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Nashville ready for all-day marathon

Predators hosting 24 Hours of Hockey at Bridgestone Arena

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators host the St. Louis Blues on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-TN, NHL.TV) kicking off 24 consecutive hours of hockey at Bridgestone Arena.

The Central Division battle between the Predators and Blues is one of 15 events that will take place from Saturday to Sunday, including college hockey, women's hockey, adult league hockey, sled hockey and more.

The Predators came up with this idea to get Nashvillians on the ice who want to play hockey or skate on the same ice as their hometown NHL players and the NHL All-Stars who took the ice for the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game.

Hockey has been growing rapidly in the Nashville community since the Predators came to town in 1998. The Predators want to make sure that trend continues, and this event is another way to promote the game.

The 24 Hours of Hockey at Bridgestone Arena provides an opportunity for fans to see different levels of the sport being played, and gives people who want to play a chance to do so at the Rise and Grind Adult Open Hockey period from 6:30-7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Former players from the Predators and Blues will participate in an alumni game following the Blues-Predators game Saturday. Country music star Dierks Bentley will participate in the alumni game for the Predators, marking a return to the ice at Bridgestone Arena for the first time since he assisted Predators forward James Neal in the 2016 Honda NHL Skills Competition on Jan. 30.

The Middle Tennessee State University club hockey team will play Mississippi State of the Southeastern Collegiate Hockey Conference at 1:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

"This is a wonderful opportunity not only for these students, but for the SECHC to gain more exposure," SECHC director of communications Justin Bradford said. "Both teams playing are continuing to build their programs, and for them to have the chance to play at Bridgestone Arena, hopefully this helps fans of both universities realize they have a great hockey team to cheer for each season."

Bradford will not only be watching Middle Tennessee State and Mississippi State play, but his adult league team, "The Mighty Drunks," will play after that game at 4 a.m. ET.

"It is an absolute honor to be the only adult league team asked to participate in 24 hours of hockey," Bradford said. "To be included with the Predators among college, junior and other teams is just a tremendous feeling. We've invited other players from Ford Ice Center (a facility where adult hockey is played in Nashville) to play, and were thinking that 3 a.m. (CT) might make it difficult to find players, but the response has been amazing. We can't wait for this experience. It's something I know my entire team will never forget."

The Nashville Fire Department will play at 7:45 a.m. ET on Sunday, followed by Sled Preds Sledge Hockey.

All events from 7:45 p.m. ET on Saturday until the 24 hours of hockey concludes at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday are free and open to the public.

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