During a ceremony held prior to the Nashville Predators' February 2 home game against the Colorado Avalanche, the Predators organization announced that Jeremy Sledge and Steve Golio had been named Youth Hockey Player of the Month and Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month, respectively, for February. Sledge and Golio were presented with a plaque recognizing their efforts on behalf of the Nashville Predators during the pregame ceremony. The two were nominated and selected as part of a program created by the Predators this season to regularly recognize a player and volunteer in the Nashville area who demonstrate character skills that make youth hockey a better experience for all involved.
Sledge, February Player of the Month, is 14 and plays goaltender for the Brentwood Academy - Ezell-Harding Academy Eagles team, which is part of the Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey League that plays at Southern Ice Arena in Franklin, Tenn. According to Sledge's family, "It was his dream to play goalie." Although only in his fourth year playing hockey, he has aspired to play for many years. At 5 years old Sledge's first hockey experience was attending a Nashville Ice Flyers hockey game, and he knew he wanted to play hockey. "Thanks to the Nashville Predators," said Jeremy's mother, Ryn Sledge, his dream of playing goaltender came true due to the growth of youth leagues in the area.
Sledge respects all who are involved in the sport, including teammates, coaches, opponents, and referees. He always displays a positive attitude no matter the outcome of the game and is constantly looking to improve his ice hockey skills. Sledge is very dedicated--for example, last season after surgery for a broken hand, Sledge insisted being on present for practices. He felt it was his obligation as a teammate to be there even if he couldn't play.
Off the ice, Sledge has maintained an A average at Ezell-Harding Academy and has started fundraisers to donate money to local organizations including the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Sledge encourages his peers and adults to be charitable and even with such a busy schedule, Sledge always makes time for others.
Sledge's love for hockey and determination to be a great person has allowed him to be a leader on his team and amongst his peers, and for this the Nashville Predators have recognized him as the February Youth Hockey Player of the Month.
The Nashville Predators are also proud to have named Steve Golio as the February Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month. Golio, 48, is the Travel Coordinator of the Nashville Youth Hockey League (NYHL) and the Team Manager for the Southern Flyers '92 team which plays in the NYHL at the Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville. Golio has been instrumental in developing higher level hockey programs within the Nashville area to help local hockey players have an opportunity to play in the South. It is also Golio's positive approach towards kids which make him an outstanding role model.
Golio has spent countless hours as a volunteer helping youth hockey players in the Southeast District have a challenging program. He has been instrumental in the establishment of the Southern Flyers, an AA hockey program that began last year with only one team.
With Golio's efforts, the Southern Flyers program now has multiple teams that are run through the NYHL. This program was set up to allow local kids to play at a higher level without having to leave the Nashville area. In the summer, Golio coordinates with the Southern Youth Hockey League so Team South may play games against northern teams in Nashville for player development.
Golio has been an inspiration to many youth hockey players. In one case, a youth hockey player was going to quit the sport because his coach felt he should switch positions from forward to defense. Golio spoke with the player, who went on to become one of the best defensemen in the Southeast District. It is Golio's positive approach to dealing with kids that needs to be recognized. He is always looking out for the kids and what is best for them. Golio has a positive outlook that rubs off on hockey parents and players and keeps them focused. Because of these efforts, the Nashville Predators have recognized him as the February Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month.
For more information on the local hockey recognition program, or to nominate someone who is making a difference in a Nashville area youth hockey community, visit the Local Hockey Recognition Page.