In 1997 the NHL awarded expansion franchises to 4 cities. Among them, Nashville, TN a city with a sporadic history in pro hockey. Craig Leipold, a multi-millionaire telefirm developer from Wisconsin was the teams first owner & a self professed hockey fan.
Nashville began play in 1998-99, the only team of the "90s Four" to do so. The NHL insisted this was part of a complex plan to phase in the teams. In reality Nashville hit the ice first for purely practical reasons - their arena was built & ready to go.
Nashville is a rarity in that they developed their logo before choosing a name. The choice of sabre tooth tiger stems from a surprise find during construction of Nashvilles UBS Tower in 1971 when crews unearthed the skull of a Smilodon. It became one of the NHLs most dynamic logos, packing a 1-2 punch of fierceness & intensity. It's only failing is the blue arch between the ear & eye which one fan said reminded them of a sideburn. The team also gets marks for not wedging a guitar or cowboy hat into the brand. "Fury" & "Ice Tigers" were among several potential names to accompany the new logo. Thankfully they selected "Predators" & the rest as they say is history. #hockeylogosorg #hockeylogo #hockeylogoconcepts #sportslogos #sportsbranding #nhl #nashville #nashvillepredators #preds