I once believed that Nashville had no place in the NHL...
and this Oiler fan is singing a different tune...and it happens to be an adaption of Tim McGraw's "I Like It, I Love It." I wonder why that is?
It's a shame that your Preds have yet to make it into the 2nd round, they're an inspiring bunch to watch with making the playoffs year after year despite financial shortcomings and the ever present danger of losing star players. Give credit to Trotz and Poile, they're arguably the best tandem in the NHL when it comes to procuring talent and getting bang for the buck. I wish my Oil would figure out how to do the same...
I remember reading blogger James Mirtle's 6-part take on the NHL in Nashville some months ago. Unlike him, however, I felt at the time that the game couldn't survive in Tennessee. I'm an unapologetic traditionalist when it comes to hockey, and I just didn't see the Preds fitting in. So, much like Mirtle, I gave this team a chance this season and took it upon myself to follow their progress on the ice and in the seats (attendance, that is) since my boys were dead in the water this season by January.
I noticed that the fans are showing up on average around 15,000, which isn't too bad but is still in the bottom in terms of league average (I know, I know...you folks are more than aware of that issue). I began to think that maybe some good play down the stretch and maybe a bit of a playoff run would help the club out. I know that Bridgestone Arena usually sells out for playoff games, so it would make sense that finally reaching the 2nd round would provide the organization with some much-needed cash to help with the books. After watching last night's game, I couldn't have been more excited as a fan to see such entertaining hockey in the 1st period and to hear the crowd get into it the way they did. Great atmosphere. It's a shame that the Preds couldn't extend the series last night and maybe pull out a game 7 upset.
Most importantly, what it reminded me of was the early days of the San Jose Sharks. A team in a market that tradition shakes its head at, but with a growing group of fans and in an area where the professional sports market isn't completely dried up. The franchise has a chance to find a niche, to be one of those places like San Jose where the game just grows on people and takes hold. I also like the combination of hockey and country music, something about it just makes sense to me. All in all, I've warmed up to the idea of a NHL franchise in Nashville. Right now, it's just trying to survive and that's the harsh reality of many teams in the league at this point. But if they can make it through the next decade, which I think is a good possibility, then the future could be bright for hockey in Tennessee.
Here's hoping that we continue to see Predators hockey in Nashville for a long time to come, and that the awesome McGraw remake continues to be your goal song of choice (man, that's catchy).
Hockey here is a strange breed for sure. Little corporate support plus a rabid fan-only atmosphere makes for low attendance numbers yet a loud and proud arena. It's a confusing situation yet we somehow make it work at the end of the day. I'm always proud to see a traditionalist look at us and say you know what maybe they aren't so bad to have around after all.
I too didn't think Nashville would make it for long in the NHL, but after watching the fans support them so loud and proud in round one it feels as though there is a bright hockey future in Nashville. They have had some real good teams the last little while with one of the best dman cores for years to come. Hopefully you can keep your core together and make it deeper and deeper into the spring. Seeing Nashville in a confrence final would do wonders to the fan base and the orginazation. How is hockey at the grass root level going for Nashville? up here in Toronto one out of every 5 kids play hockey, hopefully we see some future NHL stars come out of Nashville for years to come.
Last edited by BudMaster17: 04-27-2010 at 10:57 PM.
How is hockey at the grass root leavel going for Nashville? up here in Toronto one out of every 5 kids play hockey, hopefully we see some future NHL stars come out of Nashville for years to come.
It's growing. Of course it's no comparison when judged against traditional hockey markets but we're working on it. We need some more rinks but we make it work, which is hard to do in a fairly warm climate. Hobey Baker Award winner Blake Geoffrion (yes, grandson of Boom-Boom) grew up in Nashville and played youth hockey here for awhile, then later was drafted by the Preds in the 2nd round in 06, won the Hobey this year at Wisconsin, and has 2 goals in his first 3 AHL games with the Milwaukee Admirals in their playoff series. He's kind of our local pride and joy at this point.
I've been involved in youth and amateur hockey in Nashville for about 6 years now and it has grown each and every year. There are around 20 high schools in the area with full time teams. We have AA and AAA youth teams that are competitive with teams across the country. We haven't hit 1 out 5 yet, but it's getting there. The Preds have sponsored the GOAL program which gives kids that have never played a chance to learn with out the big investment from the parents. Couple of weeks of instruction with free equipment use. It fills up everytime it's offered. All positive signs. The adult leagues are even filling up with waiting lists during the winter season. I took a break from coaching this year, but nine-inch can add to this. You can probably guess from my avatar where I grew up.
Also, I see that Vandy and UT have ACHA D-III clubs...that's a good start and moving up to ACHA D-II or D-I shouldn't be unrealistic goals considering they're major schools.
MTSU also had a team for six years as well, but that is currently on hiatus...good news is that they are building a new facility in Murfreesboro which should actually alleviate some of the biggest obstacles and help generate interest in bringing back the program in years to come.
UT has been rumored to be moving to DII as of next season, however the main issue behind moving up in divisions thus far has been the lack of competition in the area. The majority of the schools are in DIII with the closest DII competitors being Kentucky, Wright State, Kennesaw, Life, and Florida Gulf Coast. UT moving up is in conjunction with several either programs making the jump as well to shorten travel between schools.
But this session was a failure and we need to sell the team and move to Canada. trade our top prospects for a 4th rounder.. Bc our coaching sucks and this team is going no where!!
And to OP thanks you prove why im so happy with this year..
we gained allot of notice around the league and in our own fan base.
And thats what this team needs b4 we take the next step.
this team will always need to make the money b4 we spend it now.. this year was a great step in that direction