Nashville is a hidden mecca of professional sports in the United States. The NHL’s Predators are one of the country’s most popular hockey teams, partially because the ownership comes from a locally-based group.
The National Hockey League awarded a conditional franchise to the city in 1997 after the completion of the $160 million Nashville Arena the year before. Jack Diller was quickly named the first president of the team, while David Poile became its first general manager. The team would play its inaugural season in the 1998-99 window.
Free agent Tom Fitzgerald joined the team on July 6, 1998, and the team would name him the first captain of the Predators.
Fan Traditions with the Nashville Predators
Fans of the Detroit Red Wings have an octopus-throwing tradition to show support. You’ll find the occasional catfish getting thrown onto the ice in Nashville.
Section 303 is called “The Cellblock.” The group that sits there calls themselves the loudest section in the NHL.
Fans also provide a standing ovation throughout the final TV timeout of each game.
What Happened After the 2004-05 Season Lockout?
The NHL lost an entire season because of a labor dispute between players and owners in the league.
When the Predators returned to the ice, the team set an NHL record by winning their first four games of the year by a single goal each. They would also become just the fourth franchise in the history of the league to begin a season with eight straight victories.
It would result in the team’s first 100-point season, but the San Jose Sharks would eliminate them from the first round of the playoffs.
After the initial ownership group sold the Predators, the Predators would make history again. During the 2016-17 season, the team would sell out all of its 41 home games for the first time in club history. They would finish eighth that year, qualifying them for the playoffs.
The team would sweep the #1 seeded Chicago Blackhawks in four games, making it the first time in NHL history that the #8 seed managed that outcome. The Predators would make it to the Stanley Cup Finals that year after defeating the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues in other playoff matchups.
The team would lose 4 games to 2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
A new era of Predators hockey got started on January 7, 2020, when John Hynes would become only the third head coach in the history of the franchise.
This isn’t the only piece of history you will find in Nashville. The area is full of great places to see and visit, including the Grand Ole Opry.