Predators fans — now’s the time

19Feb07

Dear Nashville Predators fans,

I know you must be disturbed, annoyed, and/or frustrated by the way the media has zeroed in on how your team is awesome but not doing well in attendance. There’s a lot of overture from the media about how Craig Leipold might have to ask the city for subsidies because support hasn’t reached a certain level. There’s other rumblings about what the Preds need to get revenue sharing support. And of course, there’s whispers about eventually moving the franchise.

Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, a lot of it falls on the shoulders of local corporate support. But now’s the time for you to try and do something about this.

Look, the long-term survival of the Predators franchise really depends on corporate support. That’s the reality of the NHL. But you can get corporate awareness by starting at the grass-roots level. There’s a surge in local media awareness (positive coverage, that is) with the acquisition of Peter Forsberg. That’s good. Forsberg’s first home game was sold out. That’s a step in the right direction. If more and more people start going to Predators games, talking Predators hockey on sports radio, then the media has to start covering them more — basic supply and demand. If it gets more media attention, then corporations will see Preds games as a good investment to reward employees, take out vendors, etc. It’s not an overnight fix, but you have to start somewhere.

As I write this (Sunday night), I just did a Ticketmaster search to see what seats are available for the next two home games. Against the Coyotes on Monday, you could still get four seats together at the second-to-cheapest level ($23 each). Against the Canadiens, you could still get four seats together at the very cheapest level ($15 each).

What’s this mean? Well, from now till the end of the season, you have an opportunity to try and grow the Predators fan base on a grass roots level at a pretty cheap price.

Preds fans, if you want to do everything you can to keep your team, you gotta turn your non-hockey friends and family on to the team. They don’t have to become hockey fans, but they damn well should become Predators fans. The team is doing everything they can with one of the fastest, most exciting teams on the ice with a legit claim at being the NHL’s best. So, if you’re planning on going to an upcoming game, don’t just go with your usual hockey buddy. Turn a pair into three or four and bring a non-hockey person to the game. Take the time to explain the basic rules, like icing and offsides, before the game. Tell them how to watch the flow of the players rather than just following the puck. Tell them to watch Paul Kariya‘s wicked shot, Peter Forsberg’s ability to stay on the puck and pass out of nowhere, and Steve Sullivan‘s killer speed.

Don’t just take them to the game — educate them so they can appreciate what’s going on. We all know that watching live hockey is much better than televised hockey; if you get a good crowd igniting during an exciting game, the energy’s contagious. And best of all, cheap tickets are available. Even your stingiest non-hockey fans can’t really complain with $15 – $20 for a night out.

To put it bluntly, franchise movement sucks. It really does. Anyone who’s grown to know and love a team, to watch them develop from a fledgling expansion franchise into one of the league’s most feared, those individual fans never deserve to have their pride and joy ripped away from them, regardless of whatever market you’re in.

Maybe Peter Forsberg can bring a Cup to Nashville. Maybe the Preds will sell out consistently like the Lightning now do. But the fact of the matter is that a very real cloud of uncertainty hangs over the Predators right now.

If you love your team, the best thing to do is to share that love in person with someone who doesn’t know or understand the game. A great time out and a little knowledge about the rules and players can go a long way. Sure, this sort of thing is usually done by an organization on the grass roots level, but in some situations, dedicated fans have to chip in too — especially if the team is on the brink of something special.

After all, every die-hard hockey fan has to start somewhere, right?

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5 Responses to “Predators fans — now’s the time”

  1. 1 Fauxrumors

    1) Not sure how/why all this anti-Preditor nonsense got started. Some inane Toronto writer (Strachan we believe) recently went off on how Nashville was doing so poorly, etc.
    2) Most of what he wrote was actually 100% wrong, but that has never deterred Strachan in the past, so why stop now? His main beef isn’t Nashville per se, but he’s pissed that his Leafs can NOT spend their way out of their current problems
    3) Additionally, his trade rumors for the Leafs (though he never has had much credibility anyway) are now even more implausible in the salary cap era
    4) He can’t stand seeing a ‘small market’ thrive on the ice so why not create a problem with his baseless story.

  2. 2 Earl Sleek

    Make sure you tell them about Vishnevski on the blueline, also! A guaranteed open-ice hit, and a guaranteed trip to the penalty box also!

  3. 3 PB

    Great letter Mike!

    Hopefully, Predators fans will take notice.

    Unfortunately, the Coyotes have to face them and now they have Forsberg to deal with…

    I picked the wrong time to stop drinking…

  4. 4 Anonymous

    Great letter – i´m a Preds fan although i´m portuguese (so pardon my english). Naturally i can´t watch a game live, even on TV but you are right, the feeling of being in an arena is unbelievable, and it spreads like the flu. The most amusing (sort of) thing was to find out that are tickets so low in price. I really need to go to the states and i hope the preds stay where they are

  5. 5 Randy Robison

    T2: Judgment Day opens March 31 in Nashville

    The imaginary “charge” by a player NEVER justifies an unwarranted (aka “sucker”) punch by another player. If this is the only way Tootoo can defend himself when another player skates towards him, he should quit hockey and take up country music or ballet.

    Other teams do not respect Tootoo. Respect is earned by players like Modano and Chelios, who play hard, hit hard and pay their dues without resorting to thug-like attacks. Whether it’s Bootland, Robidas or any other player who has been on the receiving end of Tootoo’s hit-and-run antics, such actions only become a liability to the whole team, because it comes back around to everyone, not just the perpetrator.

    Now, every Predator is hunted. Every player can expect that skating within arm’s length of another player justifies a proactive “defensive” move that could land them in the hospital.


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