The party has grown so big that an arena was needed this year.
Bridgestone Arena was the venue Thursday night for the annual Petey’s Preds Party, which benefitted the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s and the Nashville Predators Foundation.
Predators Coach Brent Peterson, who was diagnosed with the disease several years ago, said he continues to be impressed with the event’s growth each year. It was held at The Factory at Franklin the past two years, but has outgrown that venue.
“Certainly the Predators have helped a lot and it has grown,” Peterson said. “It’s both of our events. It’s been supported by everybody and it’s been great.”
The sold-out event had 940 attendees, which set a record-high attendance for Peterson’s annual dinner.
Key members of the Predators, including captain Shea Weber
and forwards Patric Hornqvist
and David Legwand
, mingled with the crowd. Other celebrities from the sports world included former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher and former longtime NBA forward Brian Grant. Country star Bucky Covington was also on hand. Comedian Jeff Allen provided the live entertainment, with a special guest appearance from Carrie Underwood, who performed her hit song "Jesus Take The Wheel."
The festivities began with a cocktail reception and silent auction. There were dozens of standout items, including signed guitars by Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Aerosmith, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Rush and Alice Cooper. Signed jerseys from each Predators player were also up for auction, as were those from Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby and Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, among others.
There was an emotional video montage of former Predator forward Wade Belak, who passed away last week. Belak’s No. 3 jersey was stationed on the main stage with a single light shining on it throughout the evening.
There was also a moment of silence for Belak and for those who died in the plane crash in Russia on Wednesday that took the lives of two former Predators players and one prospect.
The evening took a more celebratory tone with a montage of last year’s season.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the attendance for this sold-out event,” said Nashville Predators Director of Community Relations Rebecca Ward King. “It shows how beloved Coach Peterson is and how much people care about supporting both the Nashville Predators
Foundation and the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s. The impact from the funds raised will be great.”
Peterson has been a mainstay on the Predators bench since the first day of the franchise. After playing in 620 NHL games, he transitioned to the other side of the bench and has logged 1,201 games as a coach. As the disease progressed during this offseason, Peterson announced he would be stepping down from his position behind bench. He will remain part of the organization and handle various off-ice coaching duties.
Since being diagnosed, Peterson has made it his mission to promote awareness of the disease while raising money to help find a cure. Along with his annual dinner, the Nashville Predators Foundation and the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s will host the inaugural Nashville Predators/Brent Peterson Celebrity Golf Classic on Friday at Vanderbilt Legends Club. The golf event is sponsored by First Tennessee Bank, Franklin American Mortgage and PEAK Performance.
In previous years, the Predators and Peterson held separate golf events, but this is the first time they will be merged.