I remember Barry Trotz helping me pick out the carpeting for the locker room in Nashville like it was yesterday.
It was the summer of 1998, and we had so much to do before we began our first NHL season that fall. But the room needed carpeting, so we set out together to take care of it.
Much like how we laid down the very fabric the players would walk on later that year, Barry helped to lay down the fabric of the Predators in ways no one else could. He was the perfect man for the job, and he served for 16 years while epitomizing what it meant to be a member of this organization. It was the Predator Way - a motto that says what you do on the ice means just as much as the kind of person you are off of it.
So, as I watched on my television screen last night as Barry and the rest of the Washington Capitals hoisted the Stanley Cup in the desert, I couldn't help but beam with pride.
Pride not only for him, but also Lane Lambert and Mitch Korn, two others who stood behind the bench here in Nashville and helped to make our franchise into what it is today. It was more than watching just former coaches; I felt as if I was watching three of my family members accomplish their ultimate goal.
We brought Lane in to be the head coach of our minor league affiliate in Milwaukee, and after a few seasons with the Admirals, we knew it was time for him to come to Nashville and be alongside Barry. His contributions were numerous, and he deserves the accolades as much as anyone.
And then there's Mitch - the goalie guru, his netminders known as the children of the Korn. Mitch has an aura about him that simply makes you want to be his friend. His work over the years with all of our goaltenders, but particularly Pekka Rinne, is still paying dividends today.
These three men played such important, lasting roles in our history, our culture and our city.
So, I wanted to say thank you to Barry, Lane and Mitch - not just from myself, but from our entire organization and the city of Nashville. Thank you for everything you did for our logo to help make our team the best it could be. They will always have a special place in Predators lore.
Barry, Lane and Mitch were already champions in life. Now, the rest of the world will know them as champions of our game. The hockey gods got it right last night.