The Nashville Predators will play their first Stanley Cup home game in franchise history on Saturday guided by the only GM they’ve ever known.
That almost wasn’t the case.
David Poile became the Predators’ first manager in 1997, choosing to sign on with them instead of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Poile interviewed with then-Leafs president and GM Ken Dryden, dined with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum and was mulling between the two situations, according to a story from Postmedia’s Steve Simmons.
He was even leaning towards Toronto.
“In my mind, I thought I was there,” Poile told Simmons.
Tanenbaum had some business to attend to before he wanted to speak to Poile again. Then, the Predators came in with an offer.
After consulting with his father, Hall of Fame executive Bud Poile, the younger Poile opted for Nashville.
“I wasn’t thinking this at the time, but maybe I wanted to be like my dad,” David Poile said. “He started two teams, in Philadelphia and Vancouver. Maybe I was thinking that. It just seemed to be the right thing. I’ve never regretted it, not once, as difficult as it has been.”
Pat Quinn was eventually hired to coach the Leafs and added GM responsibilities in 1999. John Ferguson Jr., Cliff Fletcher (in an interim capacity), Brian Burke, Dave Nonis and now Lou Lamoriello have followed in the general manager’s chair.
Through all the turnover in Toronto, Poile, 67, has remained in Nashville.
“I don’t know if I was made for the big market,” he said. “This is home.”