Before the future of the Nashville Predators took to the ice inside Ford Ice Center on Saturday afternoon, the future of the franchise was discussed outside at the club’s annual Skate of the Union Address.
Predators CEO Jeff Cogen, President Sean Henry, General Manager David Poile, Head Coach Peter Laviolette, Captain Shea Weber and forward Craig Smith sat on the Predators panel, fielding a wide array of questions from social media, as well as the live audience.
Cogen opened by discussing a number of new changes throughout Bridgestone Arena, including additions in food and beverage offerings, as well as a brand new Wi-Fi system installed in the arena bowls for fans to utilize during their time spent in the building.
Included below are some of the highlights of the address…
-Poile on the return of forward Mike Fisher:
The team hopes to have him back “approximately at the end of November.”
-Cogen on the potential of an NHL All-Star Game in Nashville:
“We’ve submitted our bid (to the NHL). Sean (Henry) and I were in New York last week, we visited with them and they’re reviewing that bid. They’re making a trip (to Nashville in the future) and we’re going to work with them and work hard to get it here.”
-Henry on the team’s goal song:
“Peter (Laviolette) promised we’re going to be playing the goal song a lot more often this year, so I think if you like ‘Gold on the Ceiling’ (by the Black Keys) you’re going to like it a lot more.”
-Henry on a new Predators Pro Shop and Wi-Fi:
“(The Pro Shop) will be ready October 9th, it’ll just be a lot better October 25th; we’ll be up and running though. It’ll allow our fans to get access from Fifth Avenue and the concourse and it’s four times the size (of the current location), which will allow us to bring in a lot more product line that people will want to see and ideally, people will have fun walking around it and enjoy it. When the Wi-Fi system is up and running completely and we understand how to harness it, because it’s really the most powerful one up in sports, is how do we link that to our pro shop, to food and beverage to ticket purchasing so it’s much easier for everyone to wander the building and enjoy themselves more.”
-Cogen on the Predators practice facility:
“The team will not be practicing at (Ford Ice Center) this year as its home facility. We enjoy (Centennial Sportsplex), we upgraded it a little bit this offseason, and it’s very accessible to us downtown. You will see the team out at (Ford Ice) once a month-ish, practicing because we want to expand our fan base and bringing the team out here is one way to do that. So not full time, but frequently.”
-Laviolette on training camp and implementing a system:
“Right away in camp, we’ve got to get our identity squared away and the foundation of our system and put that in place. On the first couple days, we’re going to work on implementing that and I think as exhibition games start to unfold, we can go back and video and continue to teach. One of the biggest things that I want to do is put it through repetition, just go over and over and make sure we have a good understanding of the style that we want to play and we’ll use most of training camp to establish that. Training camp is a time to look at your players and look at (line) combinations. I have things on my board right now; I know that some of them may hit and some of them may not, but for me, if we can come out of camp with a real good understanding of how we want to play, that’s exciting for me. I haven’t been to a training camp with a new team since 2001. My last two jobs I got hired in December and either played that night or the next night… In training camp for a new team can be very important to put in a system, start to build those relationships and really work on your game.”