One year after the NFL lockout ended another lockout threatens the season of Nashville's other major league sports team.
The Nashville Predators have seen big success on the ice with second round playoff runs in past years and growing attendance at home games, but the National Hockey League is on the verge of a lockout and it could have a big impact here in Nashville.
Fans worry a lockout could kill the team's momentum and also hurt fan support and businesses.
"There's been such a great buzz around the team here in Nashville with the playoff runs in the second round. I've seen more people wearing Preds gear than I ever had before," said Preds fan Nick Calderwood.
After a roller-coaster offseason that saw the departure of defenseman Ryan Suter and the signing of Shea Weber to a longtime deal, most fans are ready to see the team on the ice.
"We signed Weber to that big deal, and I want to see him play. I want to see him on the ice," said Preds fan Grant Pine.
But the current NHL collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15, and without a new deal the opening date for Smashville could be in jeopardy.
It's not the first time hockey fans have faced a lockout. An entire season was lost in 2004.
And while the mayor calls it negotiations between two private entities he asks those sides to look at the bigger picture.
"If there is a lockout there's a lot of people who are going to lose their positions, their jobs. A lot of businesses will be hurt. It will definitely hurt lower Broadway. I just hope the parties, as they are negotiating, keep in mind that there's a higher end here and look out for people who are dependent on these games being played," said Mayor Karl Dean.
Many fans think it could also kill the buzz and growing fan base for the Predators who believe the team could make a deep playoff run.
"I would hate to see that momentum kind of die away here if there's no season," Calderwood said.
"I hope they can figure out a way to divide up those millions of dollars and get back on the ice," Pine said.
As it stands, the Predators' first preseason game is scheduled for Sept. 24, with their first regular season game in Detroit set for Oct. 12.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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