Nov 27, 2012, 11:28 AM EST
What happens when kids can’t go and watch their favorite NHL team? You bring the NHL to them. That’s what happened at a Nashville youth hockey game recently, as the Blizzard and the Cyclones, two A-Game house league teams (11- and 12-year-olds) showed up at a local rink for what they thought would be a normal game followed by a pizza party.
But the Nashville Predators had a surprise. The team recruited 200 fans, and brought in their mascot, a drum line, a professional public address announcer and even TV and press journalists to cover the game. The Predators dancers and Ice Girls were also there. They called it a Smashmob, and a local Pee Wee game that would normally draw 30 or 40 people was suddenly a very big deal. The players were totally stoked, as you’ll see in the video.
When players got to the bench, side-by-side with their regular coaches were Predators coaches, including Barry Trotz and Peter Horachek with the Blizzard and Lane Lambert and Brent Peterson with the Cyclones.
“We all kind of thought something was going on in the locker room when they started videotaping us,” Morton said. “It was like, ‘What is this?’ ”
It was an attempt to create an NHL-type experience for the kids, right down to post-game interviews in front of a banner filled with Predators logos.
“It was an incredible experience for the boys,” Matt Dunn, coach of the Blizzard, said. “You could see the adrenaline just flowing through them. They couldn’t keep the smiles off their faces. They had a little more jump in their steps. They were flying all over the ice.
“Having all that enthusiasm with the crowd noise and all that, it really made it special for these kids.”
So here’s a hat tip to the Predators for remembering their fans. The organization took an ugly situation and, for one night at least, transformed it into something great.
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