I’ll keep this short and sweet. Thank you, Pekka Rinne. Thank you for fifteen seasons of excellence and class. At every turn, no matter the situation, you went above and beyond the call of duty. You were the emotional leader of the Nashville Predators and more than a fan favorite. You were like family to those of us lucky enough to watch you play. So, thank you.
We are not hockey experts here at Rambling Ever On. Many of our writers don’t follow the sport at all. Personally, I’m a big fan but have not really followed the sport as closely as I follow football or even basketball until the last handful of seasons. Once it became clear that my boys were falling in love with the Nashville Predators, my attention level changed dramatically. We watch every game we can. We live and die by the Preds and their successes and failures. One of the biggest reasons we have become such big fans is Pekka Rinne.
Pekka announced his retirement today. There will undoubtedly be dozens of articles written about his career. All of which will be more insightful than this one. This isn’t meant to be anything more than our way of saying “thank you” to one of the best to ever play the game.
Pekka Rinne was an integral part of the Nashville Predators for fifteen seasons. He was their starting goalie for most of that time. He won numerous awards and holds multiple records, both for the team as well as for the league. But beyond all that, he carried himself with utmost professionalism and class. I have never heard a negative story about him and in today’s media climate, that seems like more than a minor miracle.
A few years ago, I was at the Nashville International Airport picking up my dad. I saw Pekka Rinne arrive, possibly on the same flight as my father. He met a friend and went to get his luggage. I wanted to approach him and shake his hand, but I decided to just leave him alone. When I first saw him, I thought to myself, “that really looks like Pekka” but I wasn’t 100% sure. Then he smiled and I knew. It’s the same smile he graced Nashville fans with thousands of times. It’s the same smile he blessed us with after his final game on home ice at Bridgestone Arena, the one where he was barely containing his tears as it seemed all but assured it was his last game ever. I’m going to miss that smile.1
Thank you, Pekka Rinne. Thank you for being someone my kids could look up to. Even more than that, thank you for being someone we all could look up to. You exemplify hard work, discipline, and excellence. Thank you for everything. May God bless you in the next stage of your life.