Nashville and the Predators have made their desire to be counted among the top sports cities official with their request to host an NHL All-Star Game.
The Tennessean revealed on Saturday that the Nashville Predators have submitted a proposal for Bridgestone Arena (and Nashville) to be the potential landing spot of the 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019 All-Star festivities. Since the arrival of the Predators and Tennessee Titans in the late 1990s, the city of Nashville has been elevating its prominence in the professional sports community through the play of those two teams, but now Nashville wants to take the next step forward.
The completion of the Music City Center and Omni hotel (with more hotels on the way) has finally put the city in the position to dream of hosting an NHL All-Star Game or even a Super Bowl. This spring, the city checked off holding an important national sports event by hosting the 2014 Women’s Final Four; and now, continuing to grow only makes sense.
“We’re pretty optimistic that we’re going to have one in the very near future,” Predators chief operation officer Sean Henry said during a budget hearing for the Metro Sports Authority, per The Tennessean. “We should be hearing some positive news, I think, in the next few weeks.”
The Predators and downtown Nashville have proven to be an attractive destination both this season and in the past, with thousands of St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks fans making the trip to Music City. The unique amenities brought to hockey through bands playing during intermissions, catfish throwing or just classic Southern hospitality keep bringing people back to Bridgestone Arena, and the city and franchise all but “deserve” a chance at one of the NHL’s biggest events.
The club should find out if they will get the rights to the 2016 All-Star game sometime this month. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Tennessean he would hopefully “be in a position to make an announcement on the 2016 All-Star Game” by July 1.
Currently only the location of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game has been decided; Columbus will host the first one since 2012 (due to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the lockout-shortened season of 2012-2013).