It was roughly 80 degrees and sunny on Tuesday afternoon at Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville, not quite ideal conditions for outdoor ice. In less than than 70 days, as temperatures plunge and the calendar flirts closer to a new year, Walk of Fame Park will transform into “Bridgestone Winter Park,” and serve as a winter oasis featuring a myriad of activities that will include an outdoor ice rink, fire pit area and concert stage.
The announcement of Bridgestone as the naming rights partner of Winter Park, as well as the planned festivities were made on Tuesday by Nashville Predators CEO Jeff Cogen, Bridgestone Americas Chief Administrative Officer Christine Karbowiak and President and CEO of the Nashville Sports Council Scott Ramsey.
“Today’s announcement is about making sure that this All-Star celebration celebrates the great community that is Nashville, Tennessee,” Cogen said. “We want it to be more than just a couple of games inside of Bridgestone Arena.”
The plan for Bridgestone Winter Park is to create a focal point for All-Star festivities, with its culmination being the NHL Fan Fair, set to take place between Jan. 28- 31 at the Music City Center.
NHL Fan Fair will include interactive games and attractions, live music, live TV and radio broadcasts and other fun events for all fans, regardless of whether they have a ticket to the actual game.
Cogen estimates “hundreds of thousands of people” will take part in the festivities, which will span from Dec. 12, when the ice rink officially opens, to Jan. 31. Other details, such as pricing for skate rentals and ice schedules are expected to be announced at a later date.
It’s a big event, and one that took a significant amount of planning.
In fact, events of this magnitude typically take two to four years to plan, but the Nashville Local Organizing Committee, which is the nonprofit group that was established to coordinate the festivities, had just 15 months to come up with the concept, engage the local business and civic community, raise the necessary capital and execute.
“Events of this scale require the integration of a lot of civic and corporate leaders coming together and creating a vision and a plan,” Ramsey explained.
Come Dec. 12, all that planning will be put on display in a great celebration of hockey, which officials hope will continue to elevate Nashville’s status as one of the most promising places to live and work in the United States.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the whole thing,” Ramsey said. “It’s going to be a great showcase for our city.”