Predators to Honor MTSU Veterans During March 19 True Blue Night, Military Salute

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With the full support of Middle Tennessee State University mascot Lightning, right, and others, then-MTSU ROTC cadet Chris Boykin expresses satisfaction from completing an elliptical machine promotional activity during the Nashville Predators’ game that featured MTSU Night/Military Appreciation in March 2023. MTSU students, alumni, veterans and fans return to Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, for special events connected to the Predators’ NHL game against the visiting San Jose Sharks. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, Boykin was assigned to perform engineering work with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Ky. (MTSU file photo by James Cessna)
With the full support of Middle Tennessee State University mascot Lightning, right, and others, then-MTSU ROTC cadet Chris Boykin expresses satisfaction from completing an elliptical machine promotional activity during the Nashville Predators’ game that featured MTSU Night/Military Appreciation in March 2023. MTSU students, alumni, veterans and fans return to Bridgestone Arena at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, for special events connected to the Predators’ NHL game against the visiting San Jose Sharks. Commissioned as a second lieutenant, Boykin was assigned to perform engineering work with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Ky. (MTSU file photo by James Cessna)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s a special night coming up in Bridgestone Arena as the Nashville Predators recognize Middle Tennessee State University students, alumni and veterans for their service.

The annual Preds True Blue Night and Military Salute takes place Tuesday, March 19, with a variety of MTSU-specific activities surrounding the 7 p.m. NHL game between the recently hot Predators and visiting San Jose Sharks.

Tickets remain available, with a special limited edition MTSU-Preds ball cap as part of the online offer.

Some of the activities include:

• New Blue Raiders football coach Derek Mason will serve as a fan captain before the start of the game, continuing a whirlwind tour across the region since his hiring in early December.

• Distinguished graduate and retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William “Bill” Phillips will be featured as the game night “Mayor of Smashville” before the start of the second period.

• National Alumni Board President Debbie Hickerson plans to ride in a Zamboni, the slow-moving machine that resurfaces the ice before the game and during intermission periods.

• Bill Lickman, an MTSU senior and U.S. Air Force veteran, will be recognized as part of the Military Salute during the game. He is a survivor of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

• The MTSU Military Science Department’s ROTC Color Guard will present colors at the start of the game.

• MTSU mascot Lightning will pal around with Gnash, the Predators’ popular counterpart, and pose for photos.

Huber, who served 38 years in the military, said he believes “there exists a very significant military affinity with the sport of hockey.”

“It is a small team within a totally exposed environment, achieving success only with the combined application of speed, precision and moments of controlled aggression,”

Huber added “The Preds demonstrate the ultimate teamwork.

“Our military community and their families truly appreciate the recognition of their selfless service and the respect for their sacrifices.”

MTSU works with Jason Oxford, an alumnus and Predators’ director of corporate development, to make the evening a success and fun for fans.

The game marks the first of three Ford Military Salute Week games for the Predators. They host the Detroit Red Wings Saturday, March 23, and the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday, March 26.

The General’s Fund

Four years ago, the Predators and MTSU announced the creation of The General’s Fund, in honor of Huber, to support military-connected students who struggle financially to reach higher education and career goals and other financial needs.

MTSU and the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center are home to about 1,100 student-veterans and family members. The Daniels Center is the largest and most comprehensive veterans center on any Tennessee higher education campus. It is named for the late Charlie Daniels, a country music legend and staunch veterans’ supporter.

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