It’s always nice to get a break from the drudgery of NHL lockout stories with a reminder that the game of hockey itself is bigger than the self-styled “greatest league in the world.” Today’s local reminder comes from the Nashville Jr. Predators Squirt minor team, who won the Silver Stick Regional Finals in Cincinnati this past weekend.
There’s one more stop remaining for these kids: the International Silver Stick tournament in Newmarket, Ontario. That runs from January 10-13, 2013, after which time we’ll hopefully have another winner’s photo to share here!
One of the things the Nashville Predators organization has done particularly well since first venturing into the hockey-market wilds of the American South is to work hard on building a love for the game in the local community. Hockey isn’t a natural fit in Tennessee; kids don’t grow up on skates like they do in the northern U.S. and Canada. But a number of Nashville Predators programs – including the Get Out And Learn! program, the state high school championship Preds Cup, and sponsorship of local leagues like the Greater Nashville Minor Hockey Association – have helped foster growth in the local youth hockey community.
All that work has begun paying dividends in the form of trophies for local youth teams. The Nashville Jr. Predators Mite Major team won the 2012 Silver Stick. And the 12-and-under Nashville Junior Predator 99’s won the 2012 USA Hockey Tier II 1A championship. With former Predators player and current Preds radio analyst Stu Grimson now on board as Chairman, the Nashville Jr. Predators’ budding championship tradition looks to have a bright future ahead. Check out their Facebook page here to keep up with the latest.