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October youth player, volunteer named

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Nathaniel Chiarizzio and Jack Flynn
Photo by Andee Boiman
Predators youth player of the month Nathaniel Chiarizzio and youth volunteer of the month Jack Flynn are honored prior to Nashville's Oct. 26 home game.

Building on the success of its inaugural year, the Nashville Predators are once again introducing a program to recognize players and volunteers in the Nashville area who demonstrate character skills that make youth hockey a better experience for all involved. The Nashville Predators will recognize a Youth Hockey Player of the Month and a Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month in the Nashville area beginning October 2006, and will continue through the 2006-2007 regular hockey season.

During a ceremony held prior to the Nashville Predators' October 26 home game against the San Jose Sharks, the Predators organization announced that Nathaniel Chiarizzio and Jack Flynn had been named Youth Hockey Player of the Month and Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month, respectively, for October.  At the ceremony, Chiarizzio and Flynn were each presented with a plaque recognizing their efforts. The two were nominated and selected as part of a Predators youth community initiative that will regularly recognize a player and volunteer in the Nashville area who demonstrate character skills that make youth hockey a better experience for all involved.

Chiarizzio, October Player of the Month, is 11 and plays center for the Thrashers team that is part of Middle Tennessee Inline. His hockey association plays at Mt. Juliet Skate Inn in Mt. Juliet, Tenn.  Although he is just 11 years old, Chiarizzio has been playing hockey for almost 6 years.  His older brother started playing when Nathaniel was 4 years old, which prompted Nathaniel to want to play hockey as well.  This young man, who is affectionately known throughout the league as "Cheezy," sets the standard for sportsmanship and respect, not only for the game but also other players and coaches. 

Before games, "Cheezy" motivates his team and then shakes hands with the opponents before the face-off.  His attitude, hockey skills and love for the game have helped build a fan base for the inline hockey league.  For the people that know him, "Cheezy" has always been a nice kid who does well in and out of school.  He also volunteers at his local church, passing out food to the less fortunate. 

Chiarizzio was nominated by Middle Tennessee Inline president Duane Muhsman.  "If you were to create a player for how youth hockey is supposed to be played," says Muhsman, "you would be hard pressed to find anyone better than Nathaniel "Cheezy" Chiarizzio." As a result, the Nashville Predators have recognized him as the October Youth Hockey Player of the Month.

The Nashville Predators are also proud to have named Jack Flynn as the October Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month.  Flynn is the coordinator and coach of the Southern Youth Hockey League (SYHL) Termites that play at Southern Ice Arena in Franklin, TN.  Flynn is also involved with the Independence/Paige Co-op High School hockey team and the SYHL District travel team player development. 

Flynn credits growing up in New England for his heavy involvement and love for hockey.  After playing hockey during his childhood, Flynn began coaching youth hockey in 1999 and has been passionate about it ever since.  Those that work with him at the rink notice his rapport with the kids and parents as well as his overall enthusiasm for hockey and volunteer efforts year after year. 

Flynn was nominated by Karlis Zirnis, Director of Hockey Development at Southern Ice Arena.  According to Zirnis, "Flynn's community service record and amount of time he puts in teaching and mentoring kids is exactly why he is such a great asset to the youth hockey community." That is why the Nashville Predators have recognized him as the October Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month.

For more information on the Predators hockey recognition program, or to nominate a player, volunteer or team making a difference in a Nashville area youth hockey community, visit the Local Hockey Recognition Page in the Play Hockey section.


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