Former Kelowna Rockets forward and longtime NHL veteran Vernon Fiddler is hanging up the blades.
Fiddler, who played four seasons in the WHL, this week announced his retirement after 14 seasons in the NHL.
During his pro career, Fiddler played in 877 games with the Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars, and New Jersey Devils. The Edmonton native collected 104 goals and 157 assists for 261 points along with 558 career penalty minutes.
Before Fiddler made his ascent to the NHL, he played 267 games in the Western Hockey League.
Two hundred of those were spent in Kelowna playing for the Rockets. From the 1997-1998 season until the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, Fiddler was a key cog on the Rockets roster.
“My whole family pushed me to follow my goal of becoming a professional hockey player,” Fiddler wrote on the Players’ Tribune. “Their persistence helped get me to a tryout with the Kelowna Rockets in 1997. I hadn’t been drafted, and I hadn’t been heavily recruited—I was just invited to be an extra body at training camp. But I wound up making the team.
Fiddler collected 85 goals and 185 points during his WHL career, including 52 goals and 114 points with Kelowna.
“Bruce, Gavin and Annie Hamilton ran that team, and Peter Anholt was the coach,” he continued. “My career wouldn’t be the same without those four people. They took a chance on me.”
Fiddler won the Calder Cup in the AHL in 2004 with the Milwaukee Admirals.
In his final NHL season he helped the Nashville Predators all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in their franchise history.