NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — It's the day many hockey fans have been waiting for. The Preds opened their season to a full house.
The Nashville Predators hosted the Seattle Kraken Thursday night for the season opener at Bridgestone Arena.
"It’s going to be the first time with a full house, and I'm psyched and I'm ready to go with 17,500 strong inside; it’s going to be a blast," said one fan.
It's been a long time since hockey fans in Nashville had this much excitement.
"It’s great, it’s been about a year and a half. We're season ticket holders; we've been season ticket holders for years and I got five seats so now we finally get to use them," another fan said.
Bridgestone Arena welcomed more than 17,000 people inside to cheer on the Predators for the home opener.
"Last year, we waved it all, we never went to a game but we're ready to go this year, we're looking forward to it," the second fan said.
The arena requires everyone to be fully vaccinated or show a negative COVID test that was taken within 72 hours — this policy will stay in place for all Preds games this year.
"Now that we got a home, we got everybody home, got 17,000 of my closest friends, family and neighbors all hanging out getting wild and rowdy; it’s going to be an atmosphere like none other. I know we've all been waiting for this ever since the break," the first fan said.
Some fans flew in all the way from Seattle.
"I think we're just really excited to be here to get to experience this together," said Diana Estrada.
Despite cheering for the other team, Thursday night was all about fun and games.
"I'm a little disappointed but I'm happy that they get to experience Smashville because no Kracken game is going to be it," said Sarah Musselwhite.
This year, fans also experienced new vendors, branding, lighting and signage, plus an upgraded goal horn.