Over the past few months the hockey world had been focused on the playoffs and in particular, the surprising atmosphere in Nashville. From catfish to catcalling goalies, they seem to be a real buzzing crowd something the MTS Centre… erm… Bell MTS Place has been missing these past couple of years.
Thanks to a group called Cellblock 303, Bridgestone Arena has turned into a taunting monster that took the playoffs by surprise. If anyone claims Nashville isn’t a hockey town, they were living under a rock during these playoffs. Just listen to the crowd during Game 4 versus Chicago.
That’s fun and something every fan loves to hear, not to mention, it’s creative. It’s something that the Jets crowd used to have.
The chants were simple to do, but still were creative enough that they would stick with you. The past two years though, we haven’t been graced with anything as legendary as “Parros Mustache” or as witty as “Silver Medal”. It could be argued that it’s hard to cheer for a team when they’re bad, but Nashville has been doing chants like this since before they’ve had a professional hockey team.
Cellblock 303 grew out of a group of fans that watched hockey when Nashville had a minor-pro AA hockey team and the chants they use are typical ones that are used in college and minor league hockey in the United States. It made sense that it carried over when Nashville got a proper NHL team. They were something that kept the crowd into the games, even when the team wasn’t the greatest. It’s exactly what the Jets fanbase could use right now especially with such a young and exciting team.
The big question is, how do you get an atmosphere like that without having a mascot banging on a drum? Well the Senators tried to manufacture it by creating a fan section and it didn’t really work. Something like this has to be fan driven and organic. It has to come from a group of crazy people screaming something great and creative from the top of the arena that carries down. It also has to be easy for everyone to remember and be impactful. When I was at a game last season against Nashville, a group of people tried to start a chant of “Weber’s Better” which is hilarious. I sort of heard it across the arena but it lost out to simply booing Subban, which is kind of lame. If you compare it to something that I hear at every Gopher game I go to, it really pales in comparison.
This is one of the few chants Nashville doesn’t currently use and it’s my personal favourite as well. Of course, it could have also been used against us recently, but that doesn’t take away from how great it is. As you can see, there’s a group coordinated and ready to go with the chant. We need a group ready to do this. This is something that could be organized on social media with ease before a game and then between periods shouted in the concourse. Another idea is to just print the chant out and put it on the seats in a section and have the section start it up. Once one section gets going, the rest of the arena would likely chime in. It’s not hard to join in on some group mentality when it comes to a chant. Those simple chants could come back and the atmosphere could make a return, or at least start to make a return.
Of course, a simple reason the chants went away in the first place is that the team started to suck and it’s hard to cheer when the product on the ice is bad. My answer to that is to cheer out of spite alone and to piss off the other teams. It’s the least we can do as a fanbase.