Experience has taught Taylor Thompson to stay ready.
“It’s the playoffs so we’re on catfish alert,” she said.
A business manager in the music industry by day, the 28-year-old Thompson is a fourth-year member of the Ice Girls, the crew that sweeps the ice at Nashville Predators games during timeouts and helps entertain the crowd between periods.
These days she has one other duty as well: catfish cleanup.
A bottom feeder in ponds and rivers throughout the world, the catfish has become a revered symbol of the local hockey team’s attempts to get to the top the heap — the Stanley Cup finals. Occasionally during home games one of the whiskered swimmers will be tossed to the ice — typically just before a facoff — and it’s up to Thompson or one of the others in her crew to fetch it so that play might resume.
“I think it’s awesome,” the self-described ‘girly girl’ said. “It’s disgusting and it’s exciting.”
Detroit has its octopus. Florida has rats.
Nashville revels in its catfish, which Thompson says are not particularly slimy (perhaps because they don’t have scales) and don’t leave her hands smelly afterward.
“I think that the farther we go, the crazier we get,” Thompson said. “If we get to the Stanley Cup finals, I don’t even know how many of them we’ll have on the ice.”