The idea is simple, really: Masks On, Keep Smashville Strong.
The Predators haven't been able to rally the Nashville community on the ice, but there have been a slew of endeavors elsewhere to help those in Middle Tennessee and beyond to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
As businesses begin to reopen in Music City, it's important to continue adhering to social distancing guidelines to remain safe. Wearing a face covering to keep you - and your neighbor - healthy is one of those practices, and the Preds are doing their part to assist in the process.
Not only have the Predators developed team-branded masks that allow fans to show their Preds Pride while staying safe, the organization is also distributing 20,000 Smashville Strong branded masks to their city, corporate and media partners across Middle Tennessee. These partners include food and beverage and retail sites with locations across the state.
The 'Masks On, Keep Smashville Strong' mantra is an easy one to follow, and it's one the Preds believe the community will embrace.
"When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation came out that we should be wearing masks in public, we were inundated by fans wanting to wear our logo," Predators President & CEO Sean Henry said. "They wanted to show their pride. They want to make it cool, and you want to have a little bit of fun. The fact is, when you're putting a mask on, there can be a lot of negative reinforcements of why we're doing it, and at least when you see our logo, you get a chance to smile a little bit and maybe think of some of those Golden Moments that we've created together."
Video: Governor Lee reveals new mask plan with Preds
Not only did the Preds receive requests from fans to create face coverings, but Nashville Mayor John Cooper and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee's offices also wanted to team up with the organization.
"We were pretty humbled by the fact that the governor's office reached out and asked us to be part of that campaign, and we jumped at it," Henry said. "And then of course Nashville Mayor John Cooper got in touch with us too. When Nashville started reopening with different phases coming in, the mayor's recommendation was that people wear masks, and it is required in all municipal-owned buildings and it is for Bridgestone Arena. So, it became just another outlet for us to help them celebrate how easy it is to cover up and to bring to life some of the things that we all need to do together to make sure that as we reopen, we can all stay as safe as possible."
"Tennesseans have stepped up to do their part and keep their neighbors safe throughout this health crisis," Director of the Economic Recovery Group Mark Ezell said via press release. "The more we can celebrate masks and make them fun, the more lives we ultimately protect. These businesses are the heart and soul of Tennessee, and we're grateful to them for helping our citizens stay healthy and have a little fun sporting their favorite brands while they're at it."
The Predators have also relied on their partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center during this time, and the doctors, nurses and staff have proved to be invaluable assets just like always.
"As we move out of staying safer at home and replace it with more public interaction and commerce, we must replace the safety of no interaction with other ways to keep ourselves from getting sick," Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, said. "Wearing a mask is a very valuable way to accomplish this along with keeping distance from others, washing our hands frequently and not touching our faces. As a partner with the Predators, we want to see everyone in their organization and our community stay healthy. We also want to see the economy open back up successfully and safely. We can all help ourselves and each other by practicing these simple methods to avoid becoming infected by the Coronavirus."
A total of 100,000 Nashville Predators-branded masks will be made available to other entities across the state and available for purchase at NashvilleLockerRoom.com on June 23, and the Preds will continue to assist our community get back to business as long as it takes.
"It's something we're really proud of, and kind of humbled by," Henry said of the initiative. "We do pride ourselves on using our games and the passion people have for our logo to bring about change in the community in a positive way or bring attention to causes that are so needed through our Preds Foundation or community relations. But when someone thinks of us as a driving force, that we can help have fun and do some good during such a really important initiative, we couldn't say yes fast enough."