There may be a growing number of Nashville Predators fans in southeastern Saskatchewan during this upcoming NHL season.
All signs point to Oxbow's Tanner Jeannot being in the opening night lineup for the Nashville Predators when they host the Seattle Kraken on Thursday to kick off their 2021-2022 NHL campaign.
"I'm really pumped," said Jeannot, 24. "It's going to be something pretty special. It's something you dream about as a kid growing up. I got my first taste last year but this is going to be my first home opener."
Jeannot played in 15 regular season games for the Preds last season, and also suited up for five playoff games. He says it'll be a family affair come Thursday night.
"I got my mom and dad down here and they can come watch me for the first time in the NHL in-person too, so it's going to be an awesome day."
As a teenager, Jeannot played in both Estevan and Yorkton, and had a short stint with the SJHL's Kindersley Klippers before spending four seasons in the Western Hockey League with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Now that he's living out his NHL dream, he's following in the footsteps of several other Saskatchewan-born players, including Ryan Getzlaf, Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, and Jordan Eberle.
"It's always good to have those role models growing up, knowing that you're from Saskatchewan which doesn't have the biggest population or the most notice from scouts or anything like that, but those guys made it so so can you," he said. "I hope I can be an example for younger players as well, knowing that it doesn't matter where you come from, if you have the skill and have the work ethic to get there then you can."
Jeannot says he thinks the Predators have a balanced team that will be competitive every night. His focus is on helping them win and also getting better himself each day.
"The bottom line is that's what you have to do... is get the wins. If the team's winning then everyone on the team looks good. So that's my goal right now, I just want to do everything I can to help the team win, and make myself a better person and player every day."
And although Oxbow is well over 2,000 kilometres away from the Country Music Capital of the World, Jeannot knows he's in the right place.
"I love country music...so it's a good spot for me."