Bridgestone Arena lies at the epicenter of one of the nation's fastest growing cities. Stroll past the boot shops and the bars with guitars playing and it can't escape your view.
The home of Nashville's hockey team has become synonymous with the home of Tennesseans, all gathering under one roof to cheer on their Predators. As the city of Nashville has blossomed, so too has this fan base, and Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett has taken notice of hockey's booming popularity in his state capital.
"The Predators unify this community," Hargett said. "When the Predators speak, people listen."
That's why, when Hargett sought to increase voter registration in the state of Tennessee, he knew just where to turn.
On Monday, Hargett and Nashville Predators President & CEO Sean Henry announced their partnership for the Your Vote Matters voter registration and voter participation campaign. Through the campaign, Tennesseans will be urged to make their voices heard come Election Day by registering to vote, ensuring that their voter registration is accurate and going out to the polls come Super Tuesday on March 3.
Video: Tennessee State University, Preds enter partnership
"Let's face it. Whenever the Secretary of State stands up in front of people and asks them to go vote and register to vote, it affects a few people, but the Predators have a much more passionate fanbase than Tre Hargett and the Secretary of State does," Hargett said through a smile.
He isn't wrong.
It wasn't that long ago ESPN named the Predators as the best franchise in all of professional sports, a designation that pointed to fans in Smashville as a big part of the reason why.
Predators fans certainly aren't bashful, and they let their emotions loose every time the puck drops. Secretary Hargett hopes that the passion that drives fans to flock to Bridgestone Arena will translate to the polls as well.
"[Government] counts on people being able to go vote and elect the representatives who serve them and our voting is how we make our voice heard and let our priorities for what we want our government to be doing known," Hargett said. "When you don't do that, you haven't made those feelings clear and government doesn't act like you would like for it to."
As part of the partnership, Secretary Hargett is working with the Predators to register voters at home games, showing fans how they can easily register online or from their phones. The partnership will also help 18-year-olds in local schools get ready to vote in the upcoming elections.
"We want to see our voter registration numbers throughout the state climb, and then we also know that by the Predators encouraging people to vote on Election Day, that in itself will help drive turnout," Hargett said.
The Predators are one of three professional teams in the state of Tennessee taking part in the Your Vote Matters campaign. The Tennessee Titans and Memphis Grizzlies have also agreed to the partnership.
To register to vote, fans can go to govotetn.com or they can download the GoVoteTN app. Through the app, they can also find locations of voting booths, hours of operation and can even find a ballot that's unique to individuals and smaller areas.