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Preds' PR staff makes sure everyone is taken care of

by Jay Levin
Home gamedays are big events for the Nashville Predators' public-relations staff, which includes vice president of communications and development Gerry Helper, communication manager Tim Darling, and communication coordinator Kevin Wilson.

Gameday starts for the Predators' PR staff at 7 a.m. and wraps up close to 11 p.m. The 16 hours in between are spent primarily in one of three places -- the locker room, the press box, or the copier room.

7 a.m.: Preds game-notes guru Kevin Wilson gets into the office. First on his list of priorities is to print and copy game notes and League stats for the morning skate. While game notes are copying, Wilson searches a litany of Web sites for that day's news clips.

The game notes, stats, and news clips are the three primary sets of information that go on the press table by the locker rooms for both teams' morning skates.

9:15 a.m.: Preds PR manager Tim Darling swings by the Nashville locker room for a quick update meeting with the coaches. Darling and the coaches discuss the main issues of the day, including any out-of-the-ordinary media requests.

9:45 a.m.: Darling and Wilson discuss the day's media requests and do a quick run-down of the daily schedule.

10 a.m.: Darling takes most of the copies down to the locker room area to prepare for the start of the game-day morning skate.

10:30 a.m.: Wilson brings the remaining copies down to the locker room area.

11 a.m.: The morning skate starts to wrap up and players begin to come off the ice. The Predators' locker room is opened to the media moments later. Darling and Wilson will remain by the locker room until all media requests are wrapped up, usually around noon or 12:30 p.m.

After a quick break for lunch: Wilson usually uses his lunch time for a quick run (through downtown Nashville when the weather permits, or inside on a treadmill or exercise bike). The PR staff spends the early afternoon dealing with day-to-day office requests.

3 p.m.: Preds VP of communications and development Gerry Helper meets with Darling and Wilson to review any last-minute questions about that night's schedule, including any in-game events or PR opportunities the organization may be hosting that night.

3:30 p.m.: The game-night staff of interns starts to filter in.

4 p.m.: Wilson sends the game-night interns to their pregame posts. Darling or Wilson then head to the locker room area for any immediate pregame media requests -- usually a pre-taped interview request by the home and visiting television broadcast.

5:30 p.m.: It's time for a quick dinner in the media meal room.

6:15 p.m.: Wilson mans the press box, getting ready to disseminate pre-game lineups. Darling heads back to the locker room to coordinate player introductions.

7:07 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Game time. Wilson's primary responsibility is to distribute information to the press box, including intermission stats. Darling's primary responsibility is to coordinate requests to and from the locker room, including on-the-bench interviews and intermission interviews with players or coaches.

9:35 p.m.: Darling opens the Predators locker room after the game and assists media with their postgame player and coach requests. Wilson makes sure all postgame stat sheets are printed by the NHL stats crew, copied, and then distributed through the press box and the locker rooms.

9:50 p.m.: The game-night staff starts to trickle back into the office to transcribe postgame quotes from home and visiting players and coaches.

10 p.m.: Wilson returns to the office to proof the postgame quotes before they are distributed to the media.

10:45 p.m.: Helper, Darling, and Wilson review the events of the night, what went well, any issues that may need to be addressed for upcoming games, what players took care of the various postgame interview responsibilities -- generally recap the night before heading home and getting ready for the next day.

Jay Levin is the Internet Development Manager for the Nashville Predators.

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