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Predators Players Active on Community Day

by Nashville Predators / Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators Community Relations Day, October 2:

LP Pencil Box:


Kevin Fiala
and Eric Nystrom spent an hour on Thursday afternoon helping Metro Nashville Public School teachers shop for classroom supplies at LP Pencil Box in West Nashville.

Teachers often spend their own money on school supplies for students who do not have the financial means to purchase their supplies, and LP Pencil Box is a place where teachers can shop for these students, and for their classrooms, at no cost.

“It’s wonderful to have the Predators here, seeing the city they live in and what is really going on around them,” LP Pencil Box Program Director Kerry Conley said. “It means a lot to the teachers to get to see the players and get some attention. After all, these teachers are the true heroes out there, working really hard to make sure these kids get through school and help change the world.”

During the Preds visit, Nystrom and Fiala helped Kanesha Sanders from W.A. Bass Learning Center find the items on her shopping list, from pens and pencils, to prizes and flashcards.

During a shopping trip, each teacher is only allowed to take home 80 items and Sanders gave Nystrom and Fiala the challenge of keeping track of everything that went into her shopping cart. After several trips up and down the aisles, Sanders, with the help of these two forwards, was successful in hitting the 80-item limit right on the dot.

For more information on how to get involved at LP Pencil Box, visit www.pencilfoundation.org.

-By Alexis Witman

Nashville Humane Association:

Carter Hutton, Paul Gaustad and Victor Bartley’s assistance on Thursday focused on those of the four-legged variety when the trio of Preds players visited the Nashville Humane Association.

Walking dogs and cuddling with cats, the forward, defenseman and goaltender gave some needed attention to a few pets awaiting adoption. Hutton, who has been to the Humane Association multiple times across the last year, eagerly led dog after dog outside for a romp.

“I remember coming last year and just loving it,” Hutton said. “It’s nice to just be able to come whenever, grab a leash and a dog and help them out. Whether it’s with a jersey on or without, it’s a cool place to be.”

Bartley said he found himself thinking of home during his first time hanging out with the dozens of dogs and cats.

“I love dogs; I have two Shih Tzus back home named Rider and Panda,” Bartley explained. “It makes me a little homesick playing with these dogs, but the ones here are like three times the size of mine, so it’s not quite the same. It’s great to get out and do something a little different like this and hopefully these dogs can be adopted soon.”

To check out some of the pets that are currently up for adoption, visit www.nashvillehumane.org.

-By Thomas Willis

Ford Ice Center:

Mike Ribeiro and Seth Jones headed down to Antioch and Ford Ice Center, serving as guest instructors in a learn-to-skate class on Thursday evening. Jones and Ribeiro assisted elementary school-age children as they went back and forth across the width of the rink, offering up tips and encouragement to many of the first-time skaters.

“A lot of these kids have only skated a few times and it’s nice to help them because I was in that position not too long ago,” Jones said. “I guess it was 15 years ago now [when I learned how to skate], but it seems like it was yesterday I was in the rink. It was just a great experience to get out here; take the kids through what I went through.”

Only 20 years of age himself as of Oct. 3, Jones can appreciate growing the game from a grassroots level in the community.

“[Ford Ice Center] is going to attract a lot of people and I know the Predators are doing a great job right now of really developing the game here,” Jones said. “You see all these kids out here that are first time skaters; they have programs running all the time for kids who wanna start skating. That’s what the city needs if they want to grow the game.”

And Ribeiro was impressed with the skill level from the participants, if only at a young age.

“The kids are standing up more than falling,” Ribeiro laughed. “That’s a good start.”

For more, go to www.fordicecenter.com.

-By Brooks Bratten

Franklin Street Hockey:

Working the street-hockey ball up the cul-de-sac past two dozen or so defending sticks wasn’t easy, but Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg didn’t think to complain.

On October 2, the pair of Swedes surprised a large group of children and parents with a pick-up hockey game in Franklin, Tenn. The special opportunity to run with NHL players on their team didn’t pass the collection of children by as the group ran and yelled throughout the high-scoring contest.

“I played a lot of street hockey in Sweden, so being out here makes it feel like yesterday a little bit,” Ekholm said. “It’s probably been like 15 years since I was running around like the kids here, so it’s great to be back. They were really impressive today, lots of them out here and some good plays too.”

Forsberg was pleased by the passionate collection of Preds fans (of all ages) that showed up as word spread of the game. The forward said he was happy to be a part of spreading the game of hockey and enjoyed laughing alongside some potential future teammates as well.

“There are a lot of Preds fans all over Nashville, and we really enjoy doing this for them,” Forsberg said. “It’s all about showing that the Preds care and spreading hockey. The sport is still pretty new here, so it’s important for us to bring hockey to the kids. Hopefully we can have future Predators players growing up here in Nashville and hopefully some teammates even in the next few years.”

To find out more about the Preds G.O.A.L.! program click here.

-By Thomas Willis


For a recap of the second day of Predators Community Days click here.

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