NASHVILLE — The first NHL outdoor game at Nissan Stadium will also feature a night-long salute to Nashville’s country music and entertainment scene.
The 2022 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series between the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning on Feb. 26 (7:30 p.m. ET; TNT, SN360, TVAS2, NHL LIVE) will include performances by a dozen country music and rock-and-roll artists, as well as a house band.
Country singers Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley will be the headliners, playing during the first-period intermission, but many more entertainers are scheduled to be announced next week.
“We are obviously in the entertainment capital of the world, and certainly of the South,” NHL chief content officer Steve Mayer said Friday. “From the (national) anthem all the way through the game, it’s our intention to put on a show. That’s what everybody here in Nashville expects, and we are going to salute this area and country music.”
The rink sitting atop Nissan Stadium’s field will have a local flavor as well.
It will be surrounded by design elements inspired by Nashville’s Broadway entertainment district, including neon marquees, historic brick buildings, musical notes, and a cowboy boot with a skate blade as well as a cowboy hat with a hockey stick in the band, a nod to the Predators.
“This one is going to be awesome, and it’s one of the reasons we really couldn’t wait to come to Nashville — just all this area has to offer,” Mayer said. “It’s our hope that when we do a game like this, and somebody tunes that game in, they look at the field and they know in five seconds that we’re in Nashville.
“We think we have some really great plans here. We’re really excited about being here … We think we’re going to put on a show.”
Mayer said every time there is a whistle or a TV timeout during the game, the house band — The Stadium Biscuits — will join a special guest to play for the fans. When the commercial break ends, the television broadcast will show the artists singing for viewers at home.
The first-period intermission performance featuring Lambert and Bentley will last 10 minutes, and it will be televised in its entirety by TNT and Sportsnet.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever had something of that length — the entire performance — get on television,” Mayer said. “Uniquely, they’ll each play their own songs. There could be a few special guests, and then they will finish together.”
Nissan Stadium is home to the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, many of whom have supported the Predators by attending games over the years. So Mayer said the NHL will incorporate Titans into the game-night entertainment as well. The Predators have already aired a number of social-media posts of Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan, one of the team’s more enthusiastic hockey supporters, getting ready for the game.
“I think you’ll see them before the game begins — that’s all I will say,” Mayer said. “If you look at our history, we certainly take advantage of where we’re at, and celebrate the stadium we’re at and celebrate other sports. In this market, there are plenty of Tennessee Titans players who are our fans of the Predators.”
Another tradition that has long been part of Predators culture will find a place in the activities as well.
Nashville fans have from time to time tossed catfish onto the ice at Bridgestone Arena before big games, a southern take on Detroit’s tradition of hurling the occasional octopus over the glass.
“There may be a catfish that purposely shows up, and I’m sure there might be a few that come into this environment in other manners and other ways,” Mayer said. “We will have very stringent security checks. But I do think there will be a moment on Saturday night that might involve a catfish, yes.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism