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Preds Youth Hockey Programs Travel to Knoxville

by Sarah Ryan / Nashville Predators
Since 2006, the Nashville Predators G.O.A.L! (Get Out and Learn!) program has reached out to more than 850 Middle Tennessee youth, introducing and exposing them to the game of ice hockey. Recently, for the first time since its inception, the Predators G.O.A.L! program ventured out of the Greater Nashville area and traveled to Knoxville in effort to reach out to young hockey fans in East Tennessee. Online registration for the G.O.A.L! Knoxville program was announced prior to the event and filled in less than 90 minutes.

Over a span of four nights from August 3 – 6, G.O.A.L! Knoxville was on the ice at Cool Sports hosting a beginner learn-to-play program. Approximately 72 kids aged four to nine were directed by Predators Amateur and Youth Hockey staff, Knoxville Amateur Hockey Association (KAHA) Hockey Director and former Knoxville Ice Bear KJ Voorhees and volunteer KAHA coaches through a series of drills and lessons designed to teach the game’s basic points of skating, passing and shooting.

“This program has been outstanding,” Voorhees said. “It’s great to have 70-75 brand new skaters have the opportunity to do it for free. Obviously, hockey is one of those sports where it is quite a financial investment and it prohibits a lot of players from even trying it. To be able to come out and try it for free for a week has been outstanding. Especially for the younger ones – the four, five, six year olds – to come out here and they are laughing and smiling, falling down and getting back up and doing it all over again; those kids are having a lot of fun. We’re very excited to have the Predators here. They did an outstanding job and we hope to have them back again next year.”

The Predators G.O.A.L! program is a free youth-hockey program created to offer kids the opportunity to experience the excitement of hockey without the cost of purchasing equipment. Designed for boys and girls aged four to nine with no prior skating or hockey experience, this free ice-hockey program introduces the sport of hockey to kids while teaching the life experiences of teamwork, sportsmanship and self confidence.

The program helps rinks establish an entry level program to get more kids into the game of hockey. The Predators provide all equipment at no cost to the participant. G.O.A.L! is part of the Predators commitment to the development of youth hockey. For information on upcoming sessions, please click here.

In addition to the G.O.A.L! Knoxville ice-hockey program, this trip also marked the first time the Preds traveled outside the Greater Nashville area to partner with facilities for the Street Pride program. This program consists of street-hockey clinics which cover hockey fundamentals such as stick handling, passing, shooting and teamwork.

Nashville Predators Amateur & Youth Hockey staff visited three summer youth camps in East Tennessee as part of the Predators Street Pride program, conducting free street-hockey clinics for the campers of Tate’s Day Camp, Milton Collins Day Camp at the Arnstein Jewish Community Center and West Side Family YMCA. In total, approximately 175 kids ages 5-13 participated in the free street-hockey clinics. Each facility visited became a partner of the Nashville Predators Street Pride program and received street-hockey equipment for their center donated by the Nashville Predators.

The Nashville Predators Street Pride program is part of a league-wide street-hockey program (NHL Street) in which NHL teams partner with youth community centers to donate free street-hockey equipment, staff training and follow-up clinics. There are more than 40 centers participating in Preds Street Pride program throughout Middle Tennessee including YMCA’s, Boys & Girls Clubs and community centers. This free grassroots-hockey development program emphasizes that all a kid needs to play hockey is sneakers, breaking down any socio-economic barriers associated with the sport. Through NHL Street there are more than 1 million youth nation wide involved in the sport of hockey.

Please visit the Street Pride page for more information.

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