Pekka Rinne gets his jersey retired by the Predators tonight

Pekka Rinne
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 Nashville Predators will raise former goalie Pekka Rinne’s No. 35 to the rafters. When it happens, he will be the first player in franchise history to receive that honor. Rinne played his entire 15-year career with the club before calling it a career at the end of last season.

“Pekka Rinne defines what it means to be part of the Nashville Predators,” President and CEO Sea Henry said in a statement issued in November. “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.”

Pekka Rinne jersey retirement

Rinne, 39, 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.

The two-time All-Star won the Vezina Trophy (best goalie) in 2017-18 and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy (for leadership) in 2020-21.

“While he is the greatest player to wear our jersey, he was even better as a neighbor and friend to all,” Henry continued. “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.”

Rinne on his retirement

pekka rinne
Nov 29, 2019; Raleigh, NC, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) congratulates goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Nashville won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent interview with The Tennessean, Rinne spoke about retirement and the upcoming festivities.

“There’s days I wish I was still playing, like, ‘Get me out of here,'” Rinne said. “[Retirement] has been awesome, though. It’s obviously been a big change. It’s like a U-turn, just a totally different path.”

Rinne also talked about how wanting to spend more time with his family led to the decision.

“Even though I was mentally prepared for it, my son helped a lot. Anybody who has a kid knows it takes a lot of time and dedication, so it’s been very meaningful. I really enjoy being a dad and having a different life now.”

“I feel like the hockey career is still so fresh,” he said about tonight’s upcoming ceremony. “It feels like it happened a few weeks ago. It’s been great, though, finally reflecting back on my career. That’s the first time I’ve had a chance to do that.”

Players ready to honor Rinne and take down the Stars

“He’s always about the team,” Nashville captain Roman Josi told the Predators’ website. “He’s not looking for the spotlight, but he deserves it so much. He should really enjoy it.

“He’s such a humble guy, but this is his night for everything he’s done for us, for the city, for the team — it’s OK for him, for one night, to enjoy that. And he definitely deserves it.”

Nashville hopes to add to the memorable night with another two points. The Predators are coming off a 6-4 road win against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, a result that ended a four-game slide. They trailed the Panthers three times before rallying for the victory.

The Stars hope make the most of a game against their Central Division rival to inch closer to a playoff spot. Dallas twice rallied from one-goal deficits to claim a 3-2 overtime win against the visiting Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

The Stars are 6-4-0 in their past 10 games since a four-game winning streak to close out January.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report.