The owners of the Nashville Predators have so far soldiered through the NHL lockout without asking the city for leeway under their contract. Federal mediators are now trying to resolve the dispute between hockey players and owners, which has dragged on almost three months.
Some Predators fans have given up hope and dumped their season tickets for a refund. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean says owners have not come crying to him.
“No, there has not been any request from the Predators ownership or management that I’m aware of. This office and the city – obviously we talk to them periodically.”
Dean says he gets updates about the negotiations as part of a group of mayors from cities with NHL teams. Dean wishes federal mediators were involved sooner to hash out a deal, saying lots of jobs near the city-owned arena depend on hockey.
Dean also answered criticism over the city’s slow progress on a new baseball park, saying any proposal has to make sense for the city, and for taxpayers.
Dean concedes not much has been happening on a new home for the minor-league Nashville Sounds. He playfully compares the situation to the TV drama ‘Nashville,’ which has a subplot involving a new ball field.
“Somebody said here’s a line for you: There’s been more progress about the ballpark on the show ‘Nashville’ than in the city itself.”
A year ago consultants offered a shortlist for potential new locations to replace the Sounds’ aging Greer Stadium. Dean sees long-term interests for a new ballpark downtown for both the team and the city. A baseball fan himself, Dean says minor-league ball is cheap and family friendly – but it’s also a business where the private sector should take the lead.