It's the best time of year!
It was a weekend that Nashvillians will never forget. A two-day monsoon turned into overflowing rivers, which turned into devastation all across Middle Tennessee. Almost every community in the area was affected by the flooding – especially Davidson County. Heck, even the Opryland Hotel (one of Nashville’s well-known landmarks) will be out of commission well into the winter.
While the people in those areas still rebuild and restore their livelihoods (and will be for months/years), one of the biggest unknowns of this natural disaster was the affect on Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators.
On the Monday immediately following the non-stop torrential downpours, the Cumberland River (which goes through the heart of downtown) started overflowing into the downtown district. Once that happened and the water had nowhere to go, some of it got into the event level of Bridgestone through underground pipes.
Approximately eight inches of standing water filled the floors of the arena, including the locker rooms and space where the ice had been sitting just days prior. If the Predators had beaten the Blackhawks in the first round of the playoffs, they wouldn’t have had a home arena for round two.
The event level was cleaned up just enough for Bridgestone Arena to host a James Taylor/Carole King concert on May 22nd, just three weeks following the floods.
Almost five months later, the staff is still cleaning up and fixing what was lost or damaged.
Three games into their home pre-season slate, the Predators still have not dressed in their own locker room (and may not by the time the regular season starts).
“The locker room’s got some work to do; it will be very nice when they get it done,” Coach Barry Trotz said last week. “We’re hoping it’s not done by October 8th and then they say ‘here, we got it done in time’, because that just disrupts everything. I’m hoping they can get it by the 5th.”
In the mean time, they’ve resided in an auxiliary locker room down the hall from the visiting teams. It is a much smaller room and a longer walk to the bench/ice. As a result to not being in their regular spot, the hallways outside of the visiting and auxiliary locker rooms are absolutely crammed (especially following games).
As Trotz said, the team may not get back into their locker room by opening night (October 9th).
The dry wall and foundation is there, but the little things still have to be done – painting, putting in stalls, final furnishings, etc. One advantage of this unfortunate ordeal is that they’ve been able to put in a theatre system to watch game film, where before it would be a make-shift setup.
The team hopes the room will be done by October 9th when they host the Anaheim Ducks, but it seems questionable at this point. It is expected to be fully functioning by the time the Preds return from a trip to Chicago on October 13th.
The area is still struggling from the events that took place in early May, as families have been displaced or still rebuilding. People in the area – if they were lucky enough to have power – were watching, on local television, tractor trailers drive through numerous feet of water on the interstate.
In the grand scheme of things, the Predators' locker room is low on totem pole of concerns when compared to people losing some or all of their possessions.
Some parts of Middle Tennessee will be recovering for a while in what had to have been one of the more under-publicized natural disasters in recent memory.
Photo credits: Nashville Post
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