The Nashville Predators Development Camp scrimmage held at Ford Ice Center gave fans of all ages an opportunity to get excited for the upcoming hockey season.
The open house held on Saturday featured the annual Predators Used Equipment Sale, the Development Camp scrimmage and a public skating session.
Cody Tittle, a loyal Predators fan, has been attending games since second grade. Now 21 years old, his allegiance holds true.
“It’s just fun to see how this team has grown so much and the amount of people that come out to even just a rookie game like this,” Tittle said.
Tittle rose with the sunrise early Saturday to attend the Preds used equipment sale.
“I actually woke up at 5:30 a.m. and was in line at 6:30 a.m.,” Tittle said. “I got here early; I was pretty dedicated. My main goal was to get a Shea Weber stick. I didn’t get the Weber stick, but I did get three other sticks and a practice jersey, so I was happy.
“I think it’s a way for fans to get closer to the game. You have the option to get equipment that was used by some of the greatest players in the League. It’s a way to give back, it’s inexpensive stuff and it’s fun.”
With the new renovations at Ford Ice Center, Tittle said the enhancements really make it one the best rinks in middle Tennessee.
“[The facility is] really nice, it’s probably the nicest one in the area,” Tittle said. “I saw on Twitter that they were laying down one of the sheets of ice and renovating the rink with [the NHL® All-Star Game logo]. It looks good and I think the All-Star game is huge, especially in the south for hockey.”
For Luke Baird, it was the first time he had been out to Ford Ice.
“It looks great,” Baird said. “All the gold everywhere makes it different; it has it’s own little stamp. It’s unique. Other organizations don’t really have a very recognizable logo or color scheme going on like the Preds do.”
Baird’s parents have been season-ticket holders since the team’s inaugural year, influencing his close following with the Preds.
“I’ve been a huge, diehard fan since I was a baby,” Baird said. “I keep up with all the prospects, I try to keep up with how they’re doing in the American Hockey League, how they're doing in juniors...so I like to come out here and see for my own eyes what they’re doing.”
Watching the prospects take the ice for the Development Camp scrimmage was something Baird and Tittle were looking forward to, with the chance to see players that could be on the Preds future roster.
“I think Kevin Fiala is going to be one of the ones that is going to make the team,” Tittle said. “Just his drive, from listening to him, he just has his mind set that he’s going to make the team this season. Viktor Arvidsson is another one.”
A number of Preds prospects mentioned after the game how impressed they were with the turnout to the scrimmage, but the fans were more than happy to show. After all, the chance to take home a piece of game-used memorabilia and get a first look at the next generation of Preds was too good to pass up.
“I just feel like [the prospects] get an opportunity to see how these fans represent them,” Tittle said. “They get a feel for the city and the support that they have. As far as I can tell, pretty much everybody who plays here enjoys playing for the Predators, so it’s big, especially with a big crowd like this.”
“It helps the fans figure out what’s coming up for the future,” Baird said. “I think that’s big because it’s gets more fan excitement around the Nashville area. The more excitement - the better.”