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Preds Celebrate Norris Trophy Winner on Roman Josi Day in Nashville

Nashville's Captain Hears from Teammates, Family Friends During Surprise Ceremony at Bridgestone Arena

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

Roman Josi Day in Nashville was celebrated accordingly.

The Predators captain - and Norris Trophy winner - was told he needed to stop by Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday to take care of a few things - sign a couple of autographs, have lunch with General Manager David Poile and the like.

But when he stepped through the black curtain hiding the surprise in the arena bowl, Josi was greeted by his wife, Ellie, and then a throng of socially distanced Preds employees who were there to cheer him on.

Under normal circumstances, Josi would have received his honor under the lights of Las Vegas at the NHL Awards, an occasion that likely would have been followed by a celebration with family and friends on the Strip. However, this is 2020, and since Josi received the Norris Trophy recognition via a Zoom call, the Preds wanted to do the best they could under the circumstances to properly honor the world's best defenseman.

Predators employees provided the cheers for the moment, and Poile, Head Coach John Hynes and President & CEO Sean Henry were among those in attendance to offer their congratulations.

Tweet from @PredsNHL: S U R P R I S E ! pic.twitter.com/RzvaAbMR9f

Upon realizing this was much more than a quick trip to the building, Josi was presented with a proclamation from Nashville Mayor John Cooper declaring Sept. 23, 2020 Roman Josi Day in Music City.

And it just got better from there.

Video: Preds Celebrate Norris Trophy Winner, Roman Josi

After a highlight package was shown on the lowered FangVision scoreboard, Josi was presented with another video montage of well wishes from teammates and friends. Fellow defensemen Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Dante Fabbro and Dan Hamhuis, along with Preds forwards Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, Kyle Turris, Nick Bonino, Austin Watson and goaltender Juuse Saros all passed along messages for Josi.

Former teammates Mike Fisher, Scott Hartnell, Chris Mason and Hal Gill also said hello, and Josi's idol, tennis star Roger Federer, even congratulated Josi and referred to himself as "your biggest fan."

Those prerecorded salutations then gave way to live versions, with Josi's family and friends checking in from back home in Switzerland. His mother, father, brother and best mates were all there to tell the D-man - in English and German - just how proud they are of his accomplishments.

Predators Chairman, Governor and Owner Herb Fritch then congratulated his blueliner, and then, saving the best for last, goaltender Pekka Rinne hopped on the video chat. Rinne told Josi how much he means to him and how much pride he has for the man who has blocked countless numbers of shots over the years for the netminder, a couple of Preds legends, the only two players to win performance-based NHL Awards in franchise history.

Tweet from @PredsNHL: Dear fans, love Jos. 💛 pic.twitter.com/ZRYGe2yOSo

Finally, Josi took to the microphone and managed to find the words to express his gratitude

"This is really emotional," Josi said, his voice quivering. "I mean, look at this. All you guys took the time to come out here today and say congrats. It's amazing, and it really means the world to me. Thank you so much. I don't take it for granted, and I'm very grateful for it. This organization is first class.

"You guys have been nothing but great to me since I got here, and to my wife, Ellie. We feel at home here, and the Preds have a huge part in that, and the whole city of Nashville, the whole community. It's pretty overwhelming. This is amazing, and I'm just really grateful to be part of this amazing organization. I'm pretty proud of it, and I really hope I can spend the rest of my career here. It's an amazing organization, amazing city and this is incredible… Thank you so much. I'm really grateful for you guys."

No, thank you, captain.

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