The Nashville Predators host their first ever outdoor game at Nissan Stadium today, taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL’s Stadium Series.

After weeks of preparation, the hockey event Nashville was born to host is finally here. And things are almost ready to go, with the NHL’s construction crew busy all week building out an ice rink in the middle of a football field:

If you are planning on attending this historic moment, here e are some last minute, things you need to know before heading out the door.

1. It’s going to be cold

Yesterday at practice, it was pretty damn cold outside. Temperatures are going to be slightly warmer today, but still very cold.

At game time, temperatures are supposed to be right at 40 degrees. If you are used to the relatively toasty 55-60 degrees inside Bridgestone Arena for Preds games, you are going to be in for a shock. Throw on an extra layer or two.

There won’t be much of a wind, but a scarf wouldn’t hurt.

2. Gates open at 4:30, game starts at 6:30

The NHL put out a helpful infographic yesterday, which you should probably take a look at, but included are the times for everything.

Pre-game coverage begins at 1 p.m., gates open at 4:30 p.m., and the game starts at 6:30 p.m.

And while we are on the subject of time…

3. Leave early. Traffic will suck.

It’s going to be bad, folks!

Traffic for the Pekka Rinne jersey retirement game on Thursday was rough, and that was only for a max capacity crowd at Bridgestone Arena. The Titans stadium holds 68,000+ and there will be plenty of people downtown without tickets, just there for the experience.

Add in the usual insane lower Broadway night scene on a Saturday night and you have the makings of an all-time traffic bonanza.

So, for real, leave early. Like… right now. Finish reading this article and then head downtown.

4. Parking will also suck.

There are plenty of parking lots to choose from in downtown Nashville, it just depends on how much you want to pay.

Nissan Stadium parking is sold out. Your only option will be parking lots on the other side of I-24, east of the stadium (if you are a Titans season ticket holder, you are probably familiar with this area) or on the other side of the river, in downtown.

Most lots have e-pay options (where you just scan a QR code and payment is automatic when you leave later that evening) but there are plenty of cash pay lots that may be cheaper. Get ready to be gouged. Also get ready to walk a fair distance.

5. Bag policy

The NHL strongly encourages fans not to bring any bags. However, they are technically allowed. Here are the requirements:

  • Clear bags only
  • 12″ X 12″ X 6″ or smaller
  • Non-transparent wallets/handbags must be smaller than 4.5″ X 6.5″

I believe these requirements are similar to the Nissan Stadium requirements for Tennessee Titans games.

6. Masks “strongly encouraged”, not required

Here’s one you might be most curious about: masks.

The NHL’s official stance is that masks are strongly encouraged, but not required. There are also no vaccine or negative test requirements for entry.

I think it’s safe to assume that there will be very few people wearing masks at this game. Keep that in mind if you plan on attending. If COVID-19 is still a worry for you, and you will have anxiety about being around many thousands of people not wearing masks, maybe reconsider.

7. Yes, it may be difficult to see the puck

Bridgestone Arena (and all other NHL arenas) are built with the specific intention of hosting hockey games. Sight lines and seat elevation are appropriate for seeing all the action at an NHL game.

But obviously Nissan Stadium was built for football games.

A hockey rink is only 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. When placed the middle of a 120 yard football field, it can seem quite small.

It’s just a fact that you might not be able to see the puck during the game, due to the walls, the angle of your seat, and the distance from the action. You’ll be able to see the players and the general action of play, but following along might be difficult if you are trying to keep up with the puck the whole time.

This may sound strange, but you don’t need to be able to see the puck during every moment of the game in order to enjoy it. The action is fast and physical and constant. You’ll see big hits and fast skating and probably a goal or two.

Also, the scoreboard at Nissan Stadium will be showing the broadcast of the game, which should help.