Visiting Fans In Cowboy Hats

In Smashville, we love our visiting fans. They come to town for a couple of days, stay at our hotels, buy tickets to the hockey games, eat at our restaurants, and shop at one of our fine western wear stores.


And then we make fun of them, because in a desperate attempt to fit in, they stick out like a sore thumb.


Send your photos to zbennett [at] gmail [dot] com or tweet to @zacktn


And we’re off!!! #Preseason

And we’re off!!! #Preseason

Returning October 9, 2014

…assuming we have any friends from eastern Ontario who may have stopped at Boot Barn on their way into Smashville.

Oh, hi there, and welcome to Smashville. The season is officially underway. #VFICH

Oh, hi there, and welcome to Smashville. The season is officially underway. #VFICH

Well, well, well… Look what I found! Good to be back (on an occasional basis).

Well, well, well… Look what I found! Good to be back (on an occasional basis).

I’m giving up on VFICH, but you can have it!

I hate to break this news, but I will no longer be a season ticket holder with the Nashville Predators, and that will severely impact my ability to make fun of people who wear cowboy hats to hockey games — assuming there are any more hockey games, and assuming people will still show up to them wearing cowboy hats.

Anyway, I’ve thrown in the gold rally towel thanks to the owners’ & players’ collective greed. An ugly by-product of that will be the abandonment of this blog.

However, if you plan to keep your tickets after the lockout, and you want to assume responsibility of this blog, you can have it. Just promise to take care of it, and promise that you’ll go to as many games as you can, armed with a camera, walking around on the concourses before the game and during intermission, snapping photos of morons who think they’re being “so Nashville” by wearing a Stetson.

Let me know if you want it and maybe we can work something out. Email zbennett at that Google e-mail site. You know? The one that starts with a G and ends with Mail, followed by something that looks like a period and the first three letters of the word commode? Yeah. That one. Email me there and we’ll discuss.

Until then — Have a great day and stay out of Trail West.

If you want to know why I finally gave up… read my guest post from The Predatorial below.

——————

On October 7, five days before the Nashville Predators were scheduled to face the Detroit Red Wings in the first game of the 2012-13 season (a game which had already been canceled at that point), I tweeted this:

In full disclosure, I thought that was an extremely conservative deadline. After all, I’d been hearing hockey writers all summer say that everything would probably be resolved by Thanksgiving and blades would hit the ice around Christmas.
Well, here we are – December 17, with no end to the lockout anywhere on the horizon – and I don’t make empty threats. Today, I went to Bridgestone Arena with my season ticket package in hand, and I gave it back.

I’ve sat here the past 3 months and refreshed Twitter to see Pierre LeBrun or Bob McKenzie or Chris Johnston or Renaud Levoie or Katie Strang or any other hockey reporter I don’t normally follow tell me that the two sides met in an undisclosed location and nothing came of the meeting. I’ve heard three times now that the NHL & NHLPA were “dangerously close” to resolving the issues, only to have it all fall apart at the eleventh hour. Now I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of Gary Bettman. I’ve had enough of Don Fehr. And, for now, I’m done.

It was difficult. It was difficult to finally put closure to all those hopes of soon being back in Section 303, Row C, Seats 1 & 2. It was difficult to walk into that dark, empty Bridgestone Arena foyer and think about all the fun memories and all the new friends I made last season. It was difficult to look someone in the eye – someone who has exactly zero to do with the labor disagreement – and tell him that you’re essentially taking a few hundred bucks out of his pocket because a group of millionaires and billionaires can’t decide that enough is enough.

When I dropped by the office, I spoke to my former ticket representative, who now has moved on to another position within the Predators organization, and had nothing but good things to say. The Preds have been a wonderful corporate citizen, providing top-notch athletic entertainment at a decent price, and giving back to many charities in the area through its foundation.  I know the lockout and all the crap surrounding it is not this organization’s fault. They’ve been proactive in engaging the season ticket holders during the lockout by offering fun activities and discounts at local merchants. Yes, technically, the Predators are one of 30 franchises complicit in preventing its labor force from performing… but we all know that everyone in that building would take the NHLPA’s latest offer, and would rather be preparing for tomorrow night’s game against Tampa Bay, while owners from some of the larger-market teams refuse to waver.

This was not something I wanted to do, but it was something that I felt I had to do. I had to do it to prove a point. I had to do it to inspire others to do the same. I had to do it to prove to myself and others that I’m not one to make empty threats. I know that Gary Bettman, Don Fehr, and everybody else whose name we’ve heard these past three months will never know that I did what I did. I know that by taking my money away from the Predators, I’m directly hurting my account rep and only marginally affecting this franchise’s profits & losses. I know it doesn’t even put a dent in the broken machine that is the NHL. But I had to do it. I had to do it because, as a fan, it’s all I can do.

It shrinks the pie for the NHL & NHLPA a bit, and that’s what they’ve lost sight of. They don’t grasp the fact that there are more Zack Bennetts out there. I’m not the only one doing this. More and more fans around the league are canceling their season tickets, because we’re tired of the greed. $2053.36 may not be enough to close the “hockey-related revenue” gap, but it sure means a lot to me and my wife, and we’re going to find a much better use for that money.

I fulfilled the first part of my threat – about taking my money back – and I definitely won’t be there for the first game back, whenever that may be. Will I hold up the second part of my threat? Will I ever be back? I really don’t know. That remains to be seen. But every day that goes by, I’m finding new uses for my expendable income that doesn’t involve the Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League. The really sad part: the league and the players don’t realize that there are 17,000+ other people doing the same things in every city in the league.

…and another.

…and another.

Still no NHL Hockey (thanks a lot, idiot owners and idiot players), but the VFICHs are showing up everywhere! Here’s one at today’s Vandy game!

Still no NHL Hockey (thanks a lot, idiot owners and idiot players), but the VFICHs are showing up everywhere! Here’s one at today’s Vandy game!

SKATE OF THE UNION

There may be a lockout looming (let’s hope not!), but that didn’t keep Preds fans–and one cowboy hat–from filing into Bridgestone Arena on Monday night.

Welcome to 2012-13, Predators fans.

SKATE OF THE UNION

There may be a lockout looming (let’s hope not!), but that didn’t keep Preds fans–and one cowboy hat–from filing into Bridgestone Arena on Monday night.

Welcome to 2012-13, Predators fans.

OH HAL NO!
Former Predators F Steve Sullivan still makes his home in Nashville, and one of the first things he did after returning from Pittsburgh last week was visit the Iroquois Steeplechase with Predators D Hal Gill…who decided to show up to the event in a cowboy hat.
Clearly, we need to educate Skillsy on the proper hat-wearing procedures here in the Music City. We’ll give him a pass this time, because he’s still new here… and also because he’s a giant man and could probably kick my ass very easily.
(Photo credit: Steve Sullivan’s Twitter account)

OH HAL NO!

Former Predators F Steve Sullivan still makes his home in Nashville, and one of the first things he did after returning from Pittsburgh last week was visit the Iroquois Steeplechase with Predators D Hal Gill…who decided to show up to the event in a cowboy hat.

Clearly, we need to educate Skillsy on the proper hat-wearing procedures here in the Music City. We’ll give him a pass this time, because he’s still new here… and also because he’s a giant man and could probably kick my ass very easily.

(Photo credit: Steve Sullivan’s Twitter account)

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