One of the most well-known personalities in the history of the Nashville Predators franchise is former Associate Coach and current Hockey Operations Advisor, Brent Peterson. This past week, Peterson, an 11-year NHL veteran, released his autobiography, “My Toughest Faceoff: My Life in Hockey and My Battle with Parkinson's Disease.” Peterson collaborated with Nashville Predators Examiner writer Jim Diamond to bring readers 260 pages of memories, stories, trials and triumphs.
“I didn’t really want to write a book because I didn’t think anyone would be interested,” Peterson said. “But Jim (Diamond) and a couple other people convinced me that I would be good for raising awareness for Parkinson’s. Then once we got into it, I started thinking about things that have gone on throughout my life, so we started adding to it. It ended up being a story about growing up playing hockey, then playing in the NHL and coaching in the NHL, then dealing with Parkinson’s, and finally going through the DBS procedure. It ended up as a full-fledged book about hockey stories and life stories.”
Petey, as he is affectionately known throughout the organization, joined the expansion Predators as an assistant coach in 1997 and spent a total of 11 years as assistant/associate head coach. Most Preds fans remember Peterson as the stoic mustached-man behind the Predators bench, the man they watched on TV during intermissions and the funny philanthropist always ready to tell a joke or lend a helping hand. But despite his lengthy and storied career it was the Parkinson’s diagnoses that took Peterson on the toughest venture of his life.
Following the 2010-11 season, Peterson was forced to step down from his coaching role as a result of the advancement of Parkinson’s disease. But to this day, he remains an integral part of the Predators front office as an advisor to hockey operations.
“Brent is an amazing person and this book is proof of his legacy not only to the Predators, or the local community, but to the battle against Parkinson’s,” Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz, who helped pen the book’s introduction, said. “He helped mold me into the coach I am today and I am forever indebted to Brent.”
Those who know Coach Peterson understand his lasting legacy, and hopefully his book will help fans understand the man, and enlighten them to the daily struggle of those who suffer from this debilitating disease.
“I think it is a great book for people who want to read some good hockey stories, and it’s a great book for people who want to know more about Parkinson’s,” Peterson said. “I didn’t want it to be just about Parkinson’s, but I had to tell about the last six or so years of everything I’ve gone through. I had to talk about my feelings about leaving coaching, and it was really difficult to do at times.”
Late in 2011, Brent underwent a radical Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) procedure at Vanderbilt University to battle the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Since the procedure, Peterson has seen vast improvement in his everyday life and hopes that his success will inspire others to try DBS. He also founded the Peterson for Parkinson’s Foundation in an effort to raise awareness and funding for Parkinson’s disease and its victims.
“The book is about a lot more than just Brent’s battle with Parkinson’s,” Trotz said. “It tells some pretty good stories about a tough hockey player, who played against some of the greatest players in the game, but the toughest battle of his life didn’t come until he had taken off his skates. It’s much more about the man than just the disease he lives with each day.”
Please click on any of the retailers below to purchase “My Toughest Faceoff: My Life in Hockey and My Battle with Parkinson's Disease.”
Barnes and Noble Online
Peterson For Parkinson’s