It happens every time a team does well. People who “had always liked them, just haven’t been following them, you know…” will dig their fan gear out of the rag bag, sales will soar at the pro shop and the lower bowl will blossom with a new crop of celebrities and politicians resplendent in their jerseys, all very interested in…being seen.
To all of those people who have decided to join the Tiger Tribe I offer a sincere welcome and hope you’ll stick around. This column is for you. I know you have a lot of questions, many of which I have already anticipated and will answer for you now:
What is this thing called hockey?
The more you know and all that… Here are a few internet resources that will get you up to speed about the game:
Predators University This is the official info page on the Nashville Predators’ website. This is an excellent place to start.
Hockey 101: An Introduction To The Basics This is a very basic, bare bones introduction to the game.
NHL Dot Com This is the internet home of the National Hockey League
The Internet Hockey Database This is one of the best compilations of stats, history and game minutiae on the net. Mostly recommended for4 fans, but if you wade in, you’ll be hooked. Give it a try!
Predators in the Media
Fox Sports Tennessee This is where you will find broadcasts of a large number of the regular season games and the playoffs. Their announcers, Pete Weber (no relation to Shea), Terry Crisp, and Mark Howard are some of the best in the business.
104.5 The Zone FM You can listen online as well as on the radio. Coverage includes frequent morning updates from Pete Weber, Blackstone Hockey Nights on Wednesdays and live coverage with Preds Radio Wonk and Twitter Guy, Tom Callahan.
Hockey in Nashville? Really?
Darn skippy! Professional hockey has been a part of the sports landscape in Nashville since the 1960s’. The EHL first came to town in 1962 when the Nashville Dixie Flyers dropped the puck and they stuck around until 1971. They went to their league championship playoffs for eight of their nine seasons, made it to the finals four times and won the championship twice in 1966 and 1967.
Sadly, Nashville was to go nearly ten years before they got another chance at having a professional team. In 1981, the CHL planted the Nashville South Stars here for a season. The most notable player in that squad was D-man Bob Suter, who was part of the 1980 US Men’s Hockey Team and would eventually give us current Preds D-Man Ryan Suter.
Professional hockey would return to Nashville in 1989 when the ECHL would bring the Nashville Knights to town. Lead by Predators Assistant Coach Peter Horachek, they played here until 1994. Aside from giving Music City some really great seasons, and setting an ECHL record or two, they were one of the minor league teams that featured Manon Rheaume. Rheaume would go on to be the first woman to play in an exhibition game for the NHL.
The late 1990s saw the arrival of the Nashville Nighthawks, who were eventually renamed the Nashville Ice Flyers before they relocated to Pensacola, Florida in 1998, making way for the NHL franchise we Nashville hockey fans know and love.
Intrigued? Wanna know more? Stay tuned. I’ll tell you where the fans hang out, how to network while screaming at Pekka Rinne to get back to the net, and fill you in on the the team so you won’t embarrass yourself by blowing your Tootoo Train whistle when Patric Hornqvist hits the ice.