Skate of the Union 2011 Recap

Ryan Suter (20) and Blake Geoffrion (5) show off the new home jersey!

Wether you were in the crowd last night or missed the action, the 3rd Annual Skate of the Union proved itself successful as hundreds of hockey-hungry Preds fans showed up to see the unveiling of the new home jersey. However, the revealing of the new home jersey wasn’t the only thing Predators fans were looking forward to…

  • Fans stood in a line, which seemed to wrap completely around the entire building, for a chance meet Blake Geoffrion, Ryan Suter, Stu Grimson, Wade Belak and Scott Walker and have them sign merchandise.
  • A used equipment sale was held for season ticket holders and the general public. Game-used/worn items, such as gloves, sticks and pads were snatched up by the handfuls by the fans.
  • The new “simplified” logo made its debut on t-shirts, car decals, flags, banners, hats, etc. all available now for purchase in the Predators Pro Shop.
  • Along with the new stuff, the Preds had a “sidewalk sale” to ship out the old merchandise, including $5 Dumont and Sullivan jersey t-shirts, “Duck Hunt” Predators vs. Ducks t-shirts and other playoff tees.
  • The locker room was open for tour between 4pm – 6pm, allowing Preds fans an up-close view of where the players getting ready before taking the ice.
  • The kids weren’t left out, either: A Predator-shaped inflatable slide, mini hockey rinks and a slap shot game were there to entertain even the youngest of fans.
And that list right there doesn’t even begin to cover the fan press conference with GM David Poile, Head Coach Barry Trotz, CEO Jeff Cogen, Owner Tom Ciggaran and COO Sean Henry. The panel discussed the upcoming season and answered questions from both Twitter/Facebook and from the crowd. While I wish I could remember everything these guys mentioned, here are some of the most interesting comments from the panel:
  • Tom Ciggaran says that with signing Dirk Hoag, the payroll will be the highest in history.
  • David Poile says “we have our window of opportunity” and that “we’re in exactly the position to be competitive for a number of years”.
  • Jeff Cogen – Sellouts went from 4 to 16 last season, with this year being a goal of 25.
  • Head Coach Barry Trotz receives a standing ovation before making his announcement.
  • As a result of Trotz’s Standing O, COO Sean Henry begs for one before speaking!
  • Sean Henry – Bridgestone Arena named 9th busiest venue in the US for the 1st half of 2011.
  • Tom Ciggaran – wanting to raise $20-25 million in further equity to reduce the debit & that could take 1.5 years to complete.
  • Sean Henry explains new features coming to the arena that will improve the needs of those sitting in sections 116 – 118.
  • Barry Trotz discusses PowerPlay: “Everything can’t go through Shea Weber” and he’s working with the players on new powerplay strategies.
  • Sean Henry – new glass and boards will be adding this summer for the safety of fans and players.
  • David Poile – Alex Radulov possibly to return next summer.
  • Jeff Cogen – “Thrash to Gnash” campaign to bring former ATL Thrashers fans to Nashville with exclusive package deals, which include specially priced tickets, a gas card and discounted hotel prices.
  • David Poile makes no comment on qualifying offers issue; NHL considers it a “non-issue”.
  • Barry Trotz – Preparing for Francis Bouillon to be ready by the preseason (recovering from concussion).
  • Tom Ciggaran – Brett Wilson getting closer to joining Preds ownership, possibly by September.
  • Jeff Cogen – Fox Sports may divide Georgia by east and west between Predators and Carolina over TV market.
  • Gnash and the entire panel convert a former Thrashers fan into a Predators fan, who was on vacation in Nashville from Atlanta.
Before the unveiling of the new home jersey, owner Tom Ciggaran spoke along with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (oh and we found Crispy!) to the fans and also unveiled a new updated video of Tim McGraw singing the beloved goal song, wearing the new jersey. The fans turned to the “Batman” building and, with a countdown from ten, the banner was dropped, revealing the new home jersey. Confetti was shot out and players Blake Geoffrion and Ryan Suter donned their new jerseys (ex. the photo above) and threw out hats with the new logo on them to the crowd.
Phew! That was a lot to cover in one post, don’t you think? If you missed the 3rd Annual Skate of the Union, you missed out, but don’t worry, you are now able to pre-order the new home jersey (along with the white away jersey) and purchase anything and everything you ever wanted with the new logo on it!
After last night, let’s hope October gets here fast! We miss hockey!

BEHOLD THE GOLD - Sounds kind of scary, but the jerseys aren't half bad in person!

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