The on-ice ceremony honoring Mike Fisher for skating in 1,000 NHL games garnered most of the attention, but quietly, another gathering a few blocks away may have been the more impactful of the two.
A couple days after the Nashville Predators celebrated Fisher’s accomplishment, the centerman, Delaware North, Nashville Predators Foundation and Uptown Sports Management joined together to give back to a charity near and dear to the NHL’s veteran heart. Room in the Inn, a downtown charity which provides shelter, food and education to individuals struggling with homelessness and financial issues, received $7,500 and 1,000 hot dogs to serve at lunch.
The financial gifts bestowed in honor of Fisher’s career accomplishment by the Foundation and Uptown Sports (Fisher’s agency group) will fund various projects, including welcome baskets filled with housing essentials such as towels, utensils and sheets for Room in the Inn’s on-site housing units. While the non-profit has become known for coordinating tens of thousands of shelter beds each fall and winter at congregations throughout Middle Tennessee for the last 30 years, their downtown location also serves dozens of people 24 hours a day throughout the year.
“The first time I visited Room in the Inn, I fell in love with the place and the people that work here. They do such a great job,” Fisher said. “It’s not only giving these people food and shelter, it’s education and helping people get back on their feet... It’s fun to see these people and coming in and visiting with them a little bit and seeing some familiar faces.”
Fisher says he’s found simply coming to Room in the Inn and spending time with some of the individuals there can go a long way in showing them that someone genuinely cares about them. The 16-year NHL veteran cites his Christianity as a motivation to spend time away from the rink and helping others.
“Fish has been wonderful in just being present,” Executive Director for Room in the Inn Rachel Hester said. “I call it a ministry of presence, coming and serving a meal with someone, playing a game, cleaning in the courtyard with us, doing things like that. When you do things like that, people see that you’re invested, you’re not just here for a quick photo and that you’re willing to be involved in their lives.”
Fisher’s regular involvement with Room in the Inn is what made him passing out lunch two days removed from thousands cheering for him at Bridgestone Arena not seem like a big deal. There was no need to act surprised at his willingness to help, because he’d done it so many times before.
“The hot dogs are an example of where Fish always finds his niche, which is in the hospitality and emergency services, but he’s always been a proponent for long-term solutions as well,” Hester said. “He wants someone to have something better. The money that was donated by both the Preds Foundation in honor of Fish and also by his management will go to help others feel like they truly have a place to call home.”
For more on how you can serve at Room in the Inn, please visit their website.
To watch the on-ice ceremony honoring Mike Fisher, click here.
An episode of Beneath the Ice featuring a few Predators players serving at Room in the Inn can be see here.