Photo by Andee Boiman
At a ceremony before the March 27 Predators game, Austin Akbari (left) and Phil Buntin were named Youth Hockey Player of the Month and Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month, respectively, for March.
During a ceremony held prior to the Nashville Predators' March 27 home game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Predators organization announced that Austin Akbari and Phil Buntin had been named Youth Hockey Player of the Month and Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month, respectively, for March. Akbari and Buntin were presented with plaques recognizing their efforts on behalf of the Predators during the ceremony. The two were nominated and selected as part of a Predators youth community initiative that will regularly recognize a player and a volunteer in the Nashville area who demonstrate character skills that make youth hockey a better experience for all involved.
Akbari, March Player of the Month, plays for the Southern Ice Bantam Storm travel team. The team is part of the Southern Youth Hockey League that plays at Southern Ice Arena in Franklin. Although Akbari is only 13 years old, he already has nine years of hockey experience under his belt. Practicing as often as and wherever he can, Akbari consistently brings a positive attitude and smile to the rink regardless of wins or losses.
Contributing more than just positive motivation for his team, Akbari's name appears frequently on the goal portion of the score sheet. Although scoring is an achievement in itself, Akbari treasures his assists and believes this is his proudest achievement. With his positive attitude and playmaking ability, Akbari is no stranger to leading his team to success.
Akbari was nominated by family friend John McLallen. "Austin is a young man dedicated to his team by encouraging his and the opposing team," said McLallen. For this the Nashville Predators have recognized Austin Akbari as the March Youth Hockey Player of the Month.
The Nashville Predators are also proud to have named Phil Buntin as the March Youth Hockey Volunteer of the Month. Buntin is the president of the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association, a coach, and the manager of the league's Web site. The league plays at Veteran's Park in Hendersonville.
Buntin's love for hockey grew in-part due to his son. Now he has the opportunity to have his son as his assistant coach with the Under-10 Devils. Buntin takes pride in the ability to pass along hockey knowledge and skills to others, saying his favorite part of his volunteer work is being able to see kids develop their skills.
Buntin was nominated by Danny Snyder. According to Snyder, "[Buntin] sets high standards for his players and coaches. He is well disciplined and expects the same." For these reasons, the Nashville Predators have recognized Phil Buntin as the March 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.
Related article: This month's Tennessee Team Spotlight