Fiddler Lives Out His NHL Dream

Vern Fiddler Says Roanoke Coach Perry Florio Persuaded Him To Continue His Pro Hockey Career.


A little more than a year ago, Vern Fiddler wasn’t sure he wanted to continue playing hockey. He wasn’t drafted. He attended the NHL Minnesota Wild’s training camp, but got cut.

“I was honestly thinking of going to school,” Fiddler said. “I knew it was always my dream to play in the NHL, but I almost got fed up with all the shenanigans.”

Roanoke Express coach Perry Florio had been impressed with Fiddler in the Wild’s camp. He traded all-star defenseman Calvin Elfring for Fiddler’s rights and convinced Fiddler to give professional hockey another shot.

“Perry and me had a good talk on the phone,” Fiddler said. “He talked me into coming to Roanoke. He sort of rekindled my spirits and got me excited about hockey again.”

On Monday, Fiddler was sitting in a Los Angeles hotel room after playing his first two National Hockey League games for the Nashville Predators.

“Just living my dream,” he said.

Fiddler played half a season for the Express last year, earning all-ECHL rookie honors and a call up to AHL Norfolk. He started this season with AHL Milwaukee, then was called into the office after practice on Thursday and given the news that he’d been called up to Nashville.

“The coach waived me into the office and I thought we were just having a little talk,” Fiddler said. “He said I was going up, and I asked if he was joking. He said no, they want you for energy. … It was pretty emotional. All I was thinking about was calling my mom and dad. This is just as big a deal for them as for me. It was awesome to tell them.”