So this is hockey? A Predators game review from a newbie

An honest review from someone who has never seen a game before.


Lexie Perez

Three friends celebrate outside of Bridgestone Arena. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

Greer Fraser, Staff Writer

The Bridgestone Arena crowd is buzzing with anticipation. 

The lights are dimmed, and the announcer’s deep voice is narrating a well-versed hype speech that is admittedly working well. Even my friends and I, all the way up in section 330, are jumping up and down and shouting the chants along with the rest of the seasoned crowd. 

No, we weren’t raised on the sport, and no, we didn’t win these tickets in a student raffle. We bought these tickets with our own hard-earned money because we are passionate about the sport of hockey (translation: we have never seen a single game). 

Right before winter break, three of my friends and I saw a post about the Nashville Predators hockey team. After spending the last week of fall semester losing sleep and cramming for exams, we were in dire need of any sort of distraction and thought that buying tickets for a game after break would give us a light at the end of the finals tunnel. Plus, if Jack Hughes happened to be on the opposing team, none of us were complaining about that either. 

Before we knew it, Jan. 26 had come. Admittedly, I think a lot of the game’s allure was that it was an ongoing joke, and we were all messing around with each other leading up to the big day.

“How do you think Johnson is gonna do tonight on the ice?” we’d ask each other, patting each other’s backs and shaking our heads in dismay. “He had that nasty shoulder tear last season, I don’t know if he’s ready for the big game.” There is no Johnson on the roster. 

Still, once I put on the classic Preds-themed color scheme, I was fully committed to my die-hard hockey fan persona. My friends and I took a ride downtown and quickly joined the sea of yellow and navy jerseys grabbing a bite to eat before the game. Armed with popcorn and a large Dr. Pepper, we ran to our seats as the lights dimmed. I guess we should have taken it as a hint that no one else around us was running because once we sat down there were in fact still 15 minutes until the start of the game. I digress. We had plenty of time to people-watch and learn even more about the hockey-fan lifestyle firsthand. 

Once the game started we were quick to pick up the energy of the seasoned crowd around us. We still failed to recognize the technical details of what we were watching, but we fixed that problem by making up our own terms. One friend coined “misting” for when the players made a fast turn and sprayed ice upwards. I came up with “penguining” for when the players slid an unsettling amount on their stomachs. You should have also seen the shock on all of our faces when the goalies dropped down into the splits multiple times like a massive concurrent beat drop in a “Magic Mike” movie. Our cluelessness, however, was a highlight for sophomore Addie Griggs, a member of our group and a fellow avid fan of the sport since December 2022.

“None of my friends and I were super sure of the rules of hockey so we made up a lot of our own rules and terminology to go along with the game. It was so funny and a great way to finish off the school week,” Griggs said.

Bridgestone Arena hosts a Predators hockey game, as photographed on Nov. 15, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)
Bridgestone Arena hosts a Predators hockey game, as photographed on Nov. 15, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)
(Barrie Barto)

We got lucky with the game that we chose to be our first one. It was a very high-scoring matchup, and we’d like to think our presence rattled both sides. 

We were entertained from start to finish. We chanted “you suck!” with all the other fans after our team scored. While there were no full-blown fights, much to our chagrin, there were some small shoves here and there to keep the crowd entertained. After one NJ Devils goal, an impassioned Preds fan threw a dead fish on the ice. 

In between periods, the DJ booth kept the energy up off the ice. We played the Pepsi trivia and danced in the stands, hoping to get on the Jumbotron (although we gave it our best shot, the cameraman seemed to have a special appreciation for groups of moms instead). We did it all in an effort to prove our dedication to the fandom! 

Fellow friend and newcomer sophomore Diya Desai reflected on our experience. 

“My favorite memory was getting my concession snacks and the dramatic opening where they first came in,” Desai said. “Also when the Predators scored their sixth goal because there was an empty net, it was a great way to end the night!”  

I have gradually recognized that Nashville is ready for my exploration and my adventure at any time. As a true sentimentalist wrapping up my teen years, I’ve been reflecting on my core experiences and the daunting reality of adulthood frequently. I hope that when I’m further along in my life, I can remember this fun night filled with greasy concessions, belly laughs and big smiles mirroring the knocked-out teeth way down on the ice. Go to the hockey game. Go to something you’ve never even thought of experiencing. It’s cliche, sure, but it is true that life is what you make of it. Next time you find yourself spiraling about the academic strain of this campus, think about venturing out into the real world, which is not defined by grades, but rather, by moments. Dare I say, don an on-theme outfit and find an escape worth remembering.