The Nashville Predators are teaming up with Delta Dental of Tennessee in 2007 to introduce youth across the state to the sport of hockey. The Predators announced today that Delta Dental will be the presenting sponsor of the team's youth hockey programs. The dental benefits administrator will also serve as the title sponsor of the Predators' Delta Dental Kid's Club.
Although some may be surprised to see a dental health company getting involved in the physical sport of hockey, the staff at Delta Dental sees their new partnership with the Predators as a natural fit.
"We are excited to team with the Nashville Predators," said Dr. Phil Wenk, president and CEO, Delta Dental of Tennessee. "The players serve as role models to the children in Tennessee, as well as aspiring young hockey players, and this is a great opportunity to begin showing youth the importance of taking care of your teeth both on and off the ice."
Delta Dental wants to expand the opportunities available to Tennessee children and teenagers to learn the fundamentals of hockey directly from the pros at Nashville's NHL team. The Predators youth hockey programs to be presented by Delta Dental include:
- The Nashville Predators Hockey School: The Predators' annual hockey school which takes place each July at Centennial Sportsplex. The week-long camp is open to boys and girls, ages 6-16, and features more than two hours of ice time per day, intensive dryland conditioning, video analysis and "chalk talk" sessions. There are also daily discussions and team-building exercises focused on hockey fundamentals, nutrition, injury prevention and equipment maintenance. The Predators coaching staff and hockey operations department are among the instructors.
- Get Out and Learn! (GOAL!): Introduced this past fall, the Get Out and Learn! program introduces the game of hockey to the next generation of Predators and fans without the financial commitment typically associated with the sport. The free introductory program is designed for kids age nine and under with no prior hockey experience. GOAL! takes place at either Centennial Sportsplex (Nashville) and Southern Ice Arena (Franklin, Tenn.). The Predators provide all necessary equipment, ice time and instruction for participants.
- Hockey Clinics: Predators players and coaches act as instructors for a number of on-ice clinics for youth hockey players throughout the year.
The top high school hockey teams in Tennessee compete each spring in a tournament for the state's high school hockey championship and the Predators Cup, and Delta Dental will also be involved with this initiative. The championship game (and Predators Cup presentation) takes place in March on the ice at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, providing the players with an NHL experience including a ceremonial face-off, public address announcer, off-ice officials, scoreboard, music operators and locker room accommodations.
"Delta Dental has been a great supporter of youth sports and other activities that help children and teenagers grow up strong and healthy. That makes them an ideal sponsor for our youth hockey programs," said Gerry Helper, the Predators senior vice president of communications and development.
Parents can sign up their children for any of these Predators youth hockey programs, including the Delta Dental Kid's Club, at nashvillepredators.com. By signing up for the Delta Dental Kid's Club, your child will receive a welcome kit from Predators mascot GNASH which includes a T-shirt, duffle bag and key chain along with other Predators items. Club members also receive a membership card, coupons for Predators merchandise, discounts on GNASH birthday appearances, and invitations to special events such as a private Nashville Predators practice and autograph session. There are also monthly prize drawings and an online newsletter for club members.
Delta Dental of Tennessee, with its affiliates in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, is a member of Renaissance Health Service Corporation, a family of companies that combined is one of the largest dental plan administrators in the nation. The enterprise in 2006 paid out more than $1.7 billion for dental care for more than 6.2 million enrollees. Offices are located in Okemos, Farmington Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis, Tennessee. For more information on Delta Dental of Tennessee, please visit www.DeltaDentalTn.com.