NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Nashville Predators are officially retiring former goalie Pekka Rinne’s number 35 this season.
The team made the announcement Wednesday and the ceremony will happen before the Predators play the Dallas Stars February 24th, 2022 at Bridgestone Arena.
“After playing my first game with the Nashville Predators in 2005, I could have never dreamed that my jersey would be retired 16 years later,” Rinne said. “It’s the ultimate recognition for an individual player. I’m very grateful for the Predators organization and the city of Nashville. I cannot wait to celebrate that moment with my family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff and the fans at Bridgestone Arena.”
Rinne, who turned 39 on Wednesday, is the franchise’s leader in nearly every goaltending category, including games played, wins (369), goals-against average (2.43), total TOI (39,413:29), shutouts (60) and saves (17,627). He also is 19th in shutouts and tied for 19th in victories in NHL history.
“Pekka Rinne defines what it means to be part of the Nashville Predators,” said team President Sean Henry. “From how he trained and played; to how he put so much into so many community-changing programs, from Best Buddies, to the 365 Fund to Feeding the Frontlines; to always being there when SMASHVILLE needed a friend, Pekka was always there, doing more than anyone thought a person could.
“While he is the greatest player to wear our jersey, he was even better as a neighbor and friend to all. His career on and off the ice will take center stage when we raise his sweater to the Bridgestone Arena rafters, but we know that he will be celebrated time and time again, as his impact can’t be contained to just one event.”
“As the face of the Predators for more than 15 years, it is only right that the first number to be retired in franchise history is Pekka Rinne’s,” said General Manager David Poile. “He is one of, if not the, primary reasons our franchise has grown into what it is today. It’s going to be an incredibly special night not only for Pekka, his family and friends, but for our entire organization. Our congratulations go out to Pekka.”