The year 2013 provided many high points both inside and outside the walls of Bridgestone Arena. From the Preds drafting Seth Jones with the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to Bridgestone Arena being named a finalist for Pollstar’s Arena of the Year awards, 2013 was an exciting year for both the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena. As the year draws to a close and we look ahead expectantly at what is guaranteed to be an exciting 2014, let’s take a look back at a few highlights from the last 12 months…
1.10 Pete Weber named Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year
As part of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association awards that saw Dick Vitale and Mitch Albom elected into the Hall of Fame, Pete Weber, a member of the Preds radio/television broadcast team, was named Tennessee’s Sportscaster of the Year for the second time.
1.29 Preds and FOX Sports Tennessee announce new long term TV deal
With the signing of the new agreement, FOX Sports Tennessee and SportSouth will televise a minimum of 75 Nashville Predators regular-season games beginning in the 2013-14 season, reaching more than four million cable and satellite households across Tennessee, Kentucky and northern portions of Alabama and Mississippi.
2.19 Jr. Preds take their game to Quebec
The Nashville Jr. Predators traveled to Quebec to take on Peewee teams from across North America in the Quebec International Peewee Tournament. Highlights from the team’s play at the tournament included wins over the Quebec-based Montmorency Battalion and the Pittsburgh Selects.
March 2013 included six sold-out Nashville Predators home games, five consecutive days of SEC Men’s Basketball (13 total games) and four sold-out concerts, saw 329,002 guests walk through the doors of Bridgestone Arena, making it both the most attended month of March in building history, and the second most attended month overall.
3.13 The SEC Men’s Basketball Championship begins at Bridgestone Arena
Held from March 13-17, the SEC Men’s Basketball Championship welcomed teams from all over the southeast to Music City. The championship game pitted the University of Florida vs. Ole Miss in front of more than 12,000 spectators. Ole Miss came away with their second SEC Men’s Basketball title with a final score of 66-63.
3.14 NHL approves realignment; Preds remain in new Central Division
The NHL’s Board of Governors approved a realignment plan and a division-based format for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Under realignment, the Western Conference is made up of two seven-team divisions and the Eastern Conference is made up of two eight-team divisions.
4.3 Preds acquire Filip Forsberg from Washington
General Manager David Poile said, ““In Filip Forsberg, we are adding one of the top-rated young forwards in the world; we are excited to have him join our other emerging young talent and solid veterans at the position.”
4.11 Bridgestone ranks seventh in U.S. concert attendance in Pollstar’s 2013 First Quarter report
With first quarter highlights such as Justin Bieber, Kid Rock, Pink, Bon Jovi and Maroon 5, Bridgestone Arena attendance ranked seventh in the United States and 16th in the world in concert attendance.
“Our ability to bring world-class entertainment to Nashville wouldn’t be possible without the tremendous support of the Nashville music community; great promoters, managers and performers; and our dedicated staff,” said Bridgestone Arena Senior VP of Booking David Kells.
4.30 Preds sign Patric Hornqvist to a five-year deal
Nashville’s seventh choice in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Patric Hornqvist, an integral part of the Preds core group and a three-time 20-goal scorer, signed a deal that will keep him in Music City for at least another five years.
5.19 Roman Josi wins silver medal with Switzerland at the World Championships and named tournament MVP. Craig Smith takes home the bronze medal with Team USA.
Nashville’s own Roman Josi was named the tournament’s most valuable player and scored the Swiss’ only goal in the Gold Medal Game vs. Sweden. Josi’s play throughout the event helped lead the Swiss to their second silver medal in IIHF competition, and first in 60 years. Smith’s Team USA was victorious over Finland in the Bronze Medal Game, the American’s first medal of any color at the World Championships since 2004.
5.20 Preds distribute record $405,000 in grants to area charities
It was the 15th grant distribution by the Predators Foundation. The 113 grants were given to Nashville and Middle Tennessee-based community service and charitable organizations, many with a focus on children and families.
5.21 Phil Housley named Preds assistant coach
A veteran of 21 NHL seasons and a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer, the Predators welcomed a former defenseman to a spot behind the bench for the first time in team history. Most recently, Housley worked as head coach of the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. Housley was also behind the bench of the U.S. team that took home the bronze medal at the 2013 IIHF World Championships.
6.5 Scott Nichol named Director of Player Development
General Manager David Poile announced that former Pred Scott Nichol would begin work as the team’s Director of Player Development. In this role, Nichol is tasked with following and evaluating top prospects drafted by the club.
“During the last few years of my playing career, working with the younger players was something I really got a lot of enjoyment out of,” Nichol said. “It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m excited to be a part of the Predators organization again and have the chance to work with David Poile and the Predators staff.”
6.10 Preds sign Roman Josi to new seven-year deal
Nashville’s third choice in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Josi is recognized as one of the best young defenseman in the NHL.
6.11 Predators Foundation makes a donation of more than $130,000 to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the largest donation in the history of the partnership
The donation, the largest in the history of the partnership between the team and the hospital, was a result of the season’s fundraising efforts by the Nashville Predators including Nashville Predators Care for Kids nights, a Nashville Predators Alumni game, an SPHL preseason contest between the Knoxville Ice Bears and the Huntsville Havoc and more.
6.17 Mayor Dean announces new hockey center in Southeast Davidson County
Mayor Karl Dean announced the addition of a community ice rink and hockey center as part of the city’s mixed-use complex to be constructed in southeast Davidson County that also includes an expanded branch library, new regional community center and park. The Predators organization will manage the rink, which will be available for community use and to help expand youth hockey programs.
6.28 David Poile named GM of the 2014 USA Men’s Olympic hockey team
The Associate General Manager of the 2010 USA Men’s Olympic hockey team in Vancouver, it was announced that Poile would once again return to the service of USA hockey, serving as the General Manager of the USA Men’s Olympic hockey team in Sochi.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to serve my country in this capacity,” Poile said. “To not only represent the United States and the sport, but to do it on the highest level of sporting competition, in an event that brings the world together, is a dream come true.”
6.30 Preds select Seth Jones at No. 4 in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft
With the fourth selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators selected defenseman Seth Jones from the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.
“We had Seth Jones rated No. 1 because we think he is a terrific player,” President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile said. “Any of the top four players would have been great, but Seth is a franchise-type player. I really feel good about the direction our defense is headed.”