Stand With Us – Why You Should Root for the Nashville Predators
Letter to the Editor | Friday, April 27, 2018
The race for “the hardest trophy to win in sports” is well underway as the NHL moves into the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With only eight teams left, many hockey fans will be looking for a second team to cheer on. And if you aren’t familiar with professional hockey, it’s the perfect time to jump in.
The best stories in sports are always underdog stories; it’s why we love to hate teams like the New England Patriots or Alabama football. Dynasties are impressive, but it’s more fun for the sport and the community at large for new teams to win. That’s why the Pittsburgh Penguins should not be your team. Kudos on back-to-back Cups, but it’s time for a new city to host Lord Stanley. The Nashville Predators have never won the Cup, and came closest last summer with an improbable run to the Final, coming up 61 minutes and 35 seconds short of the ultimate prize.
Sport franchises should also have to suffer; that’s a long-standing rule of being a fan and a teambase. Fans grow stronger and more devoted through playoff droughts, losing seasons, bad trades and draft busts. Born in 1998, the Predators endured five-straight losing seasons as a newborn and fledgling franchise, and did not advance to the second round of the playoffs until 2006. It wasn’t until 2016 that they moved past this second round playoff hurdle and appeared in, and won, the first Western Conference Championship in franchise history before losing in their first ever Cup Final. The Vegas Golden Knights, in their first year, have advanced to the second round after sweeping the LA Kings. This is not fun hockey — where’s the team suffering?
This season, wearing more gold than ever before, the Nashville Predators played harder and better than ever before, looking to finish what they started last summer. Not only did the team win their first ever Central Division title, but went on to have the best record in the NHL and its first-ever Presidents Trophy.
Nashville has shown the world that the South was made for hockey. “Smashville” has the loudest, most intimidating home-ice advantage in the world. Country legends sing the National Anthem. Chants of “You Suck!” at visiting goaltenders rock Bridgestone Arena. Catfish fly onto the ice. Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” rings as the Predators score. Not only are the Nashville Predators the best team in hockey this year, they’re the most fun.
So join in the party and come on down to hockey tonk with the rest of us citizens of Smashville. Hold up your fang fingers, grab a cowboy hat and stand with us as the Predators fight to bring the first ever Stanley Cup to Smashville.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.