David Poile never set out to become the winningest general manager in NHL history. He never expected to be nominated a record four times for the NHL's GM of the Year award, or to win it in 2017.
Serving as an associate GM of the 2010 U.S. Men's Olympic Hockey Team, or GM of the squad in 2014, likely wasn't on the list of expectations.
So, he probably wasn't sitting by the phone waiting for USA Hockey to call and induct him into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, either.
But when making considerations for the 2018 class, choosing inductees on the basis of extraordinary contributions to the sport of hockey in the United States, it's kind of a no-brainer.
USA Hockey did make the call, and on Dec. 12 in Nashville, the only GM the Predators have ever had will be officially confirmed as one of five new members of the U.S. Hall.
"When you're doing your job in hockey, it's what you love, and I don't think you ever necessarily think of any type of recognition for what you're doing - but this is amazing," Poile said. "To be included in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, it's something I never thought of, and it's just amazing to be included with all of the icons of the USA Hockey."
Video: Preds GM set to join U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
Poile has undoubtedly become one of those icons himself over the years, guiding an NHL team for a record 36 consecutive seasons. He'll begin No. 37 this October, No. 22 with the Preds, and in between home games against Ottawa and Vancouver, Poile will join Gordon "Red" Berenson, Natalie Darwitz, Paul Stewart and the late Leland "Hago" Harrington at the JW Marriott in Nashville on Dec. 12 for the induction ceremony.
Humbled and honored be enshrined alongside fellow Americans who have each made their own unique mark on the sport, Poile is certainly proud of the managerial roles he's been able to undertake for the governing body over the years.
However, it's the growth the game has seen all across the country - and in particular, in a city like Nashville - that stands out for Poile, playing what he calls "a small part" in helping to turn the Music City into a hockey city, too.
"I can't tell you how great it's been in Nashville the last few years in terms of how well the game has been taken on by our fans and how well our team has played into the growth of hockey," Poile said. "When I got here 20 years ago, that's kind of the vision that you have, or the hope that you have, to be able to make Nashville into somewhat of a hockey city. Now, we're going to have an induction ceremony for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. I mean, who saw that coming 20 years ago?"
Sure, it's a rhetorical question, but now, 20 years later, why wouldn't that ceremony be held just up the street from Bridgestone Arena? It's a testament to sport itself, the passion that is unavoidable once it's experienced for the first time.
It's the same passion Poile had when was playing all those years ago at Northeastern University, the same dedication he brought with him to an NHL front office for the first time and the same devotion he still has today for his club and his country.
"I certainly still would like to be involved in USA Hockey, and their growth has been remarkable," Poile said. "We're in a situation where we keep percentages of how many players have come from Canada to the U.S., different countries, but the country's percentage that's going up and up and up is USA Hockey. It may not be too far out in the future that the United States is producing more players than any other country in the world, and I'd like to be a part of that.
"The competitiveness of USA Hockey, all of the medals that they're winning, from the people that you meet, the players you work with, to the all of the places and cities and countries that you get to go to…it's all so unique. Those experiences have really served as a foundation of continuing to grow USA Hockey, so I'm proud to be a little part of that."