Monday is about to get a whole lot better.
Nashville Predators hockey is back, and with that comes a preseason doubleheader between the Preds and the Florida Panthers, set for this Monday, Sept. 16 at Bridgestone Arena. The doubleheader - with one game at 3:30 p.m. CT, the other at 7 p.m. - is an annual tradition between the Preds and Panthers, a perfect way for coaches and management to evaluate just about everyone in a game situation just a few days into training camp.
It's also the perfect way for Predators fans to celebrate the return of the game to Smashville.
"Whether you're coming to the game or not, let's come on out and celebrate," Preds President & CEO Sean Henry said. "It's not the Opening Day, but it's the first time we get a chance to get together with our fans and our partners and really all of Smashville to welcome the team back and welcome each other back. It's like the first day of school or a family reunion - and to quote the great Ernie Banks, 'what better way to do it than play two?'"
The party begins bright and early at 6 a.m. CT when Predators radio flagship station ESPN 102.5 The Game begins broadcasting live from Pete & Terry's Tavern at the SoBro Entrance of Bridgestone Arena. That programming continues throughout the day and leads right into a Plaza Party beginning at 11 a.m. on the arena plaza at the corner of 5th and Broadway.
Stop by to enjoy music from a live DJ and grab lunch from the M.L. Rose, Steaming Goat, Red's 615 or Bob's Fish Fry food trucks. While you're there, Preds Season-Ticket Citizens are invited to pick up their 2019-20 Season-Ticket Citizen Face-off Gifts ahead of the doubleheader.
Once inside the arena, beginning at 2 p.m., a pair of chalk talks will take place before each game in the Loyal Legion Meeting Rooms. From 2 to 2:30 p.m., hear about the life and work from an NHL referee before he works the game that afternoon. At 2:30 p.m., Mark Howard chats with Preds broadcasters Chris Mason and Hal Gill on the upcoming season.
Before the 7 p.m. game, hear from another NHL referee at 5:30 p.m. before Preds alums Dan Keczmer and Brent Peterson join Mark Howard to discuss what it's like to attend training camp and play preseason games as players and coaches.
Plus, that beautiful new scoreboard will see its first game action inside the arena bowl.
"I can't wait to see that thing shine on Monday," Henry said of the new scoreboard. "We'll save some tricks for Opening Night, but we'll get more and more feedback through those first few games of the preseason and October, but it is so much fun. We always said we're going to design a cool board that represents the passion our fans have, and I think we've done that."
If you're a Season-Ticket Citizen, you may be asking yourself, "How am I supposed to attend a game at 3:30 on a Monday afternoon, it's the middle of the workday!?"
"I think the most important thing is to just take the day off," Henry said. "If you need a note for your boss or your spouse or your golf partner, you let us know and GNASH will write you a note."
If playing hooky to come watch hockey isn't an option, the Predators still want you to be involved in the day. Contact your ticket representative and turn your tickets back in for one or both games if you can't attend. In addition to receiving a prize or some compensation for your sacrifice, you can be sure your seats will be filled by another deserving fan, perhaps someone who has never been to a game, to get them hooked on the Preds.
Whether you can only be here for lunch, or you plan on watching six periods of hockey in a six-hour span, this Monday is going to be the best you've had in a long time.
"We just changed the whole trajectory of that week by having a doubleheader on a Monday," Henry said. "And if you're at a game and you're seeing someone that's seeing their first game ever, welcome them in, invite them to sit with you and tell them about the team, Bridgestone Arena and all that we have going for us. It's really a celebration of our team, and we can't wait to welcome everyone back."
Please note the updated Bridgestone Arena bag policy for the Predators' 2019-20 season:
Clear, clutch or no bags grant guests access to our Express Lanes. Bags that are made of solid material that fit within the 12-inch-by-12-inch-by-6-inch size requirement will be placed through an X-ray scanner upon entry. Backpacks and large bags are prohibited from Bridgestone Arena. All items brought are subject to a security search. Diaper bags that fit within the guidelines of the approved bags will be permitted.