Mayor, Nashville Predators Cut Ribbon at Ford Ice Center
New Rink Will Help Expand Youth and Adult Hockey, Boost Economic Activity in Southeast Davidson County
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean and the Nashville Predators today cut the ribbon to officially open the Ford Ice Center in Southeast Davidson County. The ice center is part of the city’s mixed-use complex, called the Commons at the Crossings, which also will include an expanded branch library, new regional community center and park that are scheduled to open next month. The Nashville Predators manage the two rinks at the ice center, which is available for community use and is home to Nashville Predators youth and adult hockey initiatives and the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy.
“This new ice center adds even more vibrancy to a fast-growing part of Nashville, and I want to thank the Nashville Predators for the success of this public-private partnership and all they do for our city,” Mayor Dean said. “I know they will do a fantastic job expanding hockey as a positive outlet for kids and a place for both youth and adult players to develop their athletic skills. Combined with the community center, park and library, these new services will benefit nearby neighborhoods and the surrounding retail and commercial area by attracting more people to the vicinity and transforming the business environment here.”
In addition to Mayor Dean, speakers at today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony included Jeff Cogen, CEO of the Nashville Predators; J.D. Elliot, Chairman of the Nashville Sports Authority; country music artist and philanthropist Vince Gill; and Olympian Scott Hamilton of the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony kicks off a weekend full of activities and special events, including a Party in the Park, free open skate sessions, food trucks, inflatable games, music, an autograph signing and the Predators’ Skate of the Union. The weekend’s activities are highlighted by the Nashville Predators Rookie Camp Tournament, where rookies from the Preds, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning take part in a six-game round robin event. For more information and a full schedule of weekend activities, visit www.fordicecenter.com.
“It is already clear that this facility is becoming a new location for the community to gather and to socialize,” Nashville Predators CEO Jeff Cogen said. “Through Predators Youth and Adult Hockey, the Scott Hamilton Skating Academy and all the other events that will be hosted here, Ford Ice Center will help create tremendous benefits for Davidson County and the Antioch community. The facility is another example of how strong the Predators public-private partnership is and we look forward to continuing that relationship.”
Since the groundbreaking in October, 2013, the Predators organization has overseen construction, in conjunction with Metro Government, and also overseen staffing at Ford Ice Center and will continue to manage the rink and its programs. Ford Ice Center was developed as a public-private partnership between the city and the Nashville Predators. The 90,000-square-foot facility includes two NHL-size ice rinks, a yoga/ballet studio, four party/meeting rooms, 2,500 square feet of off-ice training space, concessions and the Perani’s Hockey World pro shop.
As well as providing hockey and skating opportunities for all ages and levels, the facility will generate economic activity through hosting tournaments and other special events. In addition to the Rookie Camp Tournament this weekend, the rink will host a USA Hockey Nashville Adult Classic Tournament from Sept. 26 to Sept. 28; training camp of the Predators’ American Hockey League affiliate Milwaukee Admirals from Sept. 28 to Oct.1; and the MAPCO College Hockey Shootout from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5.
Ford Ice Center will regularly offer public skate and learn-to-skate sessions. Nashville Predators youth and adult hockey programs include free hockey programs aimed at introducing the sport to families and advanced classes. The Scott Hamilton Skating Academy is headed by longtime Franklin, Tenn. resident and Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, who is integral in developing the Academy’s curriculums and facilitating skating competitions. The availability of these programs will make Ford Ice Center a springboard for creating new fans and ensuring more kids have the opportunity to get on the ice at an early age.
Further strengthening Ford Ice Center’s youth hockey programming, Vince Gill, a longtime Nashville Predators fan, is partnering with the Preds to help expand hockey’s reach to those who cannot afford to play. Similar to Gill’s “Vinny Links” program, Gill hopes that by getting involved with youth hockey at Ford Ice Center, many youth that love the game and want to play will be able to have that opportunity.
In addition to youth and adult hockey and skating programs, Ford Ice Center will be home to Vanderbilt University Club Hockey, Middle Tennessee State University Club Hockey, the University of the South Club Hockey and a home to the Nashville Jr. Predators organization.
The $14 million ice center is part of the $32 million complex that includes the expanded branch library, regional community center and park. Through the shared park area, Ford Ice Center is connected with the expanded branch library and new community center located adjacent to the ice rink facility. The six-acre common park area between the buildings features a playground and quarter-mile walking trail. The community center will include an indoor gym, walking track, wellness equipment, teaching kitchen and rooftop terrace, and the library will open with expanded digital media offerings, technology centers, places for story time and sections for early childhood and young adults.