I've been talking about doing it for years. And with a few days off coming up this week, I'm finally going to make it happen.
I'm going to Nashville.
For whatever reason, Air Canada flies Toronto to Tennessee direct every day, and it's not difficult to get a reasonably priced flight to downtown Nashville. I'll be there for a few days, catching Thursday's game against the Coyotes and Saturday's matchup with the rival Red Wings (a game likely to be the team's fourth sellout of the season given all the ex-Detroiters who turnout for games).
In 2006-07, I had a chance to visit Washington and see what the Capitals were building in the U.S. Capital, and last season, I went to Detroit, Pittsburgh and Columbus in the span of about a month. They were all excellent experiences, and I think they resulted in some of the best entries I've ever put together.
Hockey in the south is a Canadian fascination. It's such a strange idea, after all, that what was created as a cold weather game can thrive in many of the places it does, especially when there are bizarre, nationalistic feelings of ownership over a league which has really been very, very American for its entire existence.
I've been writing about the NHL in places like Phoenix, Dallas, Raleigh, etc., for years now, and in terms of unique markets — case studies in the NHL's strange expansion plan, if you will — Nashville is right at the top of the list.
I think it'll be a fascinating trip.
If you know the area and have any recommendations for things to see or do, I'd love to hear them, and if you happen to be in the area, feel free to touch base with me by email. So far, I've heard nothing but good things about the city.
And for a few days I'll be a Preds fan.