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Predator goalie Pekka Rinne’s jersey is headed to outer space

Pekka Rinne

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, of Finland, blocks a shot by the Buffalo Sabres in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)


While we know the stretch of the NHL to reach all parts of the globe is ever expanding, the limits of exactly where it can go are starting to reach even further than you could believe. Sure, the NHL has started their season in Europe and Japan in the past, but how about reaching out a little further? No, we’re not talking about going to South Africa or Australia (not yet anyway) but a small slice of the NHL is headed out to orbit.

The Nashville Examiner’s Jim Diamond tells us about how NASA is going to be bringing a small piece of NHL memorabilia with them to outer space aboard Space Shuttle Discovery thanks to U.S. Army Colonel Tim Kopra and his brother-in-law, Predators season ticket holder, Tim Morrell.

According to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, “Discovery will deliver and install the Permanent Multipurpose Module, the Express Logistics Carrier 4 and provide critical spare components to the International Space Station.”

In addition to all of those vital items being carried to the International Space Station, a Nashville Predators third jersey with Pekka Rinne’s name and familiar number 35 will be making the journey as well. Yes that is correct, a Pekka Rinne jersey.

Join in fans of the Muppet Show, “And now, Peks in space.”

Shuttle astronauts are permitted to bring some personal items along with them, so when Predators season ticket holder Tim Morrell found out that his brother-in-law, Colonel Tim Kopra (U.S. Army), had been one of the astronauts selected for the mission, the longtime dweller of Section 111 had the idea to see if Kopra was willing to take a Rinne jersey along for the ride.

Diamond goes on to detail the rest of the back story as to how this all came to be, but the nod towards their Predators fandom is really quite something else and something that Rinne is immensely flattered about as Kopra has ancestors from Finland and his journeys into outer space have gotten a fair amount of attention there.

For the Predators, getting better exposure in the United States and Canada has always been an issue, but they’ve now gone completely over the top and have started aiming for the universe. The Predators just want to aim higher and go after the burgeoning space visitor market.