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Hockey Players + Wild Animals = Predators Day at the Nashville Zoo


There are a ton of activities going on this weekend in Nashville, and almost all of them revolve around the Nashville Predators. On Saturday, a 5K run, a small get-together at the Bridgestone Arena with Gnash, Ice Girls, and the Nashville Rollergirls (who are insanely awesome), the “Sled Preds” (a youth sled hockey program) took to the ice at Centennial Sportsplex followed by a night of Sounds Baseball with the likes of Coach Barry Trotz, former Coach Brent Peterson, Gnash and Pete Weber. Defenseman Kevin Klein threw out the first pitch. But the icing on this Blue and Yellow cake of awesomeness is Nashville Predators Day at the Nashville Zoo.

This will be the first Predators Day at the Nashville Zoo my wife and I won’t be able to attend, but we encourage anybody who is or isn’t a Predators fan to attend. If you have kids, nieces, nephews or cousins I strongly urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. The Nashville Zoo, alongside the Nashville Predators organization, has many great things in store for everyone who attends Sunday, August 28th from 1-5 P.M. They have rolled out the inflatables, bounce factories, and a ton of promotional items to get everyone kicked into hockey gear before the start of the season. They also have folks to help plan out any ticket packages and can answer any and all questions regarding seating and amenities associated with one of many plans for buying flex packs, half- or full season tickets. As an added bonus, Kevin Klein and Stu Grimson will be in attendance to sign autographs. More than likely you might see a couple of on air personalities like Pete Weber and Terry Crisp lurking around during the festivities.

I have to share this story about why Nashville Predators Day is such a great moment for fans of hockey, learning about a multitude of animals and the wild outdoors provided by the Nashville Zoo:

The season after I finally convinced my wife to attend her first Predators game (against Detroit I might add) she became hooked on Fang Fever. Her favorite player, as such with many ladies, was Jordin Tootoo and wouldn’t you know it, he was going to be signing autographs along with forward Ryan Jones.

It was packed at Grassmere that day, everyone wearing their Blue and Gold and sporting Tootoo whistles and Team Tootoo shirts. We stood in line next to the couple that drives the “Tootoo Train” Big Rig that you may see parked at just about every Predator home game. The line for autographs stretched from here to Terra Haute. We were camped in the hallways of the atrium/reptile building awaiting Tootoo and Ryan Jones’ arrival. All of a sudden, you hear the “Beatlemania” cries of the women in line when both Jones and Tootoo stroll into the little room where they were signing.

Once the line began moving, my wife is getting more and more restless to meet her favorite hockey player in the flesh. Once we got to the little conference room, we still had to snake around the Tensa-barriers till we could get our swag and jerseys signed. As soon as my wife entered the room and glanced past the long, coiled lines and laid eyes on Tootoo, she began to cry. It was the first time she had ever met a person she whole-heartedly cheered for each and every moment he was on the ice.

She remarked about his legs being the size of tree trunks (which I hate to admit, they are). She kept letting out giggly anticipation laughs the closer and closer we got through the lines. Finally, we got to our destination and my wife told Ryan Jones that she was happy he was with our team and quickly went over to Tootoo and asked if she could get her picture taken with him. We have many snapshots of that day, but my wife with a devilish grin from ear to ear posing next to her favorite Predator still lights her up to this very day. Tootoo and Jones are class acts and some of the nicest people I have ever met from a professional sports team.

It’s moments like these that make Nashville Predators Day at the Zoo a must for every Predators fan both adult and child. The memories and pictures from that day and the fun to be had is well worth the price of admission. Besides, how often can you get brownie points for taking your wife to go see players from your favorite hockey team and score some awesome swag from the Nashville Predators?


PHOTO CREDIT: Official Nashville Predators Website