5 Reasons Why I'm Slowly Falling in Love with NHL + the Nashville Predators

Although I've always been a tad curious, I never really indulged my attention into that of the National Hockey League. Being pulled back in by the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in the backdrop of NBA playoffs, I decided why not teach myself a thing or two and finally see what the wonderful world of hockey is all about. 
So here I am in 2017, versing myself on the ins and outs of hockey, the rules, the history, the rosters, etc. There still so much to learn, but the more I'm able to grasp the concept, the more I'm intrigued by the game itself, which is how I've always been when it comes to most sports. 

Because I grew up in a household that was heavy into sports, it's hard to remember the specifics of how I became a fan of other leagues, but this time, it's obviously very easy for me to break down why I'm not only adding hockey to the list of sports I love, but also falling in love with the Nashville Predators:

#1. The passion + loyalty of the fans

The very first thing I noticed about hockey was their fan base. Fans of the NHL go super hard for their teams. It's transcribed in several ways, but the pandemonium on the perimeter of the rink-even outside of the arena is just as exciting than what's happening inside. Thousands of loyal fans, swinging and throwing yellow towels in the air, roaring out loud their praises and disappointments...it's all incredibly exciting and I can clearly see how the fans fuel them, win or loss; it's this rush of energy that's impossible not to get completely lost in. I'm also a longtime fan of Kings of Leon, a musical group/band who just so happen to also be the "official towel wavers" to the Predators

#2. The goal horn

This applies to the NHL in general, but just imagine: a bright red light and loud ass horn/song combo sounds off every time a the goalie of the opposing team fails to block the biscuit (puck). It's a rather silly reason, but it's all a part of the energy of the rink. It's so extra, such an overtly obnoxious production, yet somewhat refreshing, and I absolutely love it.

#3.  The level of comradeship

Calle Jarnkrok celebrates with Mike Fisher and P.K. Subban. NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.Photo credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

There's this close knit sense of brotherhood that extends beyond what they accomplish as a team and on the rink. Being the family oriented, southern sweetheart that I am, that endearing sense of comradeship speaks volumes.

#4. Pernell-Karl Sylvester "P.K." Subban

From a cultural standpoint, it's always nice to see minorities like P.K. Subban advance in sports that don't have as much reigning popularity as football and basketball in the black community. As a woman of color who was an exceptional athlete and a part of the minority in my sport (swimming), I can definitely relate. Granted, he's from Canada and I was raised here in the states, so there may be some differences in how things are there, I still think representation in a national league. such as the NHL, matters. Besides being an incredible athlete, he just seems like a stand up guy, a genuine individual with a really awesome personality. Watching A Weekend with P.K. Subban on Vice Sports confirmed that. Just like I'm new to hockey and Nashville, P.K. is new to the franchise, so we have that in common. And he's a Dallas Cowboys fan!?!? ...swoons...

#5. Falling in love with the process: choosing a team.

After research and careful consideration, it was now time to choose a team, a process that most fans would agree is a very serious process. Sure I could've selected a team with the most historical wins or the ones who were higher ranked in the league, but I trusted my intuition on this one and decided to go with the Nashville Predators. As a newer franchise in the NHL, they've certain had their share of struggles, but I guess it paid off, seeing the level at which they're playing now.

As much as I tried to avoid being a "bandwagon" fan of a heavy hitting team currently in the playoffs, I felt compelled to the Nashville Predators  for sentimental reasons. I think it's fair to say that they chose me. Tonight, I'll be tuning in and waving my flag along with a million other fans, singing "LET'S GO PREDS" to the top of my lungs. Welcome to Smashville!

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