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Josi Talks Life Without Hockey, Praises Citizens of Nashville

Roman Josi

Roman Josi is just like the rest of us.

He’s watched “Tiger King” on Netflix. He’s played some “Call of Duty” and “NHL20” on his Xbox. He’s been getting in some home workouts and playing with his dogs during the day.

And just like the rest of us, Josi misses hockey.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Predators captain joined an NHL video conference from his home in Nashville, along with fellow Central Division captains Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks and Alex Pietrangelo of the Blues. The half-hour group interview was one of many in a series of video chats hosted by the League with a star player from each of the 31 teams, the first chance for the media to hear from NHLers as they deal with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

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The three captains were fed questions from a moderator, and while some elicited rather entertaining responses, others gave the players a chance to speak to their fans and their cities amidst these trying times.

For Nashville and Middle Tennessee, March has been a difficult month. It began with a tornado that struck just north of downtown Nashville and continued east through a number of surrounding communities. Less than two weeks after that, the NHL season was put on pause as the coronavirus truly arrived in North America.

But through it all, Josi has been thoroughly impressed at how his adopted hometown has faced the presented challenges.

“Start with the tornadoes, and now with the coronavirus, it’s been a tough month for our city,” Josi said. “But I think if you take one thing out of it, when the tornado happened, [you saw] how this community came together and how everyone was helping each other. It was pretty cool to see, and it shows how tight of a community this city is. [It’s the] same with the virus right now. I mean, everybody’s trying to stick together. We’re all in this together, so it’s pretty awesome to see how this city has come together in the last [month].”

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Josi and the Predators have spearheaded efforts to make a difference in their community, starting with the Nashville Strong tornado relief efforts earlier in the month of March. The Nashville Predators Foundation empowered by SmileDirectClub sold T-shirts and sweatshirts to raise funds to support those efforts, while Josi and a number of his teammates took time during a day off to help collect and sort supplies at the Nashville Community Resource Center.

The Preds have continued to give back to the community, as the coronavirus has altered everyday life by assisting part-time Bridgestone Arena event staff, supporting local restaurants and offering thanks to doctors, nurses and others on the frontlines facing the pandemic.

There will certainly be more to come on that front in the days and weeks to come, but Josi again took the opportunity during Tuesday’s conference to say thank you.

“We’ve all got to come together, and like I said before, the past month has been very challenging for us, especially the city of Nashville,” Josi said. “When the tornadoes happened, you saw the city come together and help each other out and be a strong community, and I think it’s the same thing now. It’s a little different, obviously – you’ve got to stay home and do your part to stay healthy and make sure everybody says healthy – and I think it’s also important to thank all the people that are still working that are keeping us safe, that are keeping us healthy. You guys are heroes, and we’re so grateful for all those people.”

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Josi, Toews and Pietrangelo also shared some lighthearted moments on the call, like when each player was asked which teammate he would most want to be quarantined with, and then on the contrary, who he would prefer not to be stuck with at home.

“I’m going to go with [Preds center Nick] Bonino to quarantine with,” Josi said. “He’s a good chef, first of all. He likes to cook, so he will cook some good meals. He’s a pretty smart guy, reads a lot of books, so [he would] make me read a little more too. And, he’s good at ping pong too, so you could have some good ping-pong battles.

Roman Josi says he would most want to be quarantined with @NickBonino because he’s a good chef, pretty smart, good ping pong player. Josi says he wouldn’t want to be with @RyanJohansen19. Says the house would get pretty messy – he can make good Brussels sprouts though. #Preds

“And then least, I’d probably go with [Preds center Ryan] Johansen. I feel like we would be a bad team at home. Our house would get pretty messy. I don’t know if he’s a good cook either. He makes some great Brussels sprouts, I know that. But other than that, I don’t think we’d be a great team at home.”

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Josi likely won’t have to wait long to hear from Bonino and Johansen, as well as the rest of his teammates, as the captain revealed everyone has been keeping in touch through social media over the past few weeks.

“[In addition to group texts], we have a Snapchat group too, so there’s a lot of videos, a lot of pictures and a ton of pictures and videos of kids, kids doing fun stuff,” Josi said. “It’s always fun to watch.”

The blueliner also revealed he enjoys listening to music artists like EDM stars Tiesto and Steve Aoki when working out at home, and the soundtrack turns to country when cooking or just lounging around the house. And when it comes to reading?

“You know what, I bought like three books, but I haven’t started,” Josi laughed. “I’ve got to get on that. This is a good reminder.”

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Tuesday’s call brought about a sense of normalcy – if only for a few moments – affording the chance to hear hockey players discussing their teams and their lives away from the rink, the familiar voices and faces of the game bantering back and forth.

It was a welcome reprieve, and soon enough, it will be the norm once more. But for now, as Josi and the others said, it’s important to support those who are saving lives, and to also do our part to save even more of them.

“We miss hockey, and we miss playing it in front of the fans at Bridgestone [Arena], but it’s more important to be safe and to be healthy right now,” Josi said. “And hopefully, we’ll be back soon.”

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