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02-22-2011, 01:55 PM
  #2
Top 6 Spaling
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machinehead View Post
I'm from up North, and I root for a Northern team, and up here we laugh at the ridiculous thought of hockey below the mason-dixon line. Well, at least I used to. That changed recently when one of my favorite players, Shea Weber, got me into the Predators. Adopting a second team has been great for me, as having a second chance at victory every night has kept the suicide negotiators away from my house for over 3 months, which is an all-time high for me. But it's not entirely what I expected. What I was expecting, was to be the only person outside of Shea's mom who actually cared about the Preds. What I got was very different. I actually found that the city of Nashville has a ton more passion for this team than I thought. I must admit, I'm impressed by the fanbase. So my question is, what do you expect/hope for out of the Preds market as it continues to grow. Could they potentially become one of the bigger names in hockey, with nightly sellouts and what have you?
We will never be a "hockey market" a la Minnesota or Toronto. But if you take a look at our attendance over the last two years, you can see that we're trending up. I think in 5 years or so, we will sell-out over 75% of games, and that number will only grow.

On a related note, I play high school hockey in the area, and that is growing massively. We had 16 teams in the Nashville area this year, which is a huge improvement over what we have had in the past (nothing like what you up there). Hockey here is getting better, however, and it is spreading at the youth level. There are currently only 2 rinks in all of Nashville, but 2 more are scheduled to be built in the next two years, as well as a high school building an on-campus rink for the first time (MBA for you locals). Hockey is growing from the roots up right now.

Blake Geoffrion will more than likely be the first Nashville-raised player to reach the NHL. When he cracks the Preds roster, which I expect to be in 2-3 years, he will be a PR machine, and I think this youth hockey movement will skyrocket even further. Growing NHL players here is the next step.

There may not be a ton of us Predators fans, but the one's we have are fiercely loyal and not proud to show their colors. Our rink is one of the loudest in the NHL without the massive numbers of fans some people have. This is college football country, and those fans are loud. When that attitude comes to a hockey rink, the atmosphere is intoxicating. Anyone that goes to a game gets hooked.

Give us a few years, and we will be selling out the vast majority of games. I'm sure we will still be mentioned with Phoenix, Atlanta, and Florida, but I think we will be one of the first Southern markets to be a true success.

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