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Preds wrap up Summerfest Tour

by Tom Coyne / Nashville Predators
Predators' mascot GNASH makes a guest appearance at the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association "Learn to Play" clinic at Veteran's Park in Hendersonville on July 24, 2007.
As the second half of the summer rolled on, the Nashville Predators Hot Shots Summerfest Tour headed back in the community for street and inline hockey action to put a cap on the offseason. 

The Predators Amateur & Youth Hockey Staff traded inline skates and street hockey balls for pucks and a sheet of ice during the week of July 9 for the Predators Hockey School at Centennial Sportsplex.  Although the cool climate inside the ice rink was a nice relief from the summer heat, the Summerfest tour was more than ready to get back on the road with a July 19th visit to the Sumner County YMCA Street Hockey Camp at Veteran’s Park in Hendersonville.  The hot temperatures were no match for more than 30 street hockey players; after a few stick handling and shooting drills, two teams were formed and a scrimmage ensued. 

Later that afternoon, the tour stopped at the Donelson YMCA Sports Camp.  The indoor gymnasium was filled with nearly 50 participants between the ages of 5 and 12 and an equal number of spectators occupied the sidewalls to cheer on the hockey action.  After a demonstration by Preds staff and a relay race, teams were again formed and the puck dropped on some fast-paced scrimmage action.  The players fed off the verbal support of the spectators, providing a high tempo, drama filled game.  The crowd was supportive of both teams and the action on the floor did not disappoint, as the contest continued to go back and forth ending in a one-goal victory.

The next stop on the Summerfest tour was the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association “Learn to Play” series at Veteran’s Park in Hendersonville.  The July 24 stop included more than 40 kids between the ages of 5 and 10 who received instruction from local high school hockey coach Tim Rathert and a number of his Hendersonville High School Commando hockey players.  A fun-filled environment had skaters participating in skating as well as puck control and passing drills.  To top off the experience, skaters were divided into two teams to participate in a half-rink scrimmage.  Preds team mascot GNASH made a guest appearance to display some hockey skills of his own and stuck around to sign autographs. 

After many miles and a variety of exciting stops, the Preds Hot Shots Summerfest Tour made its final stop at the St. Luke’s Community House on August 1.  Close to 40 participants were eager to participate in a relay race and display their skills in an exciting scrimmage.  The initially quiet group became more vocal as the hockey action roared on in a game that was decided only by a last-minute goal. 

As the Preds off-season rolls towards a close, the Predators Amateur & Youth Hockey staff along with team mascot GNASH bid a fond farewell to gym floors and inline hockey rinks in exchange for ice arenas and the start of another exciting winter hockey season.  A big thank you to the many people and places that were a part of the 2007 Nashville Predators Hot Shots Summerfest Tour, with your help this was a successful summer of hockey!
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