I start out with this disclaimer: aside from a mentor in the broadcast booth and a friend in the front office, I have no stake in the horse race.
That being said, let’s face it: the Nashville Predators have fans. And they don’t just have fans. They have rowdy fans.
They have creative fans.
They have fans designed to bring us joy.
They have fans to inspire us.
They are here to get people, who usually don’t talk about the game, to talk about it.
So, what joy we’re experiencing in this Stanley Cup Final, because of Nashville.
Nope. But they’ve been around for nearly 20 years, have one of the game’s most electrifying and recognizable stars (who understands the word, “spotlight”), and play in the entertainment capital of “country.” There’s a reason people in the business refer to it as, “Nash Vegas.”
Bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, sporting events are “entertainment.” They get it.
Please, let’s spare the dreaded “B” word for them (it ends with something that rhymes with “lagon”). A decade ago, they saved the franchise from relocation.
Their chants are part creativity, part savage, part volume. They are a gas. It sounds like a college basketball game, where student sections are in your ear from start to finish and so ruthlessly do their homework on the opposing players for taunt material. Quite frankly, it’s neat.
“But are they hitching up the ol’ bandwagon? But do other teams have outdoor gatherings like nearby Bridgestone Arena? But, but don’t they have any ‘respect’?”
Answers: no, yes, and definitely yes. Their moment has been nearly brewing for 20 years (think of where teams like the Kings, Blues, and Penguins were around 1986-87). What Nashville is doing along it’s row of establishments is like a block party that doesn’t know what time it ends. And as far as “respect”? The only thing that has breached the ice surface was a former aquatic life form thrown from human hands. I think we’ve seen this movie before.
They have the country music and entertainment world in their face, and talking about them. They have a Hall of Famer and TV analyst from another sport crashing their party and talking about them (and the sport in general).
And in general, people outside of the diehard hockey bubble are finding hockey “interesting.”
It’s time to embrace their dialect on the game, if they haven’t been embraced already.
Award winning broadcaster Mike Benton recently completed his second season as radio play-by-play voice of the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League, and 12th in the game. Tweet at him here.