NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Moments after the Nashville Predators discovered Bridgestone Arena had flooded due to a broken water line last week, team leaders feared the worst: no hockey in Smashville for months.
Thankfully, with lots of hard work, the building officially reopens Tuesday night for a home game against the Anaheim Ducks. Still, a lot of damage remains.
"Water and electricity, doesn’t mix," said Jacob Lutz, director of Technical Operations for the Nashville Predators.
The team is unfortunately learning that lesson the hard way. In the locker room level of Bridgestone Arena, spaces like the Video Control Room that play out all the video elements in the venue may be a total loss.
"In the room, it all came down from the ceiling, there’s still some in the wall," said Lutz. "You look at our consoles over here, there’s already rust starting to form."
Thankfully, a backup plan is already parked in their underground garage. A local video production company brought over a mobile production truck for the team to use for the next several months.
"Bringing in their truck for us to help us out through these games and the immediate future, was great. It’s not the control room we’re used to but we’re able to make a great show out of it," said Lutz.
That's been a theme of the last few days for the Preds, when a 10-inch water pipe ruptured, turning the hockey venue into more of a water park.
"Millions of gallons of water cascaded throughout the concourse, the whole thing, through the box office, down aisles, down through the electrical rooms," said Sean Henry, president and CEO of the Nashville Predators.
Not that they had time for finger-pointing, but the director of Metro Water Services says, if anyone's to blame, it may be Mother Nature.
"When you have temperature inversions, or droughts, ground shifts, it can cause breaks like this," said Scott Potter of Metro Water Services.
But after the first wave of water has come to the second wave of help.
"You looked around and didn’t know everyone in the building, it was a pretty cool thing," said Henry.
Dozens of portable HVAC units have been working to dry the place out as engineers go through the tedious process of evaluating what still works.
"Every inch of cablings going to have to be checked, every inch of calbings going to have to be cleaned, every inch of cabling is going to have to be re-terminated," said Lutz. "It’s a long process. That’s three to six months in itself."
Fans attending the next few games on the schedule should be advised, not every elevator is going to be operational. However, team representatives say there will be at least one operational elevator in every corner of the building.
And sure, there are still plenty of scuffs on the wall and electronics down for the count, but considering the mixture of water and electricity could have kept this arena closed for months, the Predators hope the little details won't matter one bit when the players retake the ice.
"They all say — wow, where was the flood? And we’re looking at each other — well, it’s where you’re standing," said Henry.
Even though Bridgestone Arena can host events again, all of the repairs needed may take up to six months to complete. Sean Henry confirms all of the costs will be covered under their insurance policy.