NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators have a tradition of letting their fans show their pride by smashing a car painted in their opponent's color scheme with a hammer during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Predators are about to raise the bar in advance of their Western Conference Second Round series against the Winnipeg Jets, transforming the "Smash Car" into a "Smash Plane."
The "Smash Plane" was brought to Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday and is expected to be in place when the Predators host Game 1 on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN360, TVAS).
"We've been doing a Smash Car for 10 years and it's always been a car," Predators senior director of community relations Rebecca King said. "But with our new opponent, in a marketing brainstorming session, we tried to think of how we can we up the ante to do the tradition of the Smash Car, and someone said, 'Well, what about a plane?'
"So for the past two days, we've had some folks reaching out to local airports, and we found a plane that had been sitting on a runway for about 10 years.
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"It hasn't been flown in over five years, I think, and they were willing to donate it for us. We've lined up our artists to paint it in the opposition's colors like we do with the cars, and our fans are going to have the opportunity to get a little pregame anxiety out and a little bit of their jitters and take a whack at an airplane."
Donations from past participants who have walloped the Smash Car have gone to the Predators Foundation, which has distributed the money to charitable causes.
"I think from our playoff run last year, we generated so much more money for our foundation just in round one, just because it's now a tradition and our fans are really taking to these playoff things that we do," King said.
"They are excited to see what the graffiti artists are going to put on the vehicle. It's just been something that's now known to us are these Smash Cars, and the nice part of it is that it does raise money for charity. So fans donate money, and in the playoffs last year, I think we raised over $20,000 for our pediatric cancer fund."
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