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05-25-2007, 06:41 PM
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handtrick's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Me and my 3 boys helped fill up Bettman's voice mail box.

I also sent this email:

Dear Mr. Bettman,

I know Craig Leipold gave a yeoman's effort to bring NHL hockey to Nashville, and he gave it his very best, including much time and emotional effort in helping you negotiate the CBA which helped even the playing field and let the Nashville Predators finally ice a competitive team that could actually realize Stanley Cup dreams, and not just be a farm team for richer teams in the NHL.
As you know, it takes years to make inroads into a "non-traditional hockey market" and I applaud your efforts to help bring the great sport of hockey to the Southern US.

As a family, the best thing that ever happened to us was the Nashville Predators. We live in Chattanooga which is 150 miles from Nashville. We don't have any ice within 2 hours of here, but all three of my boys ages 8-13 play on an inline hockey team here in Chattanooga. We all make the 300 mile round trip to all 44 Predator home games per year....and it is certainly the best family time that we share together.

-My 8 yr old, Brendan, actually had the 2nd hardest in the country [42 miles per hour] in the House 9-10 age group in the "Got Skills Competition" on ice that came to Nashville this year.
-My 10 year old, Connor, is a goalie, who attends Mitch Korn's goalie camp....he won the "most improved goalie" out of all 50 kids last year, and won the "Got Skills" competetion in Nashville last year for 9-10 year olds last year as well. He makes a poster for the Preds backup goalie, Chris Mason, for every game, and holds it up at the preskate. Chris taps the glass where his sign is before every game. Chris also threw Connor a puck over the glass during the 2003-4 season which Connor cherished. During the lockout, he vowed to sleep with that puck every night until the lockout was over. He did....and Chris Mason heard about it, and said a special "Hi" to Connor while he was playing over in Norway during the lockout through an internet video interview....they have been "The Buds" ever since.
-My 13 yr old, Colin, won an art contest last week at the prestigous, McCallie School, where he is a 6th grader this year. His project was a ceramic hand cradling a hockey puck......As I am a hand surgeon, here in Chattanooga, it was a very special thing to me that he came up with this totally on his own and made it so "life-like" that it won the award. But it was the meaning behind it, and what hockey means to our family, that was the true thing that made it so special to me.
-I grew up in Indiana, and had never been to a hockey game before 2001, nor had my wife who grew up in upstate New York. She is almost as big a fan as I am, although I probably dream about hockey more than she does.
I have met my best friend in the world at a Nashville Predators game. Together, we have gone on two trips with the team [in their charter and staying in their hotel] and experienced a once in a lifetime trip to Alaska fishing together.....all of which never would have happened without the Preds in Nashville.

This is just a glimpse of a family in Tennessee that truly "eats, sleeps, and breathes hockey." This happened soley due to the Predators being in Nashville. We tried going to some Thrasher games, but it just wasn't the same.
I have no doubt, that if the Predators leave Nashville, my boys will find other unique interests and passions, but I doubt that it will produce the family cohesiveness that the Nashville Predators have created in us.

You may think that Craig Leipold gave it a the best try possible, and NHL hockey just won't work in Nashville due to the lack of corporate and cultural support. But as you know, it takes a generation to truly make a hockey market. Don't give up on us yet.

You have the power to do it.
If the deal is approved, make Jim Basille keep the Preds in Nashville....otherwise don't approve it.
Let the market have its chance to mature.



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