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Predators recognize December youth hockey award winners

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators introduce the third season of 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 each month during the 2007-08 regular hockey season.

During a ceremony held prior to the Nashville Predators’ Dec. 6 home game against the Vancouver Canucks, the Predators organization announced that Wesley Woodward and Ross Rylance have been named Youth Hockey Player and Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month, respectively, for December.  Woodward and Rylance were presented with a plaque recognizing their efforts on behalf of the Predators during the ceremony. The two were nominated and selected as part of a Predators hockey development initiative that will regularly recognize a player and volunteer in the Nashville area.

Woodward, December Player of the Month, is 8, and plays forward for the Mite Hurricanes team, which is part of the Southern Ice Youth Hockey League, that plays at Southern Ice Arena in Franklin.  Woodward has been watching hockey since he was an infant; his father used to take him to games when they lived in Mississippi, home to the ECHL Sea Wolves team.  Four years ago, the Woodward family moved to Nashville and became avid Predators fans.  At the age of four, Woodward began playing roller hockey and two years later he started playing ice hockey at Southern Ice Arena.  Woodward is fascinated by the sport and can rattle off just about any hockey stat you ask.

With as little as three hockey seasons in his hockey career, Woodward has displayed a positive attitude and dedication to the game.  According to his mother, Woodward is a kind, giving, and compassionate boy that enjoys the camaraderie of his teammates.  Woodward was faced with one of life’s toughest challenges; the loss of a parent.  Woodward recently lost his father to cancer and has continued to participate and show nothing but love for the game.

Woodward was nominated by Southern Ice Hockey Director, Ryan Lessnau.  At only 8 years old, this young hockey player demonstrates a character skill that makes hockey a better experience for all involved and a role model to his teammates and for this the Nashville Predators have recognized Wesley Woodward as the December Youth Hockey Player!

The Nashville Predators are also proud to have named Ross Rylance as the December Youth Hockey Volunteer.  Rylance is Co-Coach for the Bantam Red Wings team, which is part of the Nashville Youth Hockey League that plays at Centennial Sportsplex in Nashville. 

Rylance has experience playing hockey as a child, prep school and college in New England and Illinois.  Entering his second season coaching, Rylance is seen as a great motivator to this 14-and-under team.  He shows concern about his players growth and development, not only as a player, but as a person as well.  His experience as a player helped him jump right in to the role of coach and equipped him with the ability to teach the sport to adolescents.

Rylance was nominated by a parent of a player coached by Rylance. 

“Rylance has been quoted as saying that the game is paramount to life," the nominating parent said. "If a player can understand the complexity of the game and master it, that will help with life skills.” 

Rylance is a mentor and coach to his players and for this the Nashville Predators have recognized him the December Youth Hockey Volunteer! 

For more information on the Predators hockey recognition program, or to nominate a player, volunteer or team making a difference in a youth hockey community, visit Predators Hockey Recognition and nominate someone today!
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