To the Editor:
Re: “Predators pitch ice rink to Williamson County Sports Authority, nix idea of working with A-Game”
(Featured: July 23, 2018)
Since prior to the closure of the two sheets of ice at A-Game Sportsplex in February 2016, the demand for ice time in the Middle Tennessee region has been drastically greater than available ice.
This is especially true within Williamson County where student-athletes had to already frequently travel outside of the county throughout the school year for practice and games and have been left without a facility since the closure.
Williamson County has a proud history in ice hockey with ten schools currently active in high school
hockey and 12 of the 19 Predators Cup high school state championships awarded to date being awarded to Williamson County-based schools – including the last nine consecutive championships since 2010.
From those teams there are currently male and female student-athletes from Williamson County playing ice hockey or with scholarships to play ice hockey for NCAA Division I and Division III schools and at ACHA Division I, II, and III programs across the country.
The athletic talent and passion for not only the sport of ice hockey, but also figure skating, broom ball, and curling are present within the county, but don’t have a venue to spend their time or money within Williamson County at present.
The Nashville hockey market is one of the strongest in the country right now and that is in part to Sean Henry’s vision and leadership from his post atop the Predators organization providing much-needed assistance and support to the passionate volunteers that have grown the sport in the market up to this point.
The market has now seen a generation of youth grow up with the sport who are ready to spend their
money in pursuit of their interest in the sport. Hotels, restaurants, entertainment attractions, and
shopping would all benefit from hockey tournaments, figure skating exhibitions, high school hockey, and collegiate club hockey games at a new venue capturing the revenue from within the county and bringing in revenue from visitors to the events themselves.
Should Williamson County build an ice complex there will still be a lack of available ice time as demand continues to grow, but it would provide much-needed space for its own residents to pursue their passion, learn new and grow their skills, and even allow student-athletes to stay home a little longer while pursuing scholarships and other opportunities to advance personally and professionally through sport.
Pursuing a partnership with the Nashville Predators would greatly benefit the citizens of Williamson
County who currently must drive outside of the county to participate in their sport. It would bring in
new sources of revenue and open new opportunities to residents wishing to explore an interest in any
number of ice sports.
The sports of ice hockey and figure skating have been around the region since before the Predators
came to Nashville and only continue to grow. The demand for ice will be around for decades to come. It is not going away.
I strongly encourage the Sports Authority to explore deeper discussions with Sean Henry and the
Nashville Predators organization over the upcoming months in pursuit of bringing sheets of ice back to Williamson County.