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Photo Courtesy of @SmashvilleProud on Twitter.

For almost 20 years, the Nashville Predators have been a part of the National Hockey League and, over the course of that span, the franchise has developed some pretty interesting traditions.  From tossing catfish, a local culinary staple, onto the ice, to specialized crowd chants, this “non-traditional” hockey market is certainly earning its stripes as one of the most fun places to watch a game.  But there’s one tradition that doesn’t happen until the postseason and it has quickly become a crowd favorite.

Located outside of Bridgestone Arena, the “Smash Car” is an old lemon painted in the opposing team’s colors and, much like at your high school’s homecoming football game, fans are encouraged, for a slight fee, to take a sledgehammer to the vehicle – a euphemism for what they hope their hockey team does on the ice.  The best part of this tradition is the fact that all of the money raised will go to the Predators Foundation, a charity devoted to focusing on the needs of the local Nashville community.  So, not only do you get to take your anger out on the opposition, but you’re helping the local community as well!

Started in 2010 with the arrival of Sean Henry as CEO, it wasn’t until last season, when the Predators swept the rival Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, that it earned its spot as a staple.

Well, with the Predators set to take on the Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference Semifinals this week, the team decided to think outside of the box this time around and rather than destroy an automobile as per usual, why not an actual jet – well, a prop plane if you really want to get technical about it.  Given that the Jets finished just three points behind the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Predators, there’s no doubt this series has the making of something really special and Nashville wants all momentum the momentum it can get.  It’ll be the first time in roughly 10 years that fans will smash a vehicle without four wheels.

According to Rebecca King, the Predator’s senior director of community relations, the plane has not flown in five years and was sitting on a nearby airport runway for almost double that amount of time.  Before Friday night’s Game 1, the plane will get the graffiti treatment to better prepare it for the ensuing smackdown.  Black also said that last year the “Smash Cars” raised more than $20,000 for the team’s pediatric cancer fund.  Some might still scoff at hockey in Nashville, but the Predators really have a good thing going – and could very well be on the way to the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup Championship.