Bridgestone Arena employees cheer on Predators from their posts

Editor’s note: During the 2017 Chips Quinn orientation and multimedia training in Nashville, Tenn., scholars were required to complete a mobile media reporting module, which included producing videos and reporting and writing stories. Their work is displayed here.

by Jackeline Luna

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—It was game day, and longtime Predators fan and Bridgestone Arena greeter Deborah Glenn-Powers, 77, was decked out in full uniform—studded navy blue cowboy boots, an oversized autographed Predators jersey, pom-poms and a monkey on her shoulder.

“Uh-huh, my honey,” Glenn-Powers, better known around town as “G-Ma Deb-Deb,” sang to the stuffed animal before saying that hard work, not luck, had gotten the city’s hockey team this far.

Deborah “G-MA Deb-Deb” Glenn-Powers, 77, prepares to meet other fans of the Nashville Predators in her role as a greeter at the city’s Bridgestone Arena during the 2017 Stanley Cup season. (Photo by Jackeline Luna)

After defeating the St. Louis Blues, the Predators made history by advancing to the National Hockey League’s Western Conference Final of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in May. The Predators were tied with the Anaheim Ducks, 1-1, as they prepared for game three of the best-of-seven series.

Support for the team was amply displayed on downtown buildings with large banners and by masses of people wearing bright yellow jerseys. But it was hard to tell who was more excited about the first home game, the crowds or the arena’s employees.

While talking to a couple from Quebec City, Matthew Dunavant, who runs the Pro Store tent in front of the arena’s main entrance, was overcome with excitement as he talked about P.K. Subban, a defensemen whose jersey number is 76. Within minutes, the couple admitted that the day the Montreal Canadiens traded Subban to the Predators was the day they became fans of the Nashville team.

Matthew Dunavant, a vendor selling hockey memorabilia near Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., talks to a couple from Quebec City in advance of a Predators game in May. (Photo by Jackeline Luna)

Dunavant said the dramatic increase in demand for Predators gear caused the official team store to extend its hours and set up his tent. A longtime fan of the Predators, he enjoys talking to hockey fans from other cities.

“I welcome people,” Dunavant said, referring to new fans. “If we win this, we’re the best team in the west, and the bigger the fan base, the better.”

He and Glenn-Powers won’t have the chance to see the game from inside the arena, but they will be watching the screens and cheering on the team.

Glenn-Powers had one thing to say to the Ducks: “The monkey on my shoulder just wants ya’ll to not monkey around with the Predators.”

Dunavant added, without a hint of sarcasm, that the city would show the Ducks some real Southern hospitality.

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