I was back in Nashville recently to visit family and friends, and every conversation I had with a local consisted of two things: 1) How many millennials move to Music City every day (between 80 and 800, depending on how old/agitated the complaining Nashvillian is); and 2) The success of the city’s NHL team, the Predators, who are a series away from the Stanley Cup Finals.
My buddy Joe Thompson—you remember him—is trying to capitalize on both topics. Joe and his younger brother Will launched McEwen Classics, a fledgling southern T-shirt brand that kicked off things in late April with a handful of hockey-related designs. It’s a good strategy, as I’ve found that nobody loves tri-blend tees or bandwagon-jumping quite like Generation Y.
Of course, these new Nashville fans aren’t alone. I worked in Nashville sports media from 2001-06, so I speak with authority when I say that the Preds hysteria currently engulfing the city was not there when the franchise first reached the playoffs in 2004. I traveled on the team charter back then—how’s that for throwback journalism?—and there might have been a dozen fans to greet Jordin Tootoo and the boys at the airport when returning from Detroit. It looked nothing like this.
But who am I to judge? Up until three weeks ago, I hadn’t seen a single second of hockey this season, and yet I just spent a weekend night in L.A. wearing McEwen, drinking 13 beers and yelling my head off for the Preds with Joe and another SoCal Nashville transplant. Embrace the bandwagon, Hockey Town.