By D. Smith:
Remember a couple months ago, way back in the pre-Forsberg dark ages, when media outlets all over North America were calling for the Predators to leave Music City? Supposedly our chronic attendance problems were dooming our franchise, and simply put, our fan support was "lukewarm". We didn't deserve this team. We didn't appreciate the great product that David Poile, Craig Leopold and company were putting on the ice for our viewing pleasure.
Fast forward two months. Stanley Cup Playoffs, Round 1. Nashville sells out its opening home game in under an hour, and sells out Game 2 shortly after. Nashville puts Game 5 tickets on sale at 10:00 on Saturday morning. Tickets are sold out by 10:20 am. Seems like a pretty hockey-healthy market to me, doesn't it?
The media (and unfortunately, I also mean the local media sometimes) doesn't seem to accept the fact that they were wrong about us. Nashville has been given a false stereotype as a city struggling to bring in ticket sales and fans. The media also wouldn't DARE acknowledge the fact the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit failed to sell out Game 1 vs. Calgary. They wouldn't DARE ackowledge New Jersey failing to sell tickets for 25% of their arena for Game 1 vs. Tampa Bay.
I don't care that Detroit has "been there before" and doesn't get excited about the first game. I don't care that New Jersey is opening a new arena and their current structure is a dump, in a place called "The Swamp". If you're passionate about hockey, you'll come out and watch your favorite team play in the playoffs. Case closed.
Before everyone starts calling for the Preds to pack their bags and move to Kansas City/Portland/Vegas/Wherever, North America, maybe they should look a little deeper at our fan base. CNNsi.com named the Nashville Arena the top home-ice advantage in the playoffs, and one trip into our building in the playoffs will make you think twice about the validity of a team in Music City. Long live the Nashville Predators.
"The people at first were saying, 'Why is there a team in Nashville?' But when you come here and you see the fans and the excitement, my question would be, "Why would there not be a team in Nashville?"
- Yanic Perreault, January 18, 2006