Over the last year or so, general manager David Poile has had his eye on former Predators player Scott Nichol to a part of the organization. Last week, Nichol simultaneously retired from the NHL and was hired as the Predators’ new director of player development, a position that has been left vacant since last off-season.
“I wanted to be a part of hockey,” Nichol, 38, said Monday. “Hockey has treated me so well that I wanted to give back, and what more of a great opportunity to do that than to help some young guys come up.
“David reached out to me a week after the season and planted the seed and we really talked about it for a while – me, my wife and my three kids. It’s a great opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Nichol played four seasons with Nashville from 2005-2009 and amassed 662 NHL games over an 18-year pro hockey career. He will be filling the position that was left by Martin Gelinas, who was hired as an assistant coach by Calgary last summer. Gelinas was the first individual to assume this role and held it for three seasons.
Nichol’s role with the Predators will be quite simple: mentor the organization’s youth. The wily veteran had many experiences throughout his hockey-playing days, as he struggled to stick in the NHL. But once he became a regular, he was known for being a hard-worked in Calgary, Nashville, San Jose and St. Louis. As his career wound down, Nichol became more accustomed to mentoring younger teammates.
“Even in San Jose with the young guys and then St. Louis, having them over for dinner and showing them what it takes day in or day out to come to rink early, make sure you never take a practice off – basically the good habits of being a pro,” he said.
“I love the day-to-day operation, I love being on the ice. I think it’s the best job in the world. When you’re on the ice you have that bond and I think they can really respect myself and my career and hopefully they’ll listen to me.”
Nichol will attend the NHL Draft later this month and be on the ice in Nashville in July for development camp. He and his family will live in Rochester, N.Y., which has been their off-season home.
“I was very successful in one career. If I put all my efforts into this one I think I’ll be really successful, too,” he said.