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Try Hockey for Free a Success in the Southeast

by Alexis Tahara / Nashville Predators

On Saturday, Nov. 8, USA Hockey and nearly 500 local hockey rinks and associations across the United States encouraged kids (and some adults too!) to get out and Try Hockey for Free. The southeastern part of the country was no exception as 10 rinks in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee (including the Predators own Ford Ice Center), encouraged first-time participation in the sport.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with USA Hockey on Try Hockey events and are encouraged by the growth in participation at these events that we are seeing across our region,” Nashville Predators Director of Youth Hockey and Fan Development Andee Boiman said. “Facilities and hockey leaders across the country are doing a tremendous job at breaking down any barriers associated with the sport and making entry level opportunities low cost and low commitment.”

$51,000+ - Amount that Ford Ice Center has donated in open skating and Get Out and Learn! program funding since opening in August. On Nov. 4, the Predators announced that Nashville resident and Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill had partnered with the Preds and the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy to form the Vinny Rinks Scholarship program, which aims to provide financial assistance to Davidson County youth interested in playing hockey and learning to skate.

14,800 – Total number of kids across 48 states that tried hockey on Saturday.

2011 – Year Mid-South Icehouse in Olive Branch, Miss., opened. Mid-South Icehouse hosted 77 kids for its Try Hockey for Free event.

518 – Number of kids in the southeast that tried hockey for free on Saturday.

500+ – Rinks involved (all) with Try Hockey for Free that offered equipment that participants could borrow, free of cost, for Saturday’s events.

182 – Number of people that tried hockey in the state of Tennessee on Nov. 8. In addition to youth and adult sessions at Ford Ice Center in Antioch, the Knoxville Amateur Hockey Association hosted 21 kids for their event.

150 – Kids and adults that participated in Ford Ice Center’s Try Hockey for Free sessions.

101 – Days until Ford Ice Center hosts its next Try Hockey for Free event on February 21, 2015.

93 – Number of participants at the Try Hockey for Free event in Huntsville, Alabama, home of the University of Alabama Huntsville Chargers, the only NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey team south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Forty-five more kids tried hockey down the road at the event in Pelham, Ala.

40 – Participants at the Try Hockey for Free events in Little Rock, Arkansas. While the state of Arkansas doesn’t boast a professional hockey team at any level, the University of Arkansas Razorbacks have a club hockey team that compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division III.

10 – Weeks in the Learn to Skate sessions offered at the Planet Ice Rink in Lafayette, La. The Lafayette Hockey Association hosted 13 kids at their Try Hockey for Free session.

7 – Days a week that Ford Ice Center offers public skate sessions, a great opportunity for all of those who tried hockey to get back on the ice and polish their skills.

3 – Number of rinks in the Atlanta area that offered a Try Hockey for Free session (Columbus Ice Rink, Columbus; Atlanta Iceforum, Duluth; Alpharetta Family Skate Center, Alpharetta).

For more information on how to get involved with youth and adult hockey in Middle Tennessee and to stay informed on upcoming Try Hockey for Free sessions in the Nashville area, visit www.nashvillepredators.com/youthhockey or www.fordicecenter.com.

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