The Nashville Predators are ready to give back to their community after powerful tornadoes swept through the city last week, claiming over two dozen lives and leaving devastation throughout the area. The team has unveiled an immediate course of action as Nashville recovers from the disaster, including several fundraising efforts during home games and other events at Bridgestone Arena.
“In the days following this week’s shocking events, it has been heartbreaking to witness the devastation and tragic loss of life caused by the tornadoes across Middle Tennessee,” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said in a statement issued March 5. “As Nashville and the surounding areas begin to rebuild, it will take time to heal the physical and emotional wounds left by this natural disaster, but I trust that our resilient and passionate community will come away from this experience strong than ever before. No matter the situation, our dedicated fans, partners and neighbors never fail to come together in support of those in need, so we look forward to working together to lift Nashville up from this tragedy.”
The Predators organization closed its office doors March 9 for employees to help out the community and assist in rebuilding efforts. Additionally, players hit the ground around Nashville to see the devastation first-hand and donate supplies.
“It was nice to get out and make some donations and give some time,” Predators forward Matt Duchene said. “It was amazing to see this community come together. Obviously there’s still a lot to go, but the way that this community has come together is impressive. It makes me very proud to be a resident here.”
Fundraising efforts began immediately after the tornadoes hit and will continue in the weeks to come. The Minnesota Wild – who were the first to face off against the Predators after the storms blew through – and its owners Craig and Helen Leipold donated $50,000 to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which the NHL agreed to match. The Nashville Predators Alumni Association, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues were among others in the hockey community to also contribute.
Additionally, the Predators Foundation held a silent auction and is selling Nashville Strong merchandise which will see a portion of proceeds go directly to the community, as will proceeds from the March 17 Preds & Threads Fashion Show. Hockey fans aren’t the only ones with an opportunity to help, as all upcoming Bridgestone Arena events will be selling $1 buttons to benefit the community.
“Along with the donation that the Nashville Predators will make, we hope that these efforts will go a long way in rebuilding our community,” says the organization.