When the Predators arrived in Nashville in 1998, there was no high school hockey league and less than eight teams statewide. Currently, more than 30 high school teams from the Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville areas compete in independent league play from October to February for seeding placement into the Preds Cup State Tournament. The top eight teams qualify to compete in the Preds Cup Tournament – which serves as a platform to highlight the top Tennessee high school hockey teams, as well as community outreach initiative supported by the Predators.
2009 Preds Cup Tournament Participants: Knoxville area high schools - Metro Pirates; Warriors Memphis area high schools – North Mississippi Monarchs; Germantown Red Devils Nashville area high schools - Father Ryan Irish Hockey; Hendersonville Commandos; Pope John Paul II Knights; Centennial Cougars
The eight Preds Cup teams took to the ice this past weekend for the Preds Cup Preliminary Series at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin. After this weekend’s games, three Nashville-area high school teams and one Knoxville-area team advanced to the Championship Series, to be held March 6-7, 2009 at A-Game Sportsplex in Franklin. The semi-finals will begin March 6, with the Championship game played Saturday, March 7 at 11:25 a.m.
Two-time defending champion Pope John Paul II won the Blue Division with a 3-0 record, outscoring opponents 22-2 in the process. Knoxville area's Warriors team finished second in the group with a 2-1 record, including an 8-3 win over Germantown on Sunday to secure the spot in the semifinals.
In the Gold Division, Father Ryan, the Nashville area's regular season champion, took top honors with a 3-0 record, besting opponents by a combined 14-2 score. Hendersonville grabbed the other semifinal spot with a 2-1 record, inclduing a 6-3 win over the Knoxville Metro Pirates on Sunday.
The Blue Division #1, Pope John Paul II Knights, will play the Gold Division #2, Hendersonville Commandos, on Friday, March 6 at 6:40 p.m. The Gold Division #1, Father Ryan, will play the Blue Division #2, The Warriors from Knoxville, on Friday, March 6 at 8:10 p.m. The winners from each game will advance to the Championship game on Saturday, March 7 played at A-Game Sportsplex.
The Nashville Predators established the Preds Cup during the 1999-00 season as part of the team’s mission to increase the visibility of hockey on the amateur level in Tennessee. Since then, five teams from Middle Tennessee, three teams from Memphis and one team from Knoxville have won the Cup. In 2008, the Preds Cup had its first back-to-back Champion, the Pope John Paul II Knights.