Burton Gilliam of Blazing Saddles Fame; Brian Grant, formerly of the Portland Trail Blazers; The View; and the voice of the Predators, Pete Weber
Some of the items available for the silent auction portion of the event
Most of the players were back in town and in attendance to support Coach Peterson. Here are Pekka Rinne and Cal O'Reilly
David Legwand and Joel Ward
Shea Weber and Patric Hornqvist
Marty Erat and Steve Sullivan eye some of the prizes
Preds P.A. announcer Paul McCann with many of his fans
Jerred Smithson and Cody Franson. Franson looks to have added about 20 pounds to his frame and said he was relieved to have the contract done. Oh, and the reason he chose number 4 for his jersey number is that it is the number he had worn since juniors.
Predators coaches Peter Horachek and Barry Trotz look over some of the auction items
Kim Trotz, Tammy Peterson, and Sheila Crisp
Sheila Crisp watches her husband Terry sign an autograph
Predators equipment manager Peter Rogers, Head Coach Barry Trotz, and Chad Corzine
Coach Brent Peterson on stage with comedian Henry Cho. Fortunately for the audience, Brent did not try to sing
The View, Mrs. View, and Coach Brent Peterson
Part of the capacity crowd of 500 at the event
The Peterson's Foundation for Parkinson's event held at the Factory in Franklin was a fun event that allowed fans to interact with the Predators players, coaches, and staff. There were numerous high quality auction items up for bid, along with a great meal and excellent entertainment by comedian Henry Cho.
It is always good to see the players and coaches away from the rink and see their "human" or non-athlete side. They are always personable and engaging.
There was a very "human" side to the night, though, that wasn't about sports or off season activities. It was about the fight that two former athletes are currently fighting.
It is a fight for their lives.
Brent Peterson and Brian Grant have Parkinson's. A disease that eventually causes the body to waste away and leads to death.
A disease for which there is no known cure.
Those in attendance saw a very human side of two men that had reached the pinnacle of athletic success in their chosen sport. They competed against tough opponents in their playing days. Opponents that would not back down nor quit.
Brent and Brian are competing against just such an opponent right now. So far, this opponent has won every battle against those that it has engaged.
Brian Grant called Brent Peterson a warrior. Not only as a player and a coach, but as a fighter against this disease. Brian Grant said he was going to be a warrior as well, inspired by a man like Brent Peterson.
The odds don't look good. There is no cure for the disease and it can be a cruel in its latter stages. I know this personally as I watched my mother succumb to Parkinson's.
Warriors don't back down in the face of long or impossible odds. They take the fight to the the foe that is before them.
Brent Peterson and Brian Grant are warriors. They know the struggle before them.
In the midst of an evening of laughter, fun, and interaction with elite athletes, two men stood above the rest. Two men fighting for their lives against an opponent that has never been beaten.
Two men, who in the face of a difficult struggle, let their humanity shine through and served to inspire us all.
Photos courtesy of Denise McCann