Dierks Bentley To Host 2023 NHL Awards At Bridgestone Arena

Country music superstar Dierks Bentley will host the 2023 National Hockey League (NHL) Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Monday, June 26 at 7 p.m. CT.

“Hockey plays a big part [in] my daily life,” says Bentley. “I’ve been to rinks all over the country with my travel-hockey son. I coach his spring league games and spend hours in the local hockey store, telling him, ‘No, you do not need a new stick!’ We love watching YouTube highlight reels, the whole family loves going to Nashville Predators games and watching the Stanley Cup Final together. And, I am a proud member of a beer league team here in Nashville. To get to add NHL Awards host to this list is truly an honor.”

The 2023 NHL Awards will open a week of NHL activities in Nashville. The NHL, in conjunction with the City of Nashville and the Nashville Predators, will stage the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft, June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena.

“We can’t wait to celebrate the NHL’s best and brightest with the best of country music in Nashville,” says Steve Mayer, NHL Chief Content Officer & Senior Executive Vice President. “Dierks has rocked our stage over the years as a headline performer, and we’re so happy to welcome him as host of this year’s NHL Awards.”

A list of NHL and Predators public activities and events, including red carpet arrivals for the NHL Awards show and the NHL Draft, will be held in the area outside Bridgestone Arena and announced in the coming weeks.

The 2023 NHL Awards broadcast will reveal the winners of 13 regular-season awards in a wide range of categories, including Most Valuable Player (Hart Trophy), Outstanding Goaltender (Vezina Trophy), Outstanding Defenseman (Norris Trophy) and Outstanding Rookie (Calder Trophy). The Ted Lindsay Award, which is given annually to the “most outstanding player” in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), will also be presented.

Predators Hire Andrew Brunette As Next Head Coach

Andrew Brunette. Photo: Courtesy of the Florida Panthers

The Nashville Predators have hired Andrew Brunette as the fourth Head Coach in franchise history. This news comes after incoming GM Barry Trotz announced the termination of John Hynes on Tuesday, May 30.

“When I look at our roster and those in our system, we have a lot of fast, skilled players and we will likely select more of those types of players in this year’s draft,” Trotz says. “We want to become more of an offensive team and Andrew specializes on that side of the ice – he lived it as a player, and he coaches it as a coach. He is as good of an offensive teacher and power-play coach as there is in the game today. He will be great with our young players, and I know, because of his background as a player, he will connect well with our top, skilled players. At the end of the day, he is a good person who looks forward to working in partnership with our players to make them, and our team, better. I can’t wait to get in the foxhole with him.”

A veteran of more than 25 years in the NHL as a player, coach or front office member, Brunette, 49, comes to Nashville after serving as an associate coach for the New Jersey Devils during the 2022-23 campaign. The Devils finished second in the Metropolitan Division and third in the Eastern Conference with a 52-22-8 record (112 points) and reached the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“I am super excited to be back in Nashville and a part of the Predators organization,” Brunette says. “I feel like this is coming full circle for my career – from pulling on the jersey for the first time 25 years ago to returning now to take care of some unfinished business. It has been awesome to see how this city and its fanbase have grown since I played here and I look forward to continuing the legacy and the culture behind the bench that Barry cultivated that inaugural season.”

In 2021-22, Brunette took over as interim head coach of the Florida Panthers – his first NHL head coaching job – less than a month into the campaign and guided the club to the best regular season in franchise history, going 58-18-6 (122 points) en route to the Presidents’ Trophy. In addition to owning the League’s best record, the Panthers led the NHL in goals (337) and posted a power-play percentage of 24.4 percent, tied for the NHL’s fourth-best mark. For his efforts, Brunette finished second in voting for the Jack Adams Award, given to the NHL’s top head coach.

He spent the previous two seasons as an assistant coach for the Panthers, reaching the postseason in both campaigns. Prior to his stint in Florida, Brunette was with the Minnesota Wild organization for seven seasons, occupying several roles and qualifying for the playoffs on six occasions. He served as Minnesota’s director of player personnel in 2018-19; was an assistant general manager in 2017-18; spent three seasons as a hockey operations advisor in 2012-14 and 2016-17; and stood behind the bench of an NHL team for the first time from 2014-16 as an assistant coach.

“I want to applaud and congratulate Barry for his methodical approach to evaluating our head coaching position and his ultimate decision to name Andrew as the next head coach of the Nashville Predators,” outgoing Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile says. “As we transition the general manager’s position from my hands to Barry’s, it was important for me and our organization to let Barry decide what is best for the franchise moving forward. I like and agree with the selection of Andrew Brunette, but perhaps most importantly, I think Barry’s process and diligence in making that hire was excellent – one more reason I know he is right to be our next general manager.”

As a player, Brunette appeared in 1,110 games during his 16-season NHL career for Washington, Nashville, Atlanta, Minnesota, Colorado and Chicago, posting 733 points (268 goals-465 assists). He played for Trotz, Nashville’s first-ever head coach, on the Predators’ inaugural team in 1998-99, recording 31 points (11 goals-20 assists) in 77 games, scoring the first goal in franchise history on Oct. 13, 1998 vs. Carolina. Originally selected by Washington in the seventh round (174th overall) of the 1993 NHL Draft.

“I am very pleased to announce that Andrew Brunette will be our head coach when we start the 2023-24 NHL season this October,” Trotz says. “As we look to bring back some of that iconic ‘Predators culture,’ I can think of no better coach than Andrew to lead our team moving forward. He thrived in that culture, and I believe he will coach our team in that same manner. And, while we did not hire Andrew because he was a key part of our first-ever team, I do like the fact that he has played games as a member of the Predators.”

In addition to playing for Trotz in Nashville, Brunette began his professional career with the incoming Predators GM as his head coach on the AHL’s Portland Pirates in 1993-94, where the two won the Calder Cup. The following season, Brunette made his NHL debut with Washington but also spent 69 games with Portland under Trotz, posting 94 points (28 goals-66 assists) on his way to being named to the AHL’s Second All-Star Team. Brunette served as an alternate captain in seven of his final 10 NHL seasons, holding the title with Minnesota and Colorado, and is one of just 25 players drafted in the seventh round or later in League history to skate in more than 1,000 career NHL games.

Predators Fire John Hynes & Dan Lambert

John Hynes. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

After months of speculation, Nashville Predators GM Barry Trotz has made the decision to fire John Hynes as Head Coach and Dan Lambert as Assistant Coach. The news was first reported by NHL insider Kevin Weekes.

The Preds confirmed the firing of Hynes and Lambert in a press release.

“John Hynes is a good man and a good hockey coach,” Trotz says. “He did an outstanding job after the trade deadline with our team, especially with our young players, and he is a well-prepared, hard-working coach who will continue to grow in the NHL. After our year-end meetings and some additional evaluation, it was time to change the voice and time to go in a different direction. On behalf of all of us at the Predators, we’d like to thank John for all his work here and wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

Hynes went 134-96-18 in 248 regular-season games as Head Coach of the Predators from 2020-2023, qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs three times during his tenure. He reached the 40-win and 90-point mark in both of his full, 82-game seasons with the Predators, finished ninth in Jack Adams Award voting in 2021-2022 and owns the second-highest point percentage (.577) by a head coach in franchise history.

“I’d like to thank John, Dan and their families for all they did for the Predators and our community,” says Predators President & CEO Sean Henry. “We appreciate all their work during their respective tenures with us, helping our team push through so many difficulties that hit us all in 2020 – from the tornadoes to the pandemic and the Christmas morning explosion, they always had our team ready to serve the community. John and Dan also guided us to three playoff appearances and additionally ensured our team represented Smashville well in the 2022 NHL Stadium Series and in Bern and Prague in the 2023 NHL Global Series. We will always be grateful for their contributions.”

The Predators have not named a successor but are set to hire former Predator Andrew Brunette according to all the reports on social media. Brunette scored the first goal in Preds history. In the 2021-2022 season, he led the Florida Panthers to first place in the Eastern Conference, and took an assistant position with the New Jersey Devils this past season.

Nashville Predators Foundation Distributes Record-Breaking Donation To 172 Local Nonprofits

The Nashville Predators Foundation has distributed its largest one-time donation, with Helper Grant distributions totaling $800,049.29 during a Grant Check Presentation Ceremony at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (May 17). Through the 2023 allocation, 172 Nashville and Middle Tennessee nonprofits received a grant.

“We are thrilled to distribute a franchise record-breaking $800,049.29 of grants to 172 deserving nonprofits who are positively impacting the Middle Tennessee community,” says Nashville Predators Vice President of Community Relations Rebecca King. “In total, the Predators Foundation has proudly provided over eight million dollars in grants to help fill areas of need throughout the community since our inception in 1998.”

This announcement marks the 25th grant distribution by the Predators Foundation. Additional information on the Predators Foundation grant allocation and application process is available here. Below, in alphabetical order, is a complete list of the 172 nonprofits that received a grants in 2023.

2023 Nashville Predators Foundation Helper Grant Recipients:

  • 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
  • 21st District Recovery Court, Inc.
  • 4:13 Strong
  • A Soldier’s Child Foundation
  • ABLE Youth
  • Ables Recreation Association
  • AbleVoices
  • Actors Bridge Ensemble Theater of Nashville, Inc.
  • Agape Animal Rescue and Training Center
  • Akiva School
  • All Hands On Deck
  • Aloe Family, The
  • American Cancer Society
  • American Special Hockey Association
  • Arc Williamson County
  • Area 16 Special Olympics
  • Armed Services YMCA
  • Assistance League of Nashville
  • Austin Peay State University Chemistry Department
  • Austin Peay State University Little Govs Child Learning Center
  • Autism Career Training
  • Backfield in Motion
  • Barefoot Republic
  • Beads of Courage, Inc.
  • Best Buddies in Tennessee
  • Bethlehem Centers of Nashville
  • Black Lemonade
  • Black Mental Health Village
  • Blind Early Services TN
  • Book’em
  • Borderless Arts Tennessee
  • Bradley Academy, Murfreesboro City Schools
  • Bridges Domestic Violence Center
  • Camp Kesem at Vanderbilt University
  • Candle Wishes Foundation
  • Cannon County SAVE
  • CASA of Cannon County Tennessee
  • City of Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department
  • Clarksville Area Urban Ministries SafeHouse
  • Community Child Care (Hendersonville)
  • Conexión Américas
  • Contributor Inc., The
  • Cooper Trooper Foundation
  • Cottage Cove Urban Ministries
  • Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Cumberland River Compact
  • Daughters of the King
  • Discovery Center at Murfree Spring
  • Domestic Violence Program, Inc.
  • Dream Streets
  • Easterseals Tennessee
  • Edgehill Neighborhood Partnership
  • Edison School, The
  • Elmington Elevates
  • Empower Me Center
  • Ezell-Harding Christian School
  • F.I.N.D. Design, The
  • Faith Family Medical Center
  • Family Center, The
  • First Steps, Inc.
  • Food for the Soul
  • Forrest Spence Fund Nashville, The
  • Foundation for Tennessee Chess
  • FrankTown Open Hearts
  • Freedom Reigns Ranch
  • Friends Life Community
  • Friends of MACC
  • Friends of Shelby Park and Bottom
  • Friends of Warner Parks Inc.
  • From Your Father
  • Girls Write Nashville
  • Glen Leven Presbyterian Church Day School
  • Glengarry Elementary
  • GraceWorks Ministries
  • Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey
  • Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury
  • Harvest Hands Community Development Corporation
  • Heimerdinger Foundation, The
  • Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association
  • High Hopes Development Center
  • His Children Foundation
  • Hispanic Family Foundation, The
  • Homework Hotline, Inc.
  • Hope Hohenwald Inc
  • Hope Station
  • HopeKids Middle Tennessee
  • Hospice of the Highland Rim Foundation, Inc.
  • Humanities Tennessee
  • Imagination Library of Coffee County
  • Inspiritus, Inc.
  • Interfaith Dental
  • JDRF Tennessee
  • Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee
  • Kymari House, Inc.
  • Learning Matters
  • Literacy Council, The
  • Love Helps, inc.
  • Manchester City Schools
  • Manna Cafe Ministries
  • Mother to Mother
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • MOVE Inclusive Dance
  • Music City Youth in the Arts
  • My Bag My Story
  • My Friend’s House Family & Children’s Services Inc
  • Nashville African American Wind Symphony, Inc.
  • Nashville Ballet
  • Nashville Book Connection
  • Nashville Children’s Alliance
  • Nashville Children’s Theatre
  • Nashville Dolphins
  • Nashville Education, Community, and Arts Television
  • Nashville Figure Skating Club
  • Nashville Humane Association
  • Nashville Peacemakers
  • Nashville Warriors Hockey Club
  • Nashville Youth Hockey League
  • Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble
  • National Museum of African American Music
  • National Wheelcats, Inc.
  • Now Opportunities Can Exist
  • Nurses for Newborns of Tennessee
  • Operation Homefront
  • Operation Rose
  • OZ Arts
  • Path United
  • Porch Writers’ Collective, The
  • Preston Taylor Ministries
  • Progressive Directions, Inc.
  • Project E3
  • Project Transformation
  • Purpose To Legacy
  • Quest Center For Arts and Community Development, Inc., The
  • Randolph Howell Elementary STEM School
  • Reeves-Rogers Elementary
  • Renewal House, Inc.
  • Rocketown of Middle Tennessee
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville
  • Royal Table Inc
  • Scott Hamilton Skating Club
  • Shine Photography
  • Somali Community of Middle Tennessee
  • SongwritingWith:Soldiers
  • Special Kids Inc.
  • Sumner Prevention Coalition
  • Talk with Me Tennessee
  • Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence
  • Tennessee Environmental Council
  • Tennessee Golf Foundation
  • Tennessee Hemophilia & Bleeding Disorder Foundation
  • Tennessee Lions Charities, Inc.
  • Tennessee Prison Outreach Ministry
  • Tennessee State Parks Conservancy
  • Tennessee Trucking Foundation
  • Tennessee Voices for Victims
  • The Theater Bug
  • Touchstone Youth Resource Services, Inc.
  • Transformation Life Center
  • Trevecca Nazarene University
  • Tucker’s House
  • Tullahoma South Jackson Civic Association
  • United Service Organizations, Incorporated
  • Vine Branch Fellowship
  • White Fawn Farm
  • Whitsitt Elementary Physical Education
  • Wilson County Black History Committee
  • YAIPak Outreach
  • You Have the Power…Know How To Use It, Inc.
  • Youth Changes
  • Youth Encouragement Services

Nashville Predator Mark Borowiecki Retires After 12-Year NHL Career

Mark Borowiecki. Photo: Courtesy of the Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki took to Instagram yesterday (May 3) to announce his retirement from professional hockey.

Borowiecki was a fifth-round pick by his hometown Ottawa Senators in the 2008 NHL Draft and played 375 games with the team over nine years. Nashville signed the veteran blueliner to a two-year, four million dollar contract in October 2020 and re-signed him to a one-year deal for the 2022-2023 season. Over the course of his career, he recorded 848 penalty minutes in 458 regular-season games, leading the league in that category twice. He finishes his NHL career with 56 points (15 goals-41 assists).

“After a lot of time, thought, love and support, I have decided that my career as a professional hockey player has come to an end. I am so appreciative of everyone who has helped me along the way. Especially the Senators, where I began my career, and the Preds, where my career ended,” said Borowiecki in a statement he posted on social media.

Borowiecki’s physical play and reputation for dropping the gloves earned him the nickname “Borocop.” He also gained notoriety for attempting a citizens’ arrest in late 2019 while on the road in Vancouver, stopping a car break-in, making the moniker all the more appropriate.

Borowiecki is known just as much for his off-ice work as he is for his on-ice contributions. He is an outspoken advocate for mental health among hockey players, notably among concussion victims. He is also a champion of “Hockey is for Everyone,” the NHL’s initiative to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities within the sport of hockey.

Nashville Predators Extend Affiliation Agreement With AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals

Photo: Courtesy of the Milwaukee Admirals

Nashville Predators have extended their affiliation agreement with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals through the 2024-2025 season.

“We are happy to continue our longstanding and successful partnership with the Milwaukee Admirals for another two seasons,” says President of Hockey Operations & General Manager David Poile. “We say all the time that the road to Nashville goes through Milwaukee, and that couldn’t have been more true this season. The winning culture and tradition that has been cultivated in Milwaukee for so many years – led by Harris Turer and his ownership group; President Jon Greenberg and his front office staff; and GM Scott Nichol and Head Coach Karl Taylor – has resulted in a professional, high-level environment for our players in the system that we are able to reap the benefits from. With our two organizations working together, we are positive that this partnership will continue to be valuable for both of our teams and passionate fans.”

The Predators and Admirals have functioned as affiliates since Nashville’s inaugural season in 1998-1999, with more than 200 players appearing in at least one game for both teams. Additionally, eight of Milwaukee’s head or assistant coaches have graduated to the NHL level, including current Predators Assistant Coach Todd Richards, who served in the same role with the Admirals from 2002-2006.

Many of Nashville’s current core players previously spent time in Milwaukee, led by All-Star goaltender Juuse Saros and six of the Predators’ top-10 point scorers in 2022-2023. Saros, a Vezina Trophy finalist in 2021-2022, earned a spot on the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2015-2016 and a nod to the AHL All-Star Classic in 2016-2017. Captain Roman Josi suited up in 74 games for the Admirals from 2010-2012. Filip Forsberg, Nashville’s all-time leading goal scorer, played his first full season in North America with Milwaukee in 2013-2014. Additionally, young talents such as Tommy Novak, Cody Glass and Juuso Parssinen have all gone through Milwaukee on their paths to the NHL.

The Admirals reached the Calder Cup Playoffs for the 17th time in their AHL history this season after finishing second in the Central Division with a 41-24-5-2 record (89 points). In addition to the 15 players on NHL contracts who helped Taylor’s squad reach the playoffs, several others signed, drafted or acquired by Nashville saw game action, including forwards Anthony Angello, Jimmy Huntington, Joakim Kemell, Simon Knak, Jachym Kondelik, Navrin Mutter, Markus Nurmi, Isaac Ratcliffe and Austin Rueschhoff; defensemen Marc Del Gaizo and Adam Wilsby; and goaltender Devin Cooley.

A model of consistency in the AHL, Milwaukee has qualified for the postseason in five of the last six seasons they have played and was on track to make it in 2019-2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the campaign, winning the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as regular-season champions. Prior to 2014-2015, the Admirals made the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, winning the Calder Cup in 2004 and reaching the final in 2006.

Sabertooth Sports & Entertainment Partners With Iroquois Steeplechase

Photo: Courtesy of Iroquois Steeplechase

Sabertooth Sports & Entertainment (SS&E), a division of Predators Holdings, has partnered with Iroquois Steeplechase to offer Nashville Predators Partners, Premium Seat Holders, Season Ticket Citizens and all sports fans the exclusive opportunity to purchase individual, tailgating and VIP tickets for the 81st anniversary of the event – which will take place on Saturday, May 13, at Percy Warner Park in Franklin, Tennessee. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University.

“We are thrilled to partner with one of Nashville’s most historic and treasured events, the Iroquois Steeplechase, to bring together more than 25,000 people for a day of excitement and entertainment,” says Nashville Predators President & CEO Sean Henry. “For us, the event is much more than a race—it’s an opportunity to give back to the community. The Volunteer State Horsemen’s Foundation has been able to use Steeplechase as a vehicle to raise more than four million dollars for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University over the years, and we are grateful for the opportunity to get involved and help drive even more fans to Steeplechase and support the Children’s Hospital.”

Iroquois Steeplechase was first contested in 1941 in a valley at Percy Warner Park on a course that was constructed by the Works Progress Administration. Volunteers consisted of local fox hunters, among others. Those volunteers later created the Volunteer State Horsemen’s Association (now Foundation), which today remains the governing body of the race meet, under the leadership of Steeplechase Chairman Dwight Hall.

Events will be held throughout the day for children and families, and awards will be presented for the most stylish dress for males and females, along with others. Cash bars and food trucks will be available on the property for guests to purchase food, liquor, beer and wine. Attendees may also bring their own food and drinks if desired while utilizing special tailgating spaces created for Iroquois Steeplechase.

Nashville Predators To Host Open House For Fans At Bridgestone Arena

Photo: Courtesy of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

The Nashville Predators organization will host an Open House at Bridgestone Arena on April 22 from 2-5 p.m. CT to give fans a chance to secure seats for the 2023-2024 full and half season ticket plans and review benefits.

Season Ticket Citizens who put down their first payment prior to the event will have an exclusive window to secure seating locations beginning at 1 p.m. CT.

The Smashville behind-the-scenes tour will include an inside look at the Preds locker room and Lexus Lounge as well as Team Store discounts and the opportunity to shoot on net to win two lower-level full season tickets for the upcoming season. The Open House will also feature interactive games, giveaways, appearances from Gnash and the Energy Team as well as free soda and popcorn. All food and beverages at concessions will be 50 percent off during the event.

Fans do not need a ticket to attend. For more information on the Open House and details on 2023-2024 ticket packages, click here.