Mike Ribeiro, James Neal, Seth Jones, Gabriel Bourque, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Ellis celebrate. (John Russel/Getty Images)
The Nashville Predators have put some restrictions on ticket sales to try to keep Chicago Blackhawks fans out, but they’ve got a secret weapon: singing. In order to silence any Blackhawks fans who try to cheer and clap through the anthem, the Predators will ask fans in attendance to sing along.
Chicago Blackhawks fans have been noted as strong travellers, so on top of a list of other things, the Nashville Predators are attempting to hinder their opposition with singing. That’s right – singing.
According to The Tennessean’s John Glennon, the Predators will be attempting to get fans in on the act for the national anthem prior to Wednesday’s opening game of the first-round series between Nashville and Chicago. By having the anthem singer request the fans in attendance to sing along, the Predators feel they will drown out Blackhawks fans who are clapping and cheering along, as has become tradition at Chicago’s home arena, the United Center.
Glennon points out that some believed the Predators may actually choose to play “God Bless America” instead of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which is exactly what Nashville did during one of the meetings between the two clubs earlier this season at Bridgestone Arena. But Nashville Predators president Sean Henry believes this alternate idea will do the trick.
"It would almost be against God, country and apple pie to shout and cheer through the person next to you singing the anthem of the United States of America, wouldn't it?" Henry told The Tennessean.
Though it is the oddest of the bunch, singing isn’t the only tool the Predators plan to use.
In an effort similar to that of the Tampa Bay Lightning, ticket sales are restricted to those within the Predators’ viewing region. In addition, before tickets are made available online to the general public, they will first be sold at local Kroger and Bridgestone stores, which means in order to buy tickets those interested will have to show up in person. But even still, the tickets made available to non-season ticket holders will be further limited as any season ticket holder who wished to could purchase additional tickets.
The ideas were created in part due to Nashville’s loss to Chicago in December, where, writes Glennon, the Blackhawks diminished the Predators’ home-ice advantage by having such a large quantity of fans in the building.
"We heard from too many fans that said, 'I don't want to see this again. I'm not coming again if it's like that,'" Henry told The Tennessean. "It wasn't so much the team we were playing. It was, 'I want to come to games where we dominate our own crowd,' because that's how it should be, and that's how it's been for almost every game."
Though the cities are more than 450 miles (725 kilometers) apart, expect to still see some Blackhawks jerseys sprinkled throughout the crowd. Games one and two of the series go Wednesday and Friday in Nashville.