To view a photo gallery of the 2016 edition of GnashVegas, click here or on the photo above
Ice skates and pucks were replaced by fire dancers and casino games on the Bridgestone Arena floor as the Nashville Predators hosted their fifth annual GnashVegas Casino Night presented by King Jewelers on Feb. 16.
“GnashVegas is the launch event for everything we do at the Nashville Predators Foundation,” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. “It’s the core of what we do, and we raise the most money here, but more than that, it gives people the chance to get together and celebrate what we do all year long through their generosity.”
The Nashville Predators Foundation, which gives away more than $1 million in grants a year and benefits more than 700 organizations, uses the proceeds generated through GnashVegas, which brought in $140,000 this year, to benefit numerous organizations throughout Middle Tennessee.
In addition to celebrating the community, the Las Vegas-themed event also offered attendees the chance to enjoy the company of Nashville Predators players, coaching staff and broadcasters in a low-key and intimate setting.
“This is the best event for the fans to attend,” Senior Director of Community Relations Rebecca King said. “They get to see the players off of the ice in a very relaxed and social environment. It’s just a fun setting for fans to interact with their favorite player.”
The players, who Henry referred to as “the spirit behind the Foundation,” were able to enjoy the event as much as the fans in attendance.
Forward Ryan Johansen, who attended with friends and family for the first time, appreciated the opportunity to get to know some of the team’s fans in the unique environment for a good cause.
“It’s all about making a difference,” Johansen said. “All we do is chase a rubber puck around, so to be able to put smiles on people’s faces and raise money for charity and the underprivileged… it’s something where you can lay your head on your pillow at night and have a smile on your face.”
Veteran forward Mike Fisher, who has had a strong community presence during his tenure in Music City, highlighted some of the most fun aspects of what GnashVegas has to offer.
“The guys get to see some of the fans and people that come out to support us, and it raises money for great charities,” said Fisher. “There’s usually some good food, too.”
Twelve restaurants, including Noshville Delicatessen, Tin Roof and many more, catered the event. Attendees were able to sample restaurant favorites, such as the Omni Hotel - Kitchen Notes’ Short Rib and Shrimp Tacos and Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya from Margaritaville.
In addition to enjoying the food and festivities, goaltender Pekka Rinne, who has attended GnashVegas since its inception in 2011, reflected on the importance of the players’ attendance.
“A lot of times you forget how fortunate we are,” said Rinne. “Being in the position where just by being present, signing autographs, saying ‘hi’ to people or doing hospital visits… they’re the tiniest things, but they can make such a big difference in the community.”
The Nashville Predators Foundation will be hosting another night of relaxation for a good cause, at the 11th annual Wine Festival and Tasting presented by King Jewelers. This event will also serve as a viewing party as the team hits the road to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 31.