Pekka Rinne retires; says goodbye to Predators and fans in Nashville

pekka rinne retires
May 10, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) waives to the crowd after a shutout win in what could be his final start as a member of the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Every professional athlete comes to the end of the line. Sometimes, they are forced out before their time due to injury. Sometimes, they make the choice on their own. After 15 years, Pekka Rinne is putting away his pads and saying goodbye to the Nashville Predators, on his terms.

Pekka Rinne says goodbye

“But today … today is the end. I’m retiring from the game of hockey,” Rinne penned in a farewell letter published in the Players Tribune. “This decision wasn’t easy… My body still feels like it could compete at the highest level, but my decision was about a lot more than that.”

Rinne based his decision on family and spending more time with his fiancé and infant son. “My priorities had changed, and my mind knew that, even if my body didn’t. And when I really thought about what it would mean to not come back to the rink at the end of the summer, it just felt like the right choice, and the right time.”

Pekka Rinne retires
May 27, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) looks to the crowd as he leaves the ice after an overtime loss against the Carolina Hurricanes in game six of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators will hold a press conference along with Rinne to answer media questions. However, Rinne wanted to let Nashville know what a special place it is to a kid from Finland.

“For more than 15 years, I’ve been on an incredible, life-changing journey with the Nashville Predators that has taken me to more places than I could have ever imagined and given me more than I could ever hope to give back,” Rinne said. “This decision wasn’t easy, but I know this is the right one at the right time. As I announce my retirement, I’m thankful for my parents, sisters, fiancé Erika, everyone in the Predators organization – management, coaches and trainers – my teammates and my youth coaches back in Finland. Last but not least, I’m thankful for the people of Nashville. Each of you helped me grow into the man, father and person I am today.”

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A brilliant career

The 38 year-old is leaving his mark on the game. He was considered one of the NHL’s elite backstops for most of his career that spanned 683 regular-season games and 89 playoff contests. He is the Predators leader for games played, wins (369). GAA (2.43), saves (17627), shutouts (60) and more.

During the regular-season he compiled a record of 369-213-75. In postseason action he was 45-44 which included a memorable run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. The Predators fell to the Penguins in six games, but “Smashville” forever became a hockey town.

“It is impossible to properly express just how much Pekka means to the Predators organization and our entire community,” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. “His incredible career and milestones achieved are eclipsed only by his generous spirit and contagious passion for others. Pekka defines our franchise and truly embodies the spirit of SMASHVILLE; both are better because of him.”

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Good Luck Pekka!