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American Preds Know Poile is Worthy of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Honor

Laviolette, Smith, Bonino Praise GM Who Will Be Honored in Nashville

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

Anyone who has ever spent time around David Poile can attest to his work ethic, his kindness and his passion for the game of hockey.

Those who call Nashville home know it better than most.

And for the individuals who hail from the United States, seeing their general manager prepare to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame is something they feel was inevitable for a man who given so much to the game itself.

"It's a tremendous honor for him," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "He's put in a lot of time, he's worked with USA Hockey for a lot of years and he's done a lot of great things. When you get to David's level year after year, the commitment that he shows towards USA Hockey, it shows how passionate he is about the game in the United States. He's had his hand in a lot of the successes and a lot of things that have gone well for USA Hockey."

This past summer, the governing body took notice and made the call.

The only GM the Predators have ever known will join Gordon "Red" Berenson, Natalie Darwitz, Leland "Hago" Harrington and Paul Stewart in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 with an induction ceremony set for Dec. 12 at the JW Marriott in Nashville, just up the street from Bridgestone Arena.

In his NHL-record 37th consecutive season as a general manager - 15 with Washington and now 21 with Nashville - Poile's work in the NHL is well documented. However, his contributions to USA Hockey are just as noteworthy, and the list is lengthy.

He served as the general manager of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team and was the associate general manager for the U.S. squad that took home the silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Poile also helped assemble the U.S. Men's National Team that captured the bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship in 2013, the third medal for the U.S. at the tournament since 1962. He served as the general manager of the U.S. Men's National Team in 1998 and 1999 and as associate general manager in 2009 and 2010.

And those accolades don't even begin to make light of what the NHL's all-time winningest GM has done for the sport in the southeast, particularly Nashville.

By building a Predators team that has made the postseason in 11 of its last 14 seasons - including a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 - fandom for hockey in Nashville has never been more prevalent. Those who play for the Preds know that to be the case, and Poile has had plenty to do with it.

Americans who have represented their country on the international stage before, Preds forwards Craig Smith and Nick Bonino have Poile to thank for playing in Nashville.

"It's so well deserved," Bonino said. "He does a lot for USA Hockey and I'm very happy for him. He's been very helpful to us and it couldn't happen to a better guy."

"He's definitely a guy that's given me a shot, given me a chance to play in the National Hockey League and I'm very grateful," Smith said of Poile. "He's been good to me, and I'd say that he's a good person and wants to do the right thing. He cares about his players, and that's all you can ask for."

Poile is compassionate toward the rest of his staff as well, a driving force in the consistent culture that's been established in throughout the organization over the years. For Laviolette, who had worked with Poile at the international level before he joined the Predators in 2014, there aren't many who compare to the GM.

"David's one of the most thorough people that I've ever worked with," Laviolette said. "He's very fair, he's personable, but he's thorough and detailed. There's nothing that he hasn't thought of… He doesn't come into work and say, 'What should I do today?' He comes in with a plan every day, he executes that plan and his teams are better for it."

It's fitting that Poile will take to the stage in Nashville, of all places, in less than two weeks' time, to accept an honor to recognize how much he means to hockey in this city and this country.

But for all of the countless hours he's put in, it's Poile's compassion for those around him that always seems to rise to the forefront.

"Business is business, but there's a human side of things, too," Laviolette said. "Our relationship with all the coaches and David has really grown, just because he's around all the time and he's a personable guy… It's just a tremendous honor."

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