Season ticketholders Larry and Katy Wright have only missed four Predators home games this season. It’s an admirable attendance record, to be sure, but it approaches stellar proportions when you consider the commute.
The Wrights live in Collinwood, Tenn., a town of about 1,000 people near the Natchez Trace Parkway and the Alabama border. At over 200 miles round-trip to Bridgestone Arena and back, the couple has logged about 6,000 miles this season just to attend Predators games in person.
Larry and Katy’s obsession with the Preds began innocently eight years ago, when they took their granddaughter to a hockey game in Nashville. “I thought that would be the only game I ever attended,” Larry says.
Like many, he was instantly hooked. He dipped a toe in the water with a quarter-season package for a few seasons before upgrading to full season tickets five years ago.
“The excitement never ceases,” Larry answers when asked what makes him keep coming back. “The games are hard, fast and physical.”
The couple typically makes the drive north in Larry’s Mercedes C230, since it gets better gas mileage than Katy’s Buick. “It’s about $30 a trip [in gas costs],” he says. They’ll choose a roomier vehicle, though, when bringing others with them. And they bring others with them a lot.
“We brought a group of 16 the other night from our church,” Larry says. “We’re seeing more and more people here going to Nashville [for Predators games].”
Larry and Katy even went so far as to set up a Predators booth at last September’s Old Timer’s Day festival, a big event in Collinwood. They used their “closet full of jerseys” as well as hockey sticks and pucks to decorate, and Larry drove up to the Predators offices at 501 Broadway to get a stack of tickets to give away for one of the team’s 2011 preseason games.
The couple wasn’t sure if anyone would even stop by the booth, but Larry says it was crowded all day long. They had so much fun that they are already planning to set up the booth again this September.