By Jim Diamond
Peter Laviolette was introduced to the Nashville media Wednesday afternoon, a day after he was named the second head coach in the history of the Nashville Predators.
Laviolette spoke to the media via conference call from his hotel room in Minsk, Belarus where he is serving as the top bench boss for Team USA at the upcoming IIHF World Championships. After a long day of travel from Germany, where his team played a tune up game against the German National Team Tuesday night, Laviolette said that he was anxious to put down roots in his new city.
His family is a direct representation of the nomadic lifestyle that coaches in professional sports and their families have to endure.
“My oldest son is a West Virginian, and my second son, he’s a Rhode Islander,” Laviolette said. “My daughter, who is 12-years-old, she’s a Long Islander, so she’s a New Yorker. My dog is a North Carolinian. And our turtle is a Philadelphian.”
A turtle you say?
“The turtle’s name is Frank,” Laviolette said. “Frank was given to us by my my sister’s son, my nephew.
“When we got the turtle, he was about the size of a quarter, then when I actually looked him up online, I found out that he could grow to the size of a dinner plate. In the coaching profession, it’s good to be mobile, you can go from place to place, and I am thinking to myself, ‘What are we doing with this turtle? Why is this turtle ours?’ My daughter insisted that I love this turtle and it is part of the family, so the turtle’s name is Frank.”
And that may rank right up there among the best-ever answers to a turtle-related question of a National Hockey League coach.
While turtles are technically illegal to own as pets in Tennessee, one has to hope that Frank will be grandfathered in since he is an existing pet. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stopped issuing permits for pet stores to sell them in 2012.
Surely they don’t want to disappoint a young lady who has grown so attached to Frank. And surely they don’t want to raise the ire of a guy who is willing to go after an opposing coach like this.
Imagine what would happen if he had to defend his daughter’s beloved pet.