Nashville, Tenn. (May 18, 2021) - Sabertooth Sports & Entertainment, LLC (SS&E), which is owned and operated by Predators Holdings, LLC, announced today the development of a new ice center in Sumner County at The Goat Farm. This is the fourth location SS&E and the Nashville Predators have created to grow the sport of hockey throughout Middle Tennessee since 2014 - in addition to the Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue, SS&E will manage soon-to-be-named, in partnership with F&M Bank, Montgomery County Event Center in Clarksville, which is scheduled to open during the 2022-23 season.
The new development is part of a public-private partnership between the SS&E, Sumner County, the City of Gallatin and the City of Hendersonville. Stratos Development will serve as the main developer of the facility at The Goat Farm - a 54-acre Sumner County landmark accessible from Nashville Pike and Shute Lane - with assistance from longtime Predators Season-Ticket Citizens Randy Smith and Alex Smith.
"As I've said before, the environment we've created in Antioch and Bellevue - and will create in Montgomery County - is something everyone in Smashville should be proud of, and we are thrilled to be able to bring that same enthusiasm for growing the game to Sumner County," Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. "Since we first opened Ford Ice Center Antioch in 2014, we've been able to see the benefits of our public-private partnerships come to life, from the economic impact to the growth of youth and adult hockey. As we move forward with this development in Sumner County, we want to thank county leadership, the cities of Gallatin and Hendersonville, Stratos Development, Randy and Alex Smith and the NHL and NHLPA for helping turn what once was a vision of expansion in the Middle Tennessee community into a reality in the near future."
"I am very excited about this state-of-the-art ice hockey facility and quality commercial development coming to Sumner County and the City of Gallatin," Sumner County Mayor Anthony Holt said. "This event center will create numerous opportunities for our young people and families that are passionate about this growing and vibrant sport. I would like to thank the Nashville Predators organization for their involvement in branding this facility that will enhance Sumner County's ability to attract visitors and showcase the many amenities our County has to offer. This facility will enrich the quality of life for our citizens and set our County apart as a regional destination."
The development of the roughly 100,000-square-foot facility, which will feature two sheets of ice, public and private locker rooms, a weight room and hockey pro shop, among other amenities, will be partially funded by the NHL and NHLPA Industry Growth Fund. On top of an already robust schedule of programming for youth and adult hockey, girls hockey and figure skating, the Predators and Ford Ice Centers were awarded funds from the IGF in October 2020 for further investment in the development of youth hockey in Middle Tennessee. Using these funds, the Predators have taken their commitment to growing girls hockey and learn-to-skate programs to a new level - 350 girls were introduced to the sport this past winter with a 20-week training program that culminated with a free tournament at the end of the season, and through the Go Skate! program, 600 kids learned how to skate for the first time with world-class coaching from the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy. The Predators have also pledged to help break down barriers for participation in hockey in our community and will begin the Youth Hockey Diversity Program in June, an initiative that aims to significantly reduce the difficulty of entry to the game of hockey for minority communities.
Over the past several years, the Predators have been leaders in rink development and the growth of hockey in Middle Tennessee, a commitment that has led to the Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue becoming two of the busiest rinks in North America, running one of the largest learn-to-skate programs in the country and a rush of national and international hockey and skating events being hosted in our community.
"We are proud of our role in helping grow the sport of hockey throughout our community, and the development of an ice rink in Sumner County will only help us build on the foundation we laid more than seven years ago in Antioch," Predators Vice President and Ford Ice Center General Manager Danny Butler said. "Expanding our reach into Sumner County will allow us to introduce the game to more and more people - something we've been able to do over the last several years in the Nashville community with thanks to the NHL, NHLPA and Ford for the overwhelming support they've provided."
The development at The Goat Farm will help the Predators take another step in growing hockey infrastructure in Middle Tennessee. In addition to the planned state-of-the-art amenities, the facility will host hockey tournaments as well as on-ice events and competitions similar to the existing Ford Ice Centers in Antioch and Bellevue. The two additional ice sheets in the community will allow the Predators to offer similar programs in Sumner County, such as learn-to-skate, youth and adult hockey and Scott Hamilton Skating Academy lessons and events.
"Stratos Development is excited and honored to be working with the Smith family, the Nashville Predators, Sumner County and Gallatin and Hendersonville toward a new Sumner County Ice Center at The Goat Farm," Stratos Development Partner Kevin Caine said. "The Goat Farm aims to become a regional destination focused on family-friendly entertainment, recreation, leisure and fresh dining opportunities. Additionally, the project will create a space for job and revenue growth in our economies."
"My family and I are thrilled to help bring this wonderful feature to the Sumner County community," Alex Smith said. "We have heard the demand for an ice facility in our area for a very long time, so it is great to see it finally happening. I hope that this will be a cornerstone for community activity for many years to come."
The two rinks, which will meet NHL standards and offer seating for more than 1,800 spectators, will be part of a broader development at The Goat Farm that is expected to contain retail and restaurant space, residential units, entertainment opportunities and a planned hotel.
"This addition to our community is one that has been desired for a very long time," City of Gallatin Mayor Paige Brown said. "Not only will it serve those who love the sport, but it will attract others as well. The Predators organization is adored and respected, and their enthusiasm and commitment to be a partner in opening doors in Sumner County is valued and appreciated. The efforts that have been made by those with the vision for this have been most impressive, and I'm confident that this is a unique and wonderful opportunity to bring a highly desired attraction to our area."
"We have been working with Randy Smith and the Predators for several years to bring ice here and I am incredibly excited to see it happening," City of Hendersonville Mayor Jamie Clary said. "Hundreds of Hendersonville residents have spent too much time driving to other ice facilities for too long, so for many reasons, this facility promises to improve the quality of life for many of our families."
SS&E and Stratos Development are working toward finalizing an opening date in the summer of 2023.