Kristin Pucker was expecting to be dealing with multiplication problems today in her classroom, but couldn’t have imagined that James Neal and Rich Clune would become part of the equation.
But that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday afternoon when the two Nashville Predators forwards showed up at McGavock Elementary School in Nashville to surprise Pucker with her season tickets.
“I was so surprised,” Pucker said. “I never expected this at all but I’m glad that it happened to me.”
A third grade teacher, with a great hockey name to boot, Pucker has been a season-ticket holder for the past five seasons. She and her students were being kept, unknowingly, in the school cafeteria until the visitors arrived.
“I was actually a little agitated because I was ready to get back to my classroom to have my kids get busy working on their math goals,” Pucker said. “I looked up and all of a sudden I saw these gold jerseys walking toward me and got excited. It was a lot of fun.”
“She’s obviously a huge fan and those are the types of people that make it easy to come to the rink and play for,” Clune said. “At the end of the day, they’re the ones that make the game worthwhile. To put a smile on her face and show our appreciation for her and all the fans alike, it’s not a problem.”
As someone who makes a tough living on the ice, Clune can appreciate Pucker’s profession even more so.
“It’s just cool to do something nice for someone, something unexpected,” Clune said. “These teachers, they’re huge for the community and they deserve a lot more credit than they get. It’s the least we could do.”
With the delivery of the tickets also comes the reminder that the return of hockey isn’t far behind. Clune and his mates are more than ready to get going, especially with training camp set to begin on Friday.
“I think everyone’s chomping at the bit,” Clune said. “It’s been a long summer, especially when you don’t make the playoffs. Everybody wants to get after it.”
Pucker echoed Clune’s sentiments, making one last statement before getting back to her own team of eight and nine-year-olds.
“I’m ready for hockey to start,” Pucker said. “Go Preds.”