Move over mascots, there is a new trend in hockey towns across the USA.
“Puppies are taking the NHL by storm and our fans are all over us, [asking] ‘Where is the Preds’ puppy?'” said Nashville Predators President Sean Henry.
There are a handful of NHL teams gushing about their new, snuggly staff additions, and the Predators weren’t going to be left out — introducing Lord Banner of Smashville or “Smash” to fans in February.
Predators Senior Manager of Community Relations Kristen Finch is the pups’ proud owner.
“it’s insane people love him!” Finch said. “Puppies you can just gravitate to.”
“When you see a puppy, you smile and that’s what we’re about,” Henry added/ “We want people to walk into this building and have fun!”
But there is a bigger reason for bringing in this furry free agent. Smash is special — he’s a rescue dog.
“This is bringing attention to adoptions for dogs,” Henry said. “Everyone asks, ‘What type of breed is he? It’s a rescue dog — the best kind.”
“There are so many dogs out there that need loving homes, and so we do everything we can to help out with the Humane Society and Metro Animal Care,” Finch added.
Pet adoption is an important topic here in Music City, and Smash isn’t the only spokesperson for the team. Defenseman Yannick Weber is also getting involved.
He created a program called Weber’s Woofpack. It’s simple — you get to sign up and get a bag of goodies, and all the money goes back to Nashville Humane Society.
“It’s been great,” Weber said. “It’s the first thing the Preds did for animals that got players involved. Doing stuff for animals — it was a need we were able to fulfill.”
Let’s just face it, having Smash promote adoption with the Predators is a win-win situation.
“Anytime we can [do to] shed a light on things, we do,” Henry said. “And he’s a better spokesperson than us!”