Rinne’s long history of supporting Children’s Hospital celebratedFeb. 28, 2022, 1:17 PM
by Christina Echegaray
For 15 seasons with the Nashville Predators, goaltender Pekka Rinne’s impact was felt far and wide across Nashville. On the ice, he played 39,414 minutes over 683 games and had 60 shutouts. He also won the hearts of Nashville hockey fans.
Outside the rink, Rinne made an immeasurable difference in the lives of some of hockey’s youngest fans, particularly for those at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
During his time with the team, Rinne, along with the Nashville Predators organization, supported Children’s Hospital patients through philanthropy and made many hospital visits, in person and virtually. Rinne and former Predators’ captain Shea Weber also helped create the 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund presented by Twice Daily to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer.
As the Nashville Predators hockey team and the city celebrated Rinne’s career and retirement last week, Children’s Hospital joined in to pay tribute to the legendary goalie for his many contributions to help children.
“For over 10 years, our friend and champion Pekka Rinne has given his, time, energy and enthusiasm to positively impact the lives of so many children. He has generously supported our pediatric cancer programs and research, and he brought smiles to the faces of so many children with countless visits to our hospital,” said Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, President of Children’s Hospital.
“Pekka’s legacy is forever woven into the fabric of Children’s Hospital’s history. He is a part our family. And
there is not a single word big enough to celebrate him and show him gratitude for all he has done for children and our hospital. On behalf of our patients, families and entire hospital community, thank you, Pekka, for making a difference and for inspiring us, on and off the ice,” she added.
Last week, Seacrest Studio at Children’s Hospital broadcast a virtual celebration with a special appearance from Rinne. Children and families watched from their hospital rooms and called into the broadcast to ask the goalie questions like, “What’s your favorite food?” and “Does it hurt to get hit with a puck in the chest?”
Also, to mark the occasion, Rush presented Rinne with his own custom-made Children’s Hospital version of his No. 35 Predators jersey. Just as his number will hang in the rafters of Bridgestone Arena, a replica of the Children’s Hospital jersey given to him will permanently hang inside Seacrest Studio. Pekka also received a special commemorative photo book that includes thank you letters and well wishes from his many special friends at Children’s Hospital.
“Thank you so much. It’s a huge, huge honor,” Pekka said. “Coming back here and celebrating my connection to this city and to this hospital, it means so much to me.”
On Feb. 24, the official retirement Predators ceremony date, Children’s Hospital also declared the day “Pekka Pride Day,” and employees dressed in their favorite Preds gear.