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Hartnell Enjoying Time with Family, Ceremonial Puck Drops in Retirement

Former Nashville Fan Favorite Returns to Be Honored for Career with Predators

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

Scott Hartnell Night Presser

Scott Hartnell answers questions on time with Preds

Preds alumnus Scott Hartnell reflects on his time playing and shares where his life is headed next with his new son and broadcasting career

  • 08:00 •

Scott Hartnell accomplished plenty over the course of 17 seasons in the NHL.

He was a two-time 30-goal scorer, an NHL All-Star and carved out a career as one of the toughest to play against in recent memory.

And now, in retirement, he's become the orchestrator of arguably the two greatest ceremonial puck drops the League has ever seen.

After finishing his career right where it started last season - in Nashville - Hartnell officially hung up his skates last summer, and it wasn't long until the tributes began to pour in. The first Scott Hartnell Night came in Philadelphia, the site where he enjoyed the best offensive numbers of his career.

The visitors that night happened to be the Predators, and as team captains Roman Josi and Claude Giroux settled in for the customary photo, what followed is traditionally supposed to be a leisurely puck drop won by the home team.

But this is Scott Hartnell we're talking about.

Instead, Hartnell channeled his inner-linesman as the two challengers actually battled for the puck once it hit the ice. The crowd loved it, giving a cheer reminiscent of the days when Hartnell would score a big goal or skate off the ice following a scrap.

So, when the Predators invited the fan favorite back for his own night in Smashville, there was only one way to kick off the evening.

With his young son Wesley in one arm and the puck in his free hand, Hartnell once again settled in for the draw. Josi won it this time with the night's honoree sporting his flowing locks and trademark grin that his teammates and opponents came to know all too well over the years.

As those who know him best would say, that's Hartsy.

Video: CAR@NSH: Hartnell honored by Predators for NHL career

Entering last season with the Predators on a one-year deal after departing from three campaigns with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Hartnell was aware that it could be his final go around. Once the summertime came and the offers weren't flowing in, the 36-year-old says he took a look in the mirror and realized maybe it was indeed time.

After all, he had just welcomed his son into the world in May, and the prospect of spending every day with Wesley and his wife, Katie, sure beat the thought of preparing for that first long road trip in October.

While Hartnell admits he misses things like dinners with his teammates and letting the flow out during warmups, retired life isn't all that bad.

"There is life after hockey, too," Hartnell said Saturday at Bridgestone Arena. "I've been really happy just in my life… Wesley was born eight or nine days after we lost out of the playoffs, so I've been around almost every day with him and watching him grow. They grow so fast when they're young, so that's been a plus in my retirement."

Hartnell is still around the game as well, dabbling in the broadcast side and joining NHL Network as an analyst. It's a natural fit for Hartnell who is charismatic and well-spoken. Plus, he knows the game just about as well as anyone.

"Everyone kind of told me you've got a personality, and people are looking for that kind of stuff on TV," Hartnell said. "I think one of the reasons I played so long in my career is I have a good hockey IQ. I know the game, and maybe I wasn't the fastest guy like there are now… but I was able to have a great career doing that. On air, people want to hear someone they know, they want to hear someone that has a personality and I think I kind of fit that criteria. I'm just excited to be a part of that and see where it goes."

Video: Predators thank Scott Hartnell for years in Nashville

Less than a year removed from being a player, Hartnell still keeps in touch with plenty of his former teammates, and it wasn't long ago when he fielded a call from one of his favorites.

One of the newest members of the Predators - another power forward in Wayne Simmonds - became close with Hartnell during their time spent together with the Flyers.

So, on NHL Trade Deadline Day, as Simmonds watched the coverage and saw his name on the screen with a Predators logo right as the time was up, it wasn't long before the mentee had Hartnell on the phone.

Video: Preds teammates, management honor Scott Hartnell

"I actually talked to him at 3:02 Eastern Time, two minutes after the deadline," Hartnell said of Simmonds. "He called me and he was like, 'I just got traded to Nashville, I think,' and I was like, 'What do you mean you think?!' But I was so happy for him. He was so fired up and I said, 'You obviously know [Predators Head Coach and former Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette] and you're going to love [Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi], P.K. [Subban], you're going to love the boys and you're going to fit in so well there."

Before the call was done, however, there was one more order of business. In Philadelphia, Simmonds wore No. 17, the same digits Hartnell sported during his time in Nashville. So, Simmonds had to ask.

"He's like, 'Hey, mind if I wear 17?' And I'm like, 'Of course not! It's all yours. I wouldn't want anyone else to wear it.' So, we had a good laugh at that, and he's just a good man. I'm happy he's coming to a great organization."

Having skated just shy of 500 games with the Predators in his career, Hartnell knew Simmonds was about to experience what he did in two different stints with Nashville - nothing but first-class accommodations through and through.

It's why Hartnell came back to finish his career with the Preds, why he wanted to give it one last go in the Tennessee town that stole his heart as a teenager.

And it's why the invitation to come back one more time to be honored meant so much to the man who started out as a kid from Saskatchewan with a dream.

"Talking to [Predators General Manager David] Poile, I saw him this morning and just gave a big thank you to him for drafting me and bringing me back last year and having this night for me and my wife and my young son," Hartnell said. "Nashville is a special organization. Coming here in 2000, you kind of knew it then, and it's even better now. It's just great organization to be a part of, and I'm proud to be an alumnus here."

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