Dierks Bentley, Brett Eldredge and More Praise Nashville’s Hockey Fandom
With the Nashville Predators close to winning the Stanley Cup in the NHL playoffs, country artists are among those who are excited to see Music City embrace the sport of ice hockey. A number of country acts are fans of the sport, so watching the Preds' run for the Cup has them -- along with the rest of Nashville -- voicing their support for the team.
"You’ve got some guys who were buying season tickets 10 years ago to keep the team here. So you have players that actually invested their own money to keep the team in Nashville," Dierks Bentley recently told The Boot and other reporters. "There will never be another year like this one. There’s just so much excitement; it’s so broad. It’s one thing to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but not until your team goes [do] you realize how much it takes to get there, how much heart."
Bentley, a longtime Predators season ticketholder, had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He says it's an experience he will remember forever.
"It was definitely surreal," he explains. "It goes from being very loud, crazy loud, and so many moving things to, you walk out there, it’s dead quiet ... It feels like you’re walking into a painting."
Cole Swindell, who grew up in Georgia and didn't know much about ice hockey until moving to Nashville, has quickly become a fan of the sport.
"Being an [Atlanta] Braves fan, a [Miami] Dolphins fan, I’ve always said, I’d give anything to have the loyalty the fans do for the Preds. It's amazing," Swindell shares. "And now, this year, of course, I’m all into it. I’ll pull for this city no matter what the team is or who it is; I love this place and anything connected to it ... The energy in that arena is the most energy I’ve ever seen in a sporting event."
Who's Sung the National Anthem During Nashville Predators 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs Games?
Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final series will take place on Sunday night (June 11) in Nashville. The big game coincides with the final night of the 2017 CMA Music Festival, and while that may prove to be a headache for those going from place to place downtown, the artists say that there's no place they'd rather be on Sunday night than in Nashville.
"You feel like this is the coolest place in the U.S. right now," Brett Eldredge says. "We’ve got all this crazy stuff; people are really seeing how awesome Nashville is. It’s a really fun vibe. I’ve loved it [since], back when I first got here, when it wasn’t as cool."
Adds Phil Vassar, "You get go to a Preds game, and you see everybody; it’s a who’s who -- it’s kind of like a [Los Angeles] Lakers game, so it’s fun. Nashville’s become a cool hockey town, and the Preds are really great ... It’s an incredible experience."
With the Penguins beating the Predators three games to two in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final series, there's a chance that Pittsburgh wins the Stanley Cup in Nashville on Sunday night. But whether the Predators win and force a Game 7 or not -- whether Music City becomes the home of the Stanley Cup for the next year or not -- Nashville's hockey fan base is one of the most loyal (and loud) in the NHL.
"I’ve got some friends who work for the NHL. They said they’ve never seen an atmosphere like the one here in Nashville; the volume is the loudest they’ve ever heard in the country," Bentley shares. "So it’s not so much what the Stanley Cup means for Nashville … it’s more about what Nashville’s doing for the sport of hockey. We’re doing a lot more for the NHL than the NHL’s doing for us."
Game 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final will begin at 8PM ET.
Country Stars Share Their Nashville Predators Pride