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Rotary paid visit by a head Pred
Gerry Helper speaks in front of the Rotary Club of McMinnville during its weekly meeting last Thursday at First Presbyterian Church.

Last Thursday, the Rotary Club of McMinnville had the honor of hosting a well-known name among Nashville Predators fans in senior vice president of hockey communications and public relations, Gerry Helper.
Helper has over 37 years of experience in the NHL that started with the Buffalo Sabres in 1979.
Helper talked about several topics pertaining to the Predators, such as their deep playoff run in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoff and the June 29 acquisition of defenseman P.K. Subban from the Montreal Canadiens as they had to trade lifelong captain of the team, Shea Weber, just to name a few.
“We as a franchise have been through a lot over the past 19 years, but it has been an incredible journey and I think back to what it was to what it is now and there is nothing greater than the playoff run we experienced a few months ago.”
Helper talked about what the playoff run meant to the city of Nashville and the Predators.
“We had made the playoffs several times but have never made it out of the second round. We had never played in a game seven in the playoffs and in a matter of two weeks we had played in two.”
One game in particular Helper mentioned was the three-overtime thriller, which saw the Predators defeat the San Jose Sharks, 4-3, in a game that lasted until the early morning in Nashville.
Helper said, “The emotional swings of that game and the reaction to the crowd after the game, will make it one of the most memorable experience for our fans for years to come and it was one of those signature moments for the franchise to always remember.”
Helper continued to talk about the future of the Predators and what they want to bring to Nashville.
“We think we are on the right track as an organization, but we’re not satisfied. The goal is to bring a Stanley Cup to Nashville and to have the No. 1 sports and entertainment building in the country in Bridgestone Arena.”
Helper talked about the newly acquired Subban and the departure of Weber.
“Shea was an anchor on our team. He was the team captain for six or seven years and had the hardest shot in the NHL, but with the way the game has changed in the last several years, it’s far more about speed and transition and P.K. Subban fits that description.”
“Shea Weber is everything you want in a pro athlete, from the perspective of nobody prepares harder or is consumed more on being the best hockey player in the world. It was difficult to hear the news that we traded him.”
Talking about Subban, Helper added, “Subban is only 27 years old, who fits right in with the style of play the Predators have and other defenseman, such as Roman Josi and it gives us arguably the best defensive core in the league and the game is about getting the puck to the other end quickly to give us more offensive chances and P.K. does that.”
According to Helper, Subban is not only a great player on the ice, but he is just as electrifying off it.
Helper also talked about another benchmark for the franchise when it hosted the NHL All-Star game in January.
“It wasn’t just great for our franchise, but it was great for our community. We know what it brought from an economical standpoint, but it sent a message to the rest of the hockey world and it couldn’t have turned out better.”
Helper added, “The league awarded the game to Los Angeles next season and the Kings front office said that the All-Star game in Nashville set the new standard on what all-star games and activities should be like. We got a lot of credit, but it’s really all about the fans coming out and supporting us.”
The Predators kick off their season Oct. 14 at home against one of their biggest rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.
An interview with Helper can be heard on WCPI 91.3 FM during the Focus program which will be aired Thursday at 1 p.m. and again Friday at 1:05 a.m.