I just went to the Predators’ team store at Bridgestone Arena during my lunch break to purchase Western Conference Champion T-Shirts. Sold out. The store was packed. I have been before during my lunch break and have been the only one in the store. A television camera crew was outside interviewing random fans leaving the store.
The Music City is fully infected with Predators’ fever.
The Predators defeated the Anaheim Ducks last night 6-3 to win the Western Conference title and advance to the Stanley Cup final against either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators. A sold-out, standing room crowd watched inside the arena and another 6,000 fans watched in a park near the arena.
It is exciting to be in a city that is excited about their sports team. It doesn’t hurt to be a winning team and playing for a championship either.
The Nashville Predators sold out every home game for the first time this season which is a rarity and in addition to that, for a team that is mostly in a Southern market. It’s hard to imagine now that just 10 years ago the Predators were close to being sold and moved to Hamilton, Ontario. Fortunately, the team found local ownership and stayed in the city. Hockey wasn’t really the first choice in the beginning. A group was actually was trying to lure the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA) to move to Nashville.
So for the first time in their history, the Nashville Predators will be playing in the Stanley Cup final. The only other time that a Nashville pro sports team played in a final was in 1999 when the Tennessee Titans played their first season in Nashville and lost in the Super Bowl to the St. Louis Rams 23-16.
It would be nice to watch the Stanley Cup final in person but the running price right now for a seat in the “nosebleed” section is currently $727. Prime seats in the center ice, second row are going for $15,000. Unbelievable. More than likely I will be one of those in the park watching on the big screens with other fans not able afford or willing to pay those prices for tickets.
Hockey in Nashville? Yep. You wouldn’t think it would be a “thang” here. Most people in the South only think of football, baseball and NASCAR. What’s a hockey? Why are they skatin’ on ice?
Yeah, it’s an amazing thing to witness here. Somehow it works. The capital of country music is now the capital of hockey.
Stanley Cup Final Schedule:
Game 1 – Monday, May 29th: Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa
Game 2 – Wednesday, May 31st: Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa
Game 3 – Saturday, June 3rd: Pittsburgh or Ottawa at Nashville
Game 4 – Monday, June 5th: Pittsburgh or Ottawa at Nashville
Game 5 – Thursday, June 8th: Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa (if necessary)
Game 6 – Sunday, June 11th: Pittsburgh or Ottawa at Nashville (if necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, June 14th: Nashville at Pittsburgh or Ottawa (if necessary)