Growth in home sales, price appreciation, population and jobs all factors in second quarter ranking by online real estate marketplace Ten-X Research.
Nashville has the hottest single-family housing market in the U.S., according to a report that shows nation-leading annual growth in home sales and price appreciation for the recent second quarter.
The No. 1 ranking by online real estate marketplace Ten-X Research of Irvine, Calif.., is also based on local growth in population, wages and jobs plus overall state of the economy.
“In all of these areas, Nashville’s doing far better than national averages,” said Rick Sharga, a Ten-X executive vice president, citing as example last year’s 2 percent local population growth being three times the nation’s average. “Unless there’s something unforeseen that disrupts the economy like a major employer moves out, it’s really well-positioned for the next few years.”
Orlando, Fla., and Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, were the other top five hottest single-family markets also based in part on annual home price growth and annual home sales growth.
Cost of living also rising at nation’s fastest rate
A separate study by personal finance website GoBankingRates, meanwhile, showed Nashville’s cost of living rose the fastest nationwide over the past year with the amount needed to live here comfortably up $9,135. It takes a salary of $70,150 to live in Nashville today, the report said, citing housing costs among factors with the median list price of a home rising almost 30 percent to nearly $340,000 from April 2015 to 2017.
Ten-X’s Top Single-Family Housing Markets Summer 2017 report, however, said that Nashville’s housing affordability remains favorable even as prices have surged almost 40 percent beyond their prior peak, which it suggests that prices can continue to progress without pressuring buyers, “The Metro also carries modest downside risks as prices only fell moderately during the housing bust,” that report read.
Previously, Nashville had been in the top 10 in Ten-X’s tracking, but ranked No. 1 for the first time in the most recent quarter. For the second quarter, local home sales increased 7.4 percent year-over-year with price growth of 12 percent to mark improvement for 20 straight quarters.
Among the 50 largest U.S. housing markets, Nashville posted the highest score in terms of economic prospects based in part on jobs and population growth. Education, health care and leisure and entertainment are among growing sectors with local employment up 4 percent year-over-year. Getahn Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cannonball’s Covers location at 5101 Kentucky Ave. to become office for fast-growing Village real estate agency.
Village Real Estate Services has paid $1.26 million for a service garage in The Nations with plans for adaptive reuse of that building as office space for the real estate agency.
Under the deal, the current occupant, auto interior repair shop Cannonball’s Covers, can remain at the 5101 Kentucky Ave. site until sometime next year. Renovations afterwards will transform the 8,000-square-foot building into Village’s sixth Nashville area office.
“That area is growing rapidly — a lot of interesting projects seem to be on the books,” said Mark Deutschmann, the founder and chief executive officer of fast-growing Village.
The 0.37-acre location at 51st Avenue North and Kentucky Avenue is not far from where residential and mixed-use projects are underway, including around 51st and Centennial.
Deutschmann said Village’s new office in The Nations neighborhood would serve Bellevue, West Meade, Sylvan Park and other areas of West Nashville. Asked whether that Village location would include space for other tenants, he replied “Not at this time.”
Currently, the firm has its main office on 21st Avenue South with other locations in 12South, East Nashville and Franklin. Another new Village office is planned for the Twelve60 Martin building, which the real estate agency’s Core Development affiliate developed at The Finery in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood.
Cannonball White owns the Cannonball’s Covers interior upholstering and “decorating” shop, which blogger Webutante once said works on boat and car tops, auto upholstery, boat upholstery, boat covers, convertible tops, van conversions, auto and boat detailing, carpet, dash, and door panels, antique restorations, custom interiors and “headliners.” Getahn Ward , USA TODAY NETWORK
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s no secret that Nashville’s housing market is hot, and according to Zillow, it’s the top hous
ing market for 2017.
In January, Zillow predicted Nashville would be the fastest growing market this year, and they say they were right on.
“We’re seeing a whopping 13 percent annual appreciation on home values right now, which is in line with markets like Seattle, another really hot market right now, Dallas, Tampa,” explained Svenja Gudell, Zillow Chief Economist.
And it doesn’t look like the trend will change any time soon.
“We’ll still see very healthy home value appreciation into the next year and beyond simply driven by fundamentals like very strong demand for housing and very limited supply,” said Gudell.
It’s a seller’s market, so if you’re thinking about selling your home, Gudell has three things you need to know.
“Know the market and what type of neighborhood you’re in and what your local market looks like, having an agent help you in that process to sell your home is very useful, or any sort of expert that can guide you along the way, and then, just do your research in general; you don’t want to overprice, but you don’t want to underprice, so finding that just right is certainly key,” she told News 2.
As far as what Nashville can expect in the future, Gudell says it’ll be fewer homes for sale and strong demand. That will continue to lead to bidding wars, and a housing market that will continue to do well.
The Zillow prediction is based home value appreciation, unemployment rates and income growth. (By Cherish Lombard)
(Photo: Gresham Smith and Partners)
The nation’s second largest live entertainment company has a roughly 4,000-capacity indoor music venue on the drawing board as part of the massive Nashville Yards commercial and residential project planned near downtown.
Under Los Angeles-based AEG‘s plans, the music venue would anchor a mixed-use entertainment district on a four-acre portion of the overall 15-acre former LifeWay Christian Resources campus. AEG’s plans for the land under contract with Nashville Yards’ master-developer Southwest Value Partners also calls for an 850-seat Regal Cinemas theater complex, a 600-700-capacity live entertainment club and a 240-room boutique hotel with other entertainment and up to a dozen food and beverage offerings.
“We’re really creating a destination for not only live entertainment, but also for good food and beverage options,” said Ted Tanner, corporate executive vice president of real estate with AEG. “It would be geared towards local Nashville, not just for tourism.”
Overall, Nashville Yards is expected to include more than 4 million square feet of new retail, hospitality, office, residential and entertainment uses worth more than $1 billion. Southwest Value has partnered with Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co. as its main development partner for office, retail and multifamily buildings on two parcels with Dimension Development Co. to co-develop a 23-story, 600-room Hyatt Regency hotel.
Tanner said AEG plans to move quickly with development of half a million square feet of building space after closing its purchase of the four acres. AEG also has an option to buy another two parcels totaling 1½ acres, which would bring to 5.5 acres its portion of the former LifeWay campus bordered by Church and Commerce streets and Tenth and Ninth avenues north and its building space to more than one million square feet.
Tanner said the music venue would be available to host more than music events with AEG to also operate the live entertainment club-type space. The nine-screen, upscale luxury, full reclining seat movie theater with the latest audio visual technology will be operated by AEG’s sister company Regal Entertainment. Plans for the two additional parcels AEG has an option to buy call for future development of residential, creative and other office space, possibly a third hotel at Nashville Yards and ground-floor retail.
Tyler Jones, an executive vice president with Lincoln Property, said the real estate development and services firm and Southwest Value plan to create a live, work, play environment on the two office, retail and multifamily parcels between the planned Hyatt Regency on the former LifeWay Christian store site and Broadway and Church.
Moving north from Broadway, plans call for eight stories of 250 multifamily units atop two floors of retail, two creative office buildings totaling 500,000 to 600,000 square feet and about 100,000 square feet of food and beverage, soft goods and other retail, fully integrated via a boardwalk tying the site together and with activation of an urban park.
“Part of what we’re really looking at is the opportunity to fully integrate the site into the downtown financial district, into that Church Street corridor that really for so long this 15 acres has not been integrated with,” said Kim Hawkins, principal with landscape architect Hawkins Partners, citing plans for more pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.
Hawkins cites an opportunity to buy more than an acre and half of adjacent non-track land from railroad operator CSX for a park that could be the front yard to the Nashville Yards project. “It has an opportunity to contribute to the whole community and provide more open space whether it’s for bikeways, pedestrians or the opportunity of play,” she said.
The Hyatt Regency hotel, which Louisiana-based Dimension Development will also manage under the Hyatt flag, will include 55 suites, 65,000 square foot of group meeting space, two restaurants and a spa. A first quarter groundbreaking for that hotel would kick off work at Nashville Yards with completion of that building targeted for the spring of 2020.
“In any major Metropolitan area there’s a built-in following for Hyatt,” said Sam Friedman, CEO of hotel development and management company Dimension Development, citing Hyatt-loyal customers, group bookings and other opportunities.
Could Nashville Yards footprint expand?
Cary Mack, a managing partner with Southwest Value, said prospective grocery store tenants and other retailers have expressed interest in opening locations at Nashville Yards. “There’s a high retail demand for the overall site that we’re talking to,” he said.
Southwest Value’s $125 million acquisition of the 15-acre LifeWay campus excluded the Southern Baptist Convention’s seven-story headquarters at 901 Commerce St., which the convention just authorized that denomination’s executive committee to sell if it receives an acceptable offer. “We love Nashville and are always open to additional opportunities including that prospective transaction,” Mack said when asked about Southwest Value’s interest in that property. (Getahn Ward at email@example.com)
Image by DAVE SANDFORD/NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE/GETTY IMAGES
By CHRIS CHAMBERLAIN
“He shoots, he scores, you suck!”
“It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!”
“We’re gonna beat the hell outta of you, you, you.”
“He sucks! He sucks, too!”
Watch a Nashville Predators game and that’s what you’re going to hear. On top of tossing catfish onto the ice, the fans have another tradition they’re insanely proud of — mercilessly heckling the opposing team with a series of well-rehearsed chants like 17,000 schoolyard bullies.
It’s a staple of Preds home games at Bridgestone Arena, and if you’ve been watching the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs, you probably had to turn on closed captioning to understand what the announcer is saying. They’re so intense with their coordinated insults that they nearly broke the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd at an indoor sporting event. So, if you’ve been wondering just what the hell they’re yelling and why they do it when they do, here’s a handy guide to the screaming in Smashville.
It all started in the nosebleeds
Before Nashville even had an NHL franchise, it was a decidedly minor league hockey town, with an ECHL team known as the Knights banging heads in the much more lowbrow Municipal Auditorium before the current EnormoDome was constructed on Broadway.
A corps of hardcore Knights fans made the jump to the big leagues when the Predators entered the NHL for the 1998-99 season, and three of them chose to establish a cheering section up in the cheap seats. Named after their section number, Cellblock 303 was born, led by music manager Mark Hollingsworth, aka The Warden. To make the games more exciting, the friends worked up a series of taunts and chants, some original, others lifted from minor league and college hockey traditions, and some cribbed from European soccer hooligans. What set them apart from other NHL fans was the enthusiasm and creativity of the heckling, more akin to the rabid SEC football crowds down here. Just like the catfish throwing, a random idea — basically, “let’s get some season tickets up in the rafters and come up with funny taunts” — created a tradition.
They have specific targets
Their dedication and enthusiasm grew in popularity, and after a few years the entire arena started joining in the fun. At first, some fans were reticent about the Cellblock’s frequent use of “sucks” — this is the polite South, after all — but eventually decorum gave way to the disdain of the visiting team. Now, they start the psychological warfare before the puck is even dropped.
You might have heard it before game three of the Stanley Cup Finals, when NBC aired the Pittsburgh Penguin player introductions live. It’s the same routine every time: After an opposing player’s name is called, the crowd screams “sucks!” A special variation is saved for the opposing coach’s intro: “He sucks, too!” After six “sucks” and a “he sucks, too,” the network decided not to include that portion of the broadcast for Game 4.
The main vitriol, though, is reserved for the other team’s goalie. When he lets a puck get by him, the crowd erupts in a raucous, synchronized cry of, “He shoots! He scores! You suck!” Then the assembled Predators fans begin to repeatedly chant the goalie’s name, just to remind him of his failure.
Penguins goalie Matt Murray got it rough during the latest games at Bridgestone. After each of the seven goals he let up this series, the Predators were quick to remind that he was not playing his best: “Murrrrraaayyy. Murrrrraaayyy. Murrrrraaayyy. You suck!” For good measure, they added, “It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault! It’s all your fault!” To his credit, Murray was surprisingly even-tempered in his reaction to the ruthless chiding. “It was loud. It was really loud,” he said. “Passionate fan base, and it’s what we expected.”
They’re musically inclined, too
This is the Music City after all, so it’s no surprise that Nashville locals excel at screaming in rhythm (and sometimes, in multi-part harmony). But it’s after goals that the fans really show off their musical chops.
There’s no muting it on TV — when the Predators score, the crowd celebrates by singing along to a customized version of local hero Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It,” which then transitions into “Gold on the Ceiling” by transplanted Nashville rockers The Black Keys. Rather than use the latter tune’s lyrics, the fans sing, “Hey, you suck!… We’re gonna beat the hell outta you, you, you… ” It’s a surprisingly complex rhythm, but they’ve got it down pat.
They also chant for free food
Another refrain you might hear revolves around a promotion with local Wendy’s restaurants, where fans receive a complimentary Frosty if the Predators score four or more times. And boy do folks here scream for a free cup of frozen dairy — after a third goal, the traditional “Let’s go Predators! (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)” is replaced by “We want Frostys!” This once led to some confusion during a game against the Penguins a few years back, when a local sports writer for thought fans were taunting Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby by yelling “We want Crosby!” As one Cellblock regular said, “No one up there would chant ‘We want Crosby!’ unless it was appended with a suggestion Sid the Kid do something that is possibly pleasurable but anatomically impossible.”
You might overhear some crasser things like that on Sunday, when the series returns to Nashville for Game 6. The Preds are facing elimination, so it’s guaranteed the fans will be louder, rowdier, and madder than ever. If all goes to plan, the 17,000 people in Bridgestone and the 100,000-plus watching outside will be singing “you suck!” and “it’s all your fault!” plenty of times throughout the night, and then making plans to watch the Game 7. And hey, maybe they’ll even get a free Frosty, too.
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
The NHL just might have a new marquee franchise on their hands – the Nashville Predators.
The Predators might not win the Stanley Cup this year, but they managed to crush the Pittsburgh Penguins in both Games 3 and 4 in Nashville, outscoring them by a combined 9-2 score. While
the series is still just tied 2-2, the Predators seem to have all the momentum and everybody in the hockey world is talking about the amazing scenes in Nashville: Hockeytown, USA.
Even more impressive though might be the television ratings this series has drawn. Before the series, we discussed our belief that the Predators would do better on television than most people would expect from a non-traditional hockey market. Well, the Predators-Penguins series through its first 4 games have surpassed any and every expectation.
Monday night’s Game 4 averaged 5.7 million viewers and a 3.2 rating. To put that into perspective, according to Sports Media Watch it is the second highest Game 4 audience since 1995. Only Blackhawks-Bruins in 2013 at 6.5 million viewers recorded a higher Game 4 viewership number. Predators-Penguins is also up 28 percent from Penguins-Sharks last year and even up 44 percent from Lightning-Blackhawks in 2015 for their respective corresponding games.
Penguins-Predators through 4 games is averaging 4.2 million viewers, which is already a higher audience than last year’s Penguins-Sharks series that averaged 4.0 million. And there’s still mega audiences to come in at least Game 5 and Game 6 and maybe even in a Game 7 that will push ratings even higher and higher. Maybe the most remarkable thing about this series is that it’s doing so well without a really close game to drive numbers even further. As a series, the high-water mark of 2013’s Blackhawks-Bruins series, which averaged 5.8 million viewers, is a realistic target that’s in sight.
How to explain the success of this year’s Stanley Cup Final? A lot of it is owed to the magic that’s happening in Nashville. After all, that’s really the only variable compared to last year’s Final which featured the Pens and the Sharks. Frankly, the city’s embrace of the Stanley Cup and Predators is infectious. You can’t help but get caught up in the rabid fans, the catfish, the country music stars cheering in the stands, P.K. Subban, Pekka Rinne’s diving saves, and the party that Nashville experienced this week. Even Charles Barkley had to check it out for himself in person and attended Game 4, saying how much more exciting the Stanley Cup was than the NBA Playoffs.
How did it happen? A lot of it has to be owed to the Predators fans, who are issuing a challenge to every other fanbase around the league to step up and provide the same level of support for their team. And when the Predators score more, and the fans get into it more, it’s even harder to turn the channel because you get swept up in the excitement, even if the game’s outcome has been decided.
The Predators don’t have a ton of stars and household names outside Subban and Rinne and maybe Mike Fisher (who just so happens to be married to Carrie Underwood) but they play an exciting and fearless brand of hockey that seems to feed off their crowd. And with everything else that’s been going on in this Final, it’s easy to forget that this is a Cinderella story too with the Preds being the No. 8 seed out West. It seems like ages ago that they swept aside the Blackhawks with ease in the first round.
This is the absolute best-case scenario for the NHL. The number one way to grow the league is to cultivate more marquee stars in more markets around the country. It’s something new and it’s something special. Nashville drew a 28.0 rating for Game 4 and even Knoxville registered a 10.2 rating. And that was with tens of thousands of fans outside the arena. Those are numbers that the NHL could have only dreamed of when Music City was awarded with an expansion franchise 20 years ago. Imagine if Minnesota or Columbus could do the same thing in the next few years. Or maybe even eventually Las Vegas. It’s a dream come true for the NHL that they don’t have to just depend on the Blackhawks to drive positive ratings.
Expect to see a lot more Nashville Predators games on NBC and NBCSN next year, whether the Preds actually go on to win this series or not. (By Matt Yoder on
An abandoned concrete silo looms over The Nations neighborhood, eerie and empty. The historic Nashville landmark was nearly torn down. Instead, it’s becoming the centerpiece of the community’s redevelopment.
A 15-story painting is unfolding, revealing an elderly man who lived nearly all his life within sight of the silo, and neighbors are gathering at patio bars to watch as the process unfolds.
The artist is Australian Guido Van Helten, an internationally acclaimed muralist known for large-scale portraits that are so realistic they look like they could be oversized photographs. He uses a nearly black and white paint palette, allowing the gritty emotion of his subject to come through. And he likes to make a statement by painting local people.
For the Nations, Van Helten chose 91-year-old Lee Estes, known to friends as LD. He has called this neighborhood home since the late 1920s.
“It’s definitely a positive thing to commemorate people who have lived here for a long time,” Van Helten says. “You know, why do people want to live here? Part of the reason is it’s a good community, it’s got a history, people like that when they move to a place.”
Estes can certainly provide a history of the neighborhood. He says when he was growing up his family didn’t have indoor plumbing. They raised chickens for eggs and meat, milked their own cow, churned their own butter, and neighbors raised hogs. The only place for a boy to go was St. Luke’s Community House, where he played basketball and went to dances. The Nations was largely an industrial area. He remembers Nashville Hardwood and Flooring, Ingram Spinning Mill, and four fertilizer plants. He also remembers the silo.
It used to be Gilette grainery,” he says. “And we had another, Purina grainery, that was demolished years ago, but they left this one as a historical part of the Nations.”
He’s been watching the change – houses on either side of his have been torn down for new construction, chic restaurants are opening, and young adults are moving in, finding the area more affordable than many other parts of Nashville. People constantly knock on his door offering impressive sums to buy the modest house he built in 1952.
“Now, they’re building two houses where one property was built before, and all the older neighborhood has pretty well gone out or moved other places, very few of us are left,” Estes says. “And eventually I guess they’ll get us. Hopefully I can live my lifetime where I am.
Estes spent his working years in the purchasing department at Genesco. Now he spends his days sauntering around the neighborhood, volunteering to help other seniors in craft projects at St. Luke’s, and checking in daily at a food market formerly owned by his late brother. He’s well known in the neighborhood, but his celebrity status has now skyrocketed.
“I don’t want to be famous,” he says. “I just want to be remembered.”
While Estes has a small stature, his portrait is so tall the artist had to bring in a 155-foot crane from out of state. Estes’ granddaughter Julie Bellar has been coming from her job as a hair stylist to watch her Papa become larger than life. She describes him as a quiet, unassuming man, humble in every way. “The clothes that he’s wearing in that picture are the clothes that he’s had his entire life, I’m sure,” she says.
As for his quizzical expression in the mural, Bellar guesses her Papa is “Probably confused as to why they picked him!”
“Never in his life did he think that he would get any type of recognition like that. So, it’s amazing.” Staring up at the mural, she says, “That’s my Papa, forever.”
He can see the monumental mural from his driveway, and it makes him laugh. “I’ll just glance over and say hello!” he says.
A 91-year-old in a short-sleeve button-down and high-waisted slacks could be seen as an odd choice to represent a hip, up-and-coming neighborhood. But the image is meant to implore newcomers to respect the past. Lee Ann Merrick, who opened her Tin Wings food shop here three years ago, says there is occasional tension between long-time residents and newbies. Shared public art eases the tension and brings people together, she says.
“Right now that’s exactly what’s happening,” she says during a watch party on the patio of The Old Gas Station bar. “Everybody’s coming together. And I’m hoping that I can talk my landlord into a mural project on the side of our building.”
There will be more art to come – Councilwoman Mary Carolyn Roberts is planning an entire arts district. The centerpiece, though, will always be the towering silo. When the mural is complete, Lee Estes will be joined by two young boys from the neighborhood, the artist’s nod to the future. By AMY ESKIND
Photo By Mark Humphrey/AP Images
As a general rule of thumb in hockey, you never want the GM to pop his head into the locker room after practice and ask if he can see you for a second.
It’s the moment you always hear about, but you never think it’ll happen to you. But in February 2011, I was in my 11th season with the Senators when it happened to me. We were on a road trip in Calgary, and just as I was getting changed after practice, Bryan Murray popped into the room and said, “Hey Fish, can I see you for a second?”
I guess my heart should’ve skipped a beat because we had lost something like 11 straight, and there were rumors about me getting traded, but to be honest I had no idea what was about to happen.
I followed Bryan outside the locker room, and he said, “Well, Fish, I’ve traded ya.”
I mean, in that moment … holy cow. You know it’s always a possibility. You know it’s part of the business. But when you hear those words, it’s just complete shock. Especially in hockey, some of your teammates are like family. In the split second after he said, “I’ve traded ya,” I was thinking about having to say goodbye to guys I had spent almost every single day with for 10 years — a lot of great friends and teammates.
I don’t use the word family lightly. Chris Neil was like a brother to me. When we first got to Ottawa as young guys — kids, really — we lived together out on a farm for three years with a few other friends. You can just imagine four guys in their early 20s out on a farmhouse in Ottawa. We fought like brothers, bickered like brothers, but we also really loved one another like brothers.
Of course, when guys are traded, you say you’re going to stay in touch, and you try to text them and get together during the summer, but it’s never quite the same.
We’re so fortunate to play a game for a living, and you always know you can be moved, but it’s pretty jarring to have your entire life and your entire family change in a split second. I was pretty crushed.
I think all I could muster to Bryan in response was, “O.K.”
But then Bryan said something that changed my life completely. For the better.
“I’ve got some good news for you, though.” he said. “You’re going to Nashville.”
Oh my goodness. Talk about some life-changing words. I could have been going to 28 other cities, but I was actually going to Nashville, where I could finally be with my wife full-time.
Carrie and I had gotten married the previous July, and because she’s a country music singer, she has to be doing her thing in Nashville for most of the year. So we had been going back and forth between Ottawa and Nashville. As a newlywed couple, it wasn’t easy.
I knew I was incredibly blessed to be going to Nashville. When I was packing up my stuff to go to the airport, I got a call from Eugene Melnyk, the owner of the Senators. He thanked me for my time in Ottawa, and then he said something I will never, never forget.
He said, “You know Fish, I just wanted you to be with your wife.”
When trade talks had heated up, a few teams had been interested in me, but Eugene and Bryan agreed to make sure that my destination would be Nashville. They could have traded me anywhere, but they were genuinely looking out for me and my family. That’s what makes hockey such a special sport, even at the NHL level. Yes, it’s a business, but the amount of good human beings I’ve run across in this sport is just incredible.
Obviously, the reality set in pretty quickly. I had to hop a flight to Ottawa to grab my suits and whatever else I could pack up, then a flight to Nashville to play the next night.
I was 30 years old and walking into a new locker room in a new conference. I knew a few players, but it was funny because the first few days I was there, I kept mixing up all the young guys’ names. So for a while, everybody was Bud.
I kept mixing up all the young guys’ names. So for a while, everybody was Bud.
Over the years, I eventually found my place on the team and met a bunch of guys who became like a new family. And being in a stable situation in Nashville allowed Carrie and I to start our own family. Our son, Isaiah, was born last February. He doesn’t really understand what Daddy does yet, but if my good friend Matt Cullen’s kids are any indication, he’s going to be a huge hockey fan.
And that’s really been the coolest part about being here. The hockey culture in Nashville has grown so much in the last few years. We haven’t raised a Cup, but we’ve had some really fun runs in the playoffs. The culmination of that, to me, was the triple-OT game against the Sharks at home last May.
That’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had, and the most tired I’ve ever been, on a sheet of ice. Just for some perspective, we had beaten the Ducks in seven very physical games in the first round. Nobody had picked us to beat them. But Pekka Rinne stood on his head with 36 saves in Game 7, and we moved on.
Our reward was another West Coast series against San Jose. Any playoff series is going to be grueling, but flying 2,200 miles back and forth like that just adds another level to it. It was such an unbelievable series. They won the first two at the Shark Tank. Then we won Game 3 back home. We knew we had to even the series in Game 4 before going back out West.
That whole game was wild. It was back and forth the whole way. We’d score, then they’d tie it up. In the first OT, we hit the post, and then they had a goal waved off for goalie interference. In the second OT, Pekka made an incredible save on Tomáš Hertl to keep us alive. My emotions were all over the place.
At around 1 a.m., we came into the locker room after the second overtime, and our trainers started wheeling in all these trays of oranges and bananas and protein bars. Guys were panting, trying to catch their breath and eat at the same time before we had to go back out there. Everybody was hurting. I was cramping up and I never cramp. At times like that, you’re looking for anything to give you a shot of adrenaline to keep pushing. Sometimes it’s a guy standing up and giving a quick speech, but everyone was so tired that they were sitting
there just trying to hydrate and get ready for another grueling overtime period.
But our fans carried us. I’ll never forget it. There’s this spot at the Bridgestone Arena where the fans can stand behind a rope and give us fist-bumps as we walk down the tunnel. They’re right there, and it’s always cool. But this time, we were walking out and triple the usual number of fans were packed into that space, and they were going absolutely nuts.
I mean, nuts.
I can’t even describe the passion. You had to see their faces. It was like they were collectively willing us to get that goal. It was the adrenaline shot for us. When we got to the bench, everybody just looked at each other like, Man, we gotta do this for them.
Halfway through the overtime, I was on the ice when a shot from the point rebounded off San Jose’s goalie, and I found the puck at my feet right in front of the goal.
When I put it in the net, the whole building erupted like I’d never heard before. You would think I would’ve been on cloud nine, but it’s funny — the game was such an emotional roller coaster that all I felt when the guys were jumping on me in the corner was a sense of relief.
Sure, I know some people might be reading this and saying, Yeah, but you guys ended up losing in seven.
That’s true, and it was incredibly disappointin
g. But years from now, I’ll still remember walking out of that tunnel at one in the morning, and seeing our fans going totally crazy. It felt like hockey had reached another level in this city. People who had never seen a hockey game in their lives got invested in us during that run, and I’ll always be proud of that.
You know, it’s interesting, because this game always surprises you. You can never get too comfortable. This summer, I was laying on the couch at our house in Nashville with Carrie and Isaiah. Our whole family was sick. So, so sick. We were laying there just being miserable together, and all of a sudden my phone vibrated. It was our coach, Peter Laviolette, and when I picked up….
Once again, holy cow.
“Hey, Fish,” he said. “I wanted to let you know, we’ve traded Shea for P.K. Subban.”
I was just as shocked as the rest of the world. Shea was our captain. But more than the hockey stuff, he was always such a good guy to me. I couldn’t believe it. You know when you’re really sick, and everything seems kind of like a dream? That’s what it felt like. Next thing I know, the news was all over Twitter. It was probably the biggest hockey trade of the last 10 years, and it just so happened to touch our room.
Later on in the summer, I met with Peter, and he asked if I would take over as captain for Shea.
Of course I said yes. (You can’t really say no, right?)
I don’t think it really hit me until the drive home what it meant. This is my 17th year in the league. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be a captain. When you get traded to a new team, especially when you’re struggling like I was at the time, you never know how you’ll fit in. Now, after more than 1,000 games and 18 years in this league, I still feel grateful that I get to do what I love to do — play this great game of hockey.
Hopefully I can keep playing long enough for my son to watch me and really understand the game, and what it means for me to wear the C in Nashville. I don’t know, thoug
h. He’s only 21 months old, so I’m going to have to figure out what kind of training regimen Jagr is on.
Quick little story before I go.
I didn’t know this until later on, but a full two weeks before I was traded to Nashville, my mom and dad were talking in the kitchen one night, and like I said, we were struggling. I wasn’t having a good season, but my mom — always the voice of reason in our house — called it.
“Well,” she said. “Maybe this is the Lord’s way of having Mike traded to Nashville so he can be with Carrie.”
I know God was looking out for me that day, and sometimes he uses good people like Eugene and Bryan to carry out his plans. So I’ll just take the time now to thank all three of them for the one-way ticket.