Vernon Fiddler took to the pages of the Players’ Tribune to announce his retirement, ending a long and interesting career that has taken him to several destinations. Fiddler retires having played 877 regular season games, finishing in Nashville, where it all began.
Fiddler remains one of the best examples of what hard work and perseverance can get you in hockey. Not even drafted into the CHL, Fiddler lucked into a tryout in the WHL and slowly turned every opportunity into a launching pad for the next level. Undrafted again by the NHL he worked his way up from the ECHL to debut with Nashville in 2002, but wouldn’t stick right away. He’d have years of bouncing up and down from the minors, before catching on for good in 2006. He’d score 26 points that season and provide his patented solid faceoff skills and responsible defensive play. He’d receive Selke votes as one of the league’s top defensive forwards in two consecutive years at one point in his career.
Now 37, Fiddler lists the Predators’ recent Stanley Cup run as a “perfect way to finish [his] career,” but that phoning his parents after his first NHL call-up is still the highlight. He’ll now concentrate more on his own family life and kids’ passions. Even if you don’t see Blake on the CHL entry draft list in a few years, don’t count him out—the hockey world already made that mistake a few times with a Fiddler.