|by Lauren Pearce |
There is something about hockey that attracts almost everyone. You will find that it is often the champion sport of the non-sports enthusiasts. Whether it is the camaraderie, the fluidity, or the accessibility of the players to the community, hockey habitually converts from an experience to a lifestyle for those who encounter it.
My perception of the professional hockey experience has traditionally begun and ended on a fan basis. My hockey memories generally lie amongst the cheering, the chanting, and the clapping. However, it is a whole new experience to take in hockey from a career perspective. Up in the press box, the atmosphere is distinctly calmer, but with the subtle layer of tension that only an impending deadline can invoke.
The press members perch before their notes, discussing performances and predictions in hushed voices as they wait for the play to resume. They sit well above the masses of feverish fans that are adorned in their team logos and clutching beers and snow cones, waving them about as they chatter animatedly. This can be noted as your main atmospheric difference between the two experiences.
For an enthusiastic fan, it is quite an interesting transition. I was positively itching to jump out of my seat at every goal and I found myself biting my lip often to keep from cheering out and disrupting the focused ambiance. However, the lack of expression of emotions did not greatly detract from the game, but merely provided a distinctly unique setting in which to view the game.
Viewing from the press box, I discovered that you do not miss details as easily as you do when you are one with the rumbling crowd. Every time a player receives a penalty, the action is greeted by the scratching of pens and clacking of keyboards as press members quickly jot down all the details. By the end of the game, I found that if I missed an illegal move I could still easily predict when a call was soon to come. The precise scrawling of notes heralded each call to come, revealing the attention to detail the journalists had mastered for watching the fast paced game.
Having now sat there, I can easily see why the press box is situated at such a great height in the stadium. The positioning provides a perfect aerial view of the ice that displays the formation of plays in a way that no lower bowl section could accomplish so explicitly. Had I not had the chance to sit there, I would have never been able to come to this realization. Thus, I can only offer my gratitude to Ms. Gina Maduri and the Nashville Predators for providing me with such an enlightening experience. I can sincerely say that it has added much to my ever-growing hockey experience.
|by Nik Rodewald |
On October 19, 2010, I received an opportunity to attend the Nashville Predator’s overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. I attended this game as a student journalist, and was truly opened to the business aspect of sports. I believe that often we view sports as just a game. Ironically, it is not. And no, it is not just the players and the coaches that make their living with this game. There are entire floors of people who do not come to a game just to enjoy the game. For them, that game is work.
The very first people I encountered like this were the security guards. Yes, they are everywhere, at the employee entrance and throughout. Next, I saw the actual employees of the Nashville Predator’s. They seemed to be a close knit family that greets each other with enthusiasm and a kind word. It takes hundreds of people to put on each game for the spectators and the media. As we arrived at the press box, I was amazed at how each media member was diligently working. Computers, notepads, phones, print-outs were spread across the tables. Each media member seemed ready for their day to begin.
For as hard as they seem to work, they all maintain wonderful attitudes. It seemed as though there was not one person there who was not content. No, they were all right at home. They watched the game keeping their story in mind, jotted notes, wrote, wrote and wrote some more. Another thing that amazed me was the resources available to the media, which made me wonder how much paper the Nashville Predators go through each game.
There are media notes from Calgary, media notes from Nashville, updates throughout the game, stat sheets at the end of each period, ballots for the stars of the game, and much more. All are available in the press room, and a copy is given to each media member in attendance. So, obviously, there are the people that make these notes, and then the ones that simply run them through the copier.
And what about the musical act? Certainly, somebody has to plan out everything that happens when the players are not on the ice. At the end of the day, I came to one conclusion. The Nashville Predators, like any good organization, are a family. There are a group of people that work together, love what they do, and treat each other with the respect that they deserve. I was proud to be let into their family for one night. From the tour of the arena, through the game, and to the closing press conference, this family works hard to put on a show for all the hockey fans out there, so thank you for letting me get a fleeting glimpse of what it is that you all do.