They were the hottest tickets in Nashville Predators history: The 2017 Stanley Cup Final, against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the first time the franchise had ever played for the NHL’s Holy Grail.
For a seat inside Bridgestone Arena, the prices on the secondary market were extraordinary: Game 3, for example, had a cheapest-priced ticket of around $1,100. It was actually cheaper for a Predators fan to fly to Pittsburgh, book a hotel and scalp a ticket for Game 2.
So Predators fans did whatever they could to gain entrance to these historic games, from calling in favors to participating in a random contests to win free Stanley Cup Final tickets.
Andrew Fudge of Clarksville, Tenn., was one of the lucky ones. He won tickets to Game 6 through a social contest sponsored by the team.
One small problem: He didn’t realize he won the contest until five weeks after the Stanley Cup Final ended.
— Andrew Fudge (@lilfudge07) July 17, 2017
The Predators’ note of congratulations and instructions on how to pick up his tickets lingered in his Twitter direct message inbox until Fudge discovered it on Monday morning.
“I died inside,” he said.
Fudge has been a Predators fan since the expansion team was born, and became a die hard one over the last 10 years. But he only way he was going to brave the “ridiculous crowds” that had assembled around Bridgestone Arena for playoff games was if he could actually attend the games, which wasn’t really economically feasible.
“There was no chance in hell I was going to be able to pay to go to a game,” he said.
So Fudge decided to enter a contest presented by the Predators, tweeting a photo of himself from a Twice Daily gas station. He tried it for Game 4, and then again for Game 6 “as a Hail Mary,” he said.
(This helped break the fan voodoo Fudge had established throughout the Predators’ playoff run, in which he said they were 12-0 when he didn’t wear any Nashville swag.)
Fudge admittedly isn’t the most active user on Twitter, with 1,723 tweets since Feb. 2009. So he entered the Predators contest, and never logged back on to see that the Predators had slid into his DMs with Stanley Cup Final tickets. He watched Game 6 inside his house.
He said he wasn’t sure why he decided to hop on Twitter on the morning of July 17, but he did. And then he checked his messages.
“I thought it was some spam junk saying I won something,” he said, “and then I realized what it was.”
How did it feel to see he had won Stanley Cup Final tickets to a game that was completed five weeks ago?
“It’s gut wrenching,” he said.
(The ironic twist, of course, is that Fudge missed the Predators being eliminated and the Penguins hoisting the Stanley Cup on Nashville ice. If Fudge had decided to splurge on Stanley Cup Final tickets, he said he would have considered it for a Cup-clinching scenario for the Predators. Instead, he missed out on free tickets to see them lose the Cup on home ice.)
His screenshot of the Predators’ DM went viral, the unfortunate reality of an epic personal fail in the social media age. But Fudge is hoping that, perhaps, some good comes from it – maybe even some tickets from the Predators.
“I’m hoping maybe there could be something. I have a wife that’s pissed at me and a 2-year-old son and a 7-month-old daughter who will hold it over my head forever when they realize what happened,” he said. “But if not, I accept my misfortune and the fact that I dropped the ball … big time.”
Hopefully if the Predators make another Stanley Cup run, Fudge will try his luck again – and turn on his DM notifications.
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