The Predators organization seems to be hitting all sorts of milestones these days. Most recently, captain Jason Arnott moved into the elite group of 1,000-game NHL veterans, an achievement that was acknowledged in a pre-game ceremony this past Thursday. Bench-boss Barry Trotz—who also hit a milestone when he coached his 750th NHL game in November—was treated to a ceremony last month in celebration of his accomplishments.
While these benchmarks were met with all the pomp and circumstance one would expect from such accomplishments, there is another upcoming milestone that deserves some fanfare of its own.
Tonight, as Nashville takes on the division-rival Chicago Blackhawks, another member of the Predators family will set a precedent; Preds Equipment Manager Pete Rogers
is working in his 1,500th game in professional hockey.
Since Day One of the franchise, Rogers has made an impact on the team and was instrumental in transforming the locker room to the state-of-the-art sports facility it is today.
“When Pete got here, the building was already built and it wasn’t set up for anything specific,” General Manager David Poile said. “It had a good foundation but we sat down when we first got here and Pete and Barry and I went through a lot of NHL locker rooms. Pete was very instrumental in getting a lot of ideas from everybody including Dan (Redmond, head athletic trainer) in redesigning our locker room to one of the best configurations in the National Hockey League.
“In the NHL, the dressing room is a player’s home for a lot of hours everyday. The equipment manager takes great pride in how his locker room looks and the cleanliness of it—everything has a place. As an NHL team, both on and off the ice, we’re big on structure and order and an equipment manager needs to have all of that in place. If you look the part, you can play the part.”
In his 11th season with the Predators, Rogers assists with the daily equipment needs of the players as well as the coordination and transfer of equipment to and from road games. He also works with the NHL to ensure compliance with programs concerning equipment tracking, jersey authentication and on-ice exposure.
Before coming to Nashville, Rogers spent16 years with the American Hockey League’s Rochester Americans—with nine of those seasons as assistant equipment manager and seven as head equipment manager/director of team travel. Pete, like many past and present members of the Predators, has grown within the organization and has been recognized as one of the top people in the NHL in his position; some of the SUNY Brockport graduate’s career highlights include invitations to serve as equipment manager for the Eastern Conference All-Stars (2008), IIHF World Championships (2005, 1998-2002) and for Team USA in the 2006 Winter Olympics.
“He has been really good for our organization,” head coach Barry Trotz said of Rogers. “He has really grown in all the management areas as an employee of the Predators and for the team.
“He is a big part of our culture now.”