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Your hopes for the Nashville market?

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Old
02-22-2011, 02:44 PM
  #1
Machinehead
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Your hopes for the Nashville market?

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?

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02-22-2011, 02:55 PM
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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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02-22-2011, 02:55 PM
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Welcome to the boards, Machinehead. I was fearing (Hoping you know us moderators can be twisted) that you were another troll in disguise.

Nashville and the GNA(SH) is interesting. The HS level hockey has out-grown the facilities. The fanbase is growing and the corporate support is higher. (I suspect it might be because of the looming NFL strike killing that avenue of advertising.)

MY HOPE is that the GNASH league grows to the other major cities: Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, ETC. Turning the league into a 3 tier geographic league, Western star, middle star, Eastern star.

With that comes a need to build rinks. Chattanooga HAD one at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel. (Don't ask me why it's gone). Memphis has facilities. Knoxville does too and what has to drive this is the private schools of TN. (I will see progress when a facility is built in Chattanooga and teams like Baylor and McCallie join up).

Middle TN looks good hockey wise and the move to push the broadcasting down towards Huntsville, AL is smart with the UAH hockey team already there.

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02-22-2011, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BigFatCat999 View Post
Welcome to the boards, Machinehead. I was fearing (Hoping you know us moderators can be twisted) that you were another troll in disguise.

Nashville and the GNA(SH) is interesting. The HS level hockey has out-grown the facilities. The fanbase is growing and the corporate support is higher. (I suspect it might be because of the looming NFL strike killing that avenue of advertising.)

MY HOPE is that the GNASH league grows to the other major cities: Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, ETC. Turning the league into a 3 tier geographic league, Western star, middle star, Eastern star.

With that comes a need to build rinks. Chattanooga HAD one at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo hotel. (Don't ask me why it's gone). Memphis has facilities. Knoxville does too and what has to drive this is the private schools of TN. (I will see progress when a facility is built in Chattanooga and teams like Baylor and McCallie join up).

Middle TN looks good hockey wise and the move to push the broadcasting down towards Huntsville, AL is smart with the UAH hockey team already there.
Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis all send teams to the Predators Cup, which is essentially the State Championship for Tennessee. Unfortunately, the Nashville teams are significantly better than those from Memphis and Knoxville, so it always ends in Middle Tennessee teams kicking the tar out of all challengers. This is something that needs improvement, but one day it will be a real tournament.

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02-22-2011, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BigFatCat999 View Post
GNA(SH)
Boy I must be thick headed I never realized GNASH could be Greater Nashville Area School Hockey or something like that. I always thought it was for the mascot.

btw Welcome Machinehead. Do you like the band too or is it just a name?

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02-22-2011, 03:10 PM
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Tennesseans are rabid sports fans. Football, whether the NFL or college, is king, and always will be. The Titans sellout every game. A crowd under 90k at the Univ. of TN is small and not typical.

But the Preds fanbase is growing. Attendance is up this year. And with higher attendance comes increased revenue to spend on better players. This is the first year in a while that our ownership has indicated that revenue isn't an issue if we can find the right players at the deadline.

Having said that, I think we are at a crucial stage for the franchise. A deep playoff run this year or next will solidify a loyal fanbase and add folks not familiar with the sport. If we don't make any noise in the postseason, our attendance could falter.

Unfortunately, the hockey gods have not smiled on us this year as injuries to key players have kept us from a really strong season. We're hanging on presently, but the Western Conference is brutal. Injuries may prevent this team from advancing beyond the first round again. The inroads made on increased attendance may be mitigated by another first round exit.

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02-22-2011, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ffwrx View Post
Boy I must be thick headed I never realized GNASH could be Greater Nashville Area School Hockey or something like that. I always thought it was for the mascot.

btw Welcome Machinehead. Do you like the band too or is it just a name?
http://www.acronymfinder.com/Greater...8GNASH%29.html

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02-22-2011, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BigFatCat999 View Post
You would think working for the Government I would have found that site by now. Everything we do has an acronym.

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02-22-2011, 03:41 PM
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Middle TN looks good hockey wise and the move to push the broadcasting down towards Huntsville, AL is smart with the UAH hockey team already there.
There is a surprising amount of hockey in the Huntsville/Decatur area of north Alabama. Huntsville has the UAH Chargers and the Huntsville Havoc. There are youth leagues, travel teams, and adult recreational leagues (Decatur doesn't have a league this year, sticking with pickup games, but the Huntsville adult league has three divisions and a total of around twenty teams in it). There are quite a lot of relocated northerners in the area because of the amount of defense industry jobs generated by Redstone Arsenal and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. I play pickup hockey with guys like me who grew up here, along with players from Maine, Detroit, and various parts of Canada. Jared Ross grew up playing here (his Dad was the coach at UAH for quite a while) and is now a prospect with the Philadelphia Flyers' AHL affiliate (he scored a goal for them in the playoffs a couple of years ago, which was kind of neat to see in a kid I've played against in a pickup game before).

There's plenty of room for hockey in the southern sports landscape. High energy, physical action, lots of speed and skill ... this sport has everything it needs to be a fan favorite in the south for years to come.

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02-22-2011, 03:45 PM
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And the south's genetic base is insane. There is a reason why football sucks up all the genetic freaks in the south. When I worked in the south as an ATC and I was constantly looking up to 12-14 year olds.

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