NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Most Predators fans know him as Big Ben. He’s the rambunctious guy who paints his belly for big games and gets the crowd excited while “Sexy and I Know It” blares from inside the Bridgestone Arena.
Many have wondered why Ben has not made it to many games this season or during the team’s extended playoff run. There’s a reason for that, and it’s not a good one.
Big Ben, whose real name is Ben Butzbach, sustained a concussion several months ago while raising money for local fire departments and has become sensitive to light and sound. It’s a problem that has kept him out of work for months.
He posted online that he has dipped as much into his savings as possible to cover for his family, but the time has come to sell off some of the Nashville Predators memorabilia that he’s collected over the years.
He posted autographed sticks, pucks, photos and other items online. The extra cash was helping, but some Preds fans knew there was more they could do.
Enter Paul McCann, the Predators public address announcer and a close friend of Big Ben’s.
McCann started a GoFundMe for the die hard fan, calling it “Let’s Give Back to Big Ben.”
“Pred Nation has always taken care of its own,” McCann wrote on the page. “One of the people we can always count on to pitch in, help and support the people who keep us safe, like the fire, police and military personnel now needs our help.”
McCann said it is important to get Ben back to 100 percent so he can continue his hard work raising money for others.
Ben, surprised by the fundraiser, posted on Facebook that he was overwhelmed.
“I have no words Smashville,” he wrote. “All I can say is thank you to everyone who has reached out in support. I’m blown away. I never meant for all this; just tried to clear up why I’ve been gone and also had to take the steps I was taking. No words. Just thank you.”
To donate to Big Ben, click here.