash and where he's since taken skating lessons. He also requested to dress up as, not just a hockey player, but Rinne specifically for Halloween and has the whole getup ready to go. 

During previous games they'd been to, Heather had taken notice of where the players get off the ice after warmups and by Thursday, she'd figured out exactly where to go to give Carter the best shot at seeing Rinne up close.

"As soon as they came out [for warmups] Carter started screaming for Pekka," she said. "I'm like, 'Buddy, he can't hear you right now, you have to wait,' so he spent the whole time like, 'Where's Pekka? Where is he?' And I was pointing him out the whole time," she said.

Carter continued to track Rinne through the warmup and then the goalie stopped on the ice nearby.

"Carter was banging on the glass and yelling his name and he kind of turned around, saw Carter and waved at him and [Carter] freaked out," she said. "And then when [Rinne] finally came in, I said, 'Carter, there he is!' and that's when I started videoing.

"He was literally shaking, he was so excited."

The whole interaction lasted only a couple seconds but it's safe to say that impression is going to last for a long, long time.

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