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Pekka Rinne for 2020-21 King Clancy Memorial Trophy

Pekka Rinne

Nashville Predators Goaltender

For the third consecutive year, the Nashville Predators' nominee for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy is goaltender Pekka Rinne. Since his acquisition by the Preds as an eighth-round pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, Pekka has become a household name throughout Tennessee. It is all but guaranteed that his number will be the first in franchise history retired to the rafters at Bridgestone Arena not only because of his Vezina Trophy-winning performances on the ice, but also because of his deep commitment to the Middle Tennessee community where he is adored by all he meets.
 

In addition to holding franchise all-time and playoff records in virtually every category, Pekka is the winningest Finnish goaltender in NHL history and one of only 20 goalies in League history to own at least 300 victories and 50 shutouts. In 2020, Pekka delighted hockey fans around the world when he scored his first-ever goalie goal, which earned him the 2020 NHL Fan Choice Goal of the Year.
 

Considering his impressive list of achievements, it is no secret that Pekka has become a staple of Nashville's hockey history and will continue to contribute significantly to the team and community in the future. In short, Pekka Rinne is the best-ever Predators and Finnish goaltender. However, not only is he a leader on the ice, but also in the community that has lovingly embraced him throughout his entire career in Nashville. From the very start of Pekka's time with the Predators, he has quietly, yet consistently, devoted countless hours and dollars to a diverse range of worthy causes.
 

Most notably, alongside former captain Shea Weber, Pekka formed the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily, which raises money and awareness for childhood cancer research at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. In his very first full season with the team, after meeting Mike, a man with Down Syndrome, Pekka would foster a relationship with Best Buddies that has flourished to this day. Additionally, Pekka's commitment to Make-A-Wish, the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's, and a number of initiatives throughout the coronavirus pandemic has brought joy and hope to people young and old throughout Middle Tennessee and beyond.
 

For those reasons, which we will expand upon below, we know that Pekka Rinne is beyond deserving of the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.

365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily

benefiting Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt

The 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily was created during the 2012-13 season by Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber in partnership with the Nashville Predators Foundation empowered by SmileDirectClub. As aforementioned, the partnership raises funds and awareness for the vital cancer research that takes place at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. At the time of its inception, Rinne and Weber, two of the most recognizable faces in Nashville Predators history, understood their unique position as professional athletes and wanted to use their notability and resources to brighten the lives of the local hospital's young patients and their families.
 

Since the establishment of the fund, donations totaling over $3.0 million (cash and in-kind) have been made to the hospital and its programs.

At Seacrest Studios in 2017, Pekka visited with Kaydyn, who has since lost his battle with cancer

2012 - $151,471.14
2013 - $131,405.00
2014 - $319,242.90
2015 - $395,424.74
2016 - $427,144.45
2017 - $442,365.17
2018 - $523,365.18
2019 - $550,365.19
2020 - $365,000.20

Total (Cash and In-Kind) - $3,021,907.83

 

Additionally, prior to the pandemic, the 365 Fund collaborated with the Nashville Predators organization to offer children the chance to meet members of the Predators team and experience the thrill of hockey games in SMASHVILLE. The 365 Fund has a suite at Bridgestone Arena, fully funded by Rinne, which normally accommodates 16 special guests and family members from Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt for Predators home games throughout the season. On select nights, the suite is auctioned off with all proceeds benefiting the 365 Fund.
 

These family-friendly nights out are a rare treat for most of the young visitors, many of whom cannot manage the hustle, bustle and sensory experience of the crowded arena. Inside the suite, the guests of honor can comfortably enjoy food and beverages, knee hockey with a real goal light and 365 Fund T-shirts. Opportunities for each guest to interact with Pekka and the team, such as locker room meet and greets, further enhance this exciting experience. More than 3,750 children and family members have caught a Preds game from the 365 Fund suite.
 

Outside of Bridgestone Arena, every year Pekka attends seasonal hospital visits with many of his teammates. He also drops in on his friends at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital during the annual 365 Fund check presentation. During his visits, at Seacrest Studios - a fully functional broadcast media center inside the hospital - Pekka plays games with and answers questions from the children. Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person visits to the hospital are currently on hold, yet Pekka still found a creative and virtual way to lift the spirits of the patients who are still fighting to recover from a variety of ailments. In the face of a global pandemic and through the magic of video chats, Pekka has been able to interact with patients just as they would in person.
 

Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person visits to the hospital are currently on hold and most of the kids are unable to attend games due to health concerns, yet Pekka still found a creative and virtual way to lift the spirits of the patients who are still fighting to recover from a variety of ailments. In the face of a global pandemic and through the magic of video chats, Pekka has been able to interact with patients just as they would in person for over a year now.
 

In honor of the many youngsters who would normally enjoy all that SMASHVILLE has to offer from Pekka's 365 Suite, an entire section inside Bridgestone Arena is now dedicated to their cardboard cutouts.
 

Additionally, Pekka's attendance at various fundraisers conducted by the Nashville Predators Foundation, such as the Annual Preds & Pins Celebrity Bowling Tournament, serves to bolster the spirit and resources of the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily. After nine years of commitment to the 365 Fund, Pekka Rinne has truly become a part of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital family.

February 22, 2020: Pekka wears his custom goalie mask for Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Bridgestone Arena
October 2019 visit to the playroom at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, which was funded by the Predators when the hospital opened

Best Buddies

Dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

In 2009, Mike Maguire, a man with Down Syndrome, attended a Best Buddies auction where he won tickets to an upcoming Nashville Predators game. Maguire approached then-Preds head coach Barry Trotz to share his excitement about the visit to Bridgestone Arena. Trotz, who has a son with Down Syndrome, invited Mike to a meet and greet with the players after the game. Although there was no way of knowing at that moment, Mike's life was about to change forever, and so was Pekka Rinne's.
 

After Mike put the tickets that he won to use, as promised by Trotz, he made his way to Event Level to meet the team. Upon introduction, Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne, who was in his first season with the Predators, instantly knew that they wanted to become Best Buddies with Mike. Weber and Rinne would go on to secure season tickets for Mike, who is now one of the most avid Preds fans in all of SMASHVILLE. Since that initial meeting over 10 years ago, Pekka's friendship with Mike has blossomed.

Pekka and Mike embrace after a game in February 2016
Pekka and Mike at the Annual Best Buddies Gala
Pekka and Mike at the Annual Best Buddies 5K
Pekka celebrates with Mike on his 50th birthday

Following many home games prior to the pandemic, you would find Mike Maguire outside the Predators dressing room, just as he was the first time they met, waiting to congratulate, or sometimes console, Pekka. The bond between the pair even extends to Mike's family members, who Pekka joins in celebrating Mike's birthdays, walking alongside him at Best Buddies 5Ks or simply going out to dinner. When asked about this friendship, Pekka has been known to share that it is certainly not one-sided, as he himself gains a great deal of happiness from his time spent with Mike and the Maguires, and he looks forward to the day when they can once again come together in person. 
 

Because Mike is immunocompromised, he was unable to attend Predators games until he received his COVID-19 vaccine. Upon Mike's eventual return, his excitement to be at Bridgestone Arena and see Pekka was contagious.
 

On a larger scale, if the team is not on the road, Pekka also interacts with the Best Buddies community as he attends the ever-popular Best Buddies Prom and Gala. At these annual events, which are held at Bridgestone Arena, over 2,000 people with and without intellectual disabilities get five-star treatment and enjoy an evening filled with laughter, dancing and singing.
 

During the 2016 season, with the blank canvas of his helmet at his disposal, Pekka chose to not only feature Nashville-related elements, but also the Best Buddies logo and 365 Fund logo. When discussing the design of the mask, Pekka stated that it had personal meaning for him, and he enjoys the fact that goaltenders can express themselves and what is important to them through their equipment. For anyone who was witnessed Pekka's interactions with Mike Maguire, or seen the smiles that he brings to the faces of those in attendance at each Best Buddies event, it is abundantly clear how important the organization and friendships really are to him.

 

Make-A-Wish® Middle Tennessee

Creating life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses

At Make-A-Wish, their founding principle is that a wish experience can be a game-changer for a child with critical illness. In addition to bringing joy to the patients at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital over the course of his time in Nashville, Pekka Rinne also tends to play a special role in each wish that is granted by the Nashville Predators organization.
 

Unofficially, the Predators Foundation and 365 Fund granted the wish of Nathaniel Bone, a Nashville resident whose love for hockey formed at just two-years-old when the Preds first took the ice at Bridgestone Arena. After receiving a cancer diagnosis at 15, Nathaniel's dream was to meet the Predators. Nine years later, having received treatment at Vanderbilt, not only has Nathaniel met the team, but he has become a part of the team and formed a special relationship with Pekka.

In March of 2018, the Predators partnered with Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee to grant the wish of Devin Roque. For the eight-year-old who suffered from a rare form of blood cancer, receiving tickets to see his favorite hockey player, Pekka Rinne, in action was just the tip of the iceberg. The Preds signed him to an endless, priceless contract and he had the opportunity to take shots on Pekka before the pair led the team onto the ice. That evening, Devin and his family closed out the experience by enjoying a game from Pekka's 365 Fund suite. Pekka and the Predators organization were saddened to hear of Devin's passing just over a year after his two-day visit to SMASHVILLE.


Devin Roque was not the only Pekka Rinne fan to visit Bridgestone Arena thanks to Make-A-Wish. In January 2019, 17-year-old Jacob Piros - a goaltender for the Capital City Capitals in Ionia, Michigan - looked up to Pekka so much that his wish after being diagnosed with cancer was to head to Music City to meet the Finnish goalie himself. Prior to the Preds facing off against the Jets, Piros met Pekka and the entire team, led them onto the ice for warmups, stood with Pekka during the national anthems and then watched from his 365 Fund suite. For the next two days, Piros got to spend even more time with his favorite netminder, enjoying practice with Pekka and a second game the following day.
 

Most recently, the Predators signed Wish Kid Asher Collier to a contract like Devin Roque's before him. Collier has cerebral palsy and short bowel syndrome and is a huge Predators fan. To celebrate his fourth birthday, Asher took part in morning skate, trying his hand at getting pucks past his favorite goalie, Pekka Rinne. That evening, Asher went on to lead the team to the ice for warmups, hand-in-hand with Pekka. In addition to these wishes, Pekka has taken part in a variety of other wish grants during his time with the Predators.
 

Overall, Pekka Rinne goes to great lengths to make each Wish Kid feel welcomed and like a true part of the team. Although there are many elements at play when the Predators grant a child's wish, Pekka is certainly the common thread and often the game-changer that Make-A-Wish seeks for these children.

Pekka and Wish Kid Asher Collier lead the team to the ice
Pekka skates with Wish Kid Devin Roque and his father

Feed the Frontline Initiative

Giving back to the healthcare workers and first responders who continue to keep us safe and healthy

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter our lives more than one year after its initial onset, countless men and women worked tirelessly to keep our community safe. With that, the Nashville Predators introduced the brand-new Feed the Frontline initiative, which aims not only to highlight local restaurants and help keep their staff employed, but also to utilize those partners to feed the people on the front lines of the pandemic.

Although meals were also delivered to every single Metro Nashville Police precinct and Fire Department, not surprisingly, Pekka Rinne wanted to give back to the staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who are battling the coronavirus outbreak. With that, on behalf of Pekka and the 365 Fund, 600 Chick-fil-a meals were delivered to the Medical Center to feed the hardworking doctors, nurses and staff.
 

In addition to the meal delivery, Pekka, along with three of his teammates, partnered with Dunkin' to provide $10,000 worth of free coffee for medical professionals working on the front lines. On 10 different occasions in the months of April and May, the first 100 local healthcare professionals to show their medical ID badges at two different Dunkin' locations received a free cup of coffee courtesy of Pekka Rinne, his teammates and the Preds.

A children's hospital employee was excited to recieve lunch from Pekka

Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's

Support and enhance the lives of people with Parkinson's, their care partners and their families

In his first years with the Nashville Predators, Pekka Rinne had the opportunity to be coached by Brent Peterson. "Petey," as he is lovingly known, served as an assistant coach from Day One until 2011 when he brought his battle with Parkinson's into the public eye. At that time, Peterson transitioned into a Hockey Operations Advisor role and now acts as a Broadcast Analyst. Petey continues to work tirelessly through the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's (PFP) to raise awareness of the devastating effects of Parkinson's disease.
 

Pekka, having known Brent Peterson since his first season with the Preds, has always supported the many endeavors of PFP. The largest annual fundraising event for PFP is the Nashville Predators / Brent Peterson Celebrity Golf Classic and Petey's Party - a fun night of live entertainment, dinner and an extensive silent auction. Although these events take place at a time of year when the players are not obligated to participate, Pekka attends almost every single time. Additionally, he contributes financially to Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's.

Pekka enjoying the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's dinner program
Pekka at the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's Golf Tournament

Pekka Rinne for 2019-20 King Clancy Memorial Trophy