"So, what level ice hockey do you play?" the boy asked my son.
"Bantam house," my son said. "Oh, just house? I play travel," the boy replied.
And that's about it. When kids play ice hockey, they are competitive. Not only on the ice, but off. That's OK. If you're going out there in full gear to hit a small puck into a small net on the ice, you gotta be tough. "House" level hockey is the lowest level of youth hockey a kid can play, and in our area, it all starts with learning how to skate. Our area has lots of programs for this, including great ways to get your kids into ice hockey.
We've gathered helpful links and info you need to get your child started in ice hockey. But fair warning: if you start, your kid's going to love it. Consider yourself warned!
Ford Ice Center 5264 Hickory Hollow Pkwy. Antioch 615-742-4399
Centennial Sportsplex 222 25th Ave. N., Nashville 615-862-8490
G.O.A.L!, the Nashville Predators Get Out and Learn! program, is a free on-ice youth hockey series for boys and girls ages 4 – 12 with no prior hockey experience. This four- or two-week program introduces kids to hockey through one-hour sessions focused on all of the hockey skills.
Current sessions are FULL, but you can sign your child up for the waiting list at the website. Registrations for future sessions take place in August, 2018. If your child already knows how to skate and wants to play hockey, sign him up for Little Preds Learn to Play. The program provides first-time participants weekly sessions of age-appropriate on-ice instruction and certified coaching, led by National Hockey League Alumni. Little Preds will start up again for the 2018-19 season at Centennial Sportsplex. Kids ages 4 – 16 who are not yet ready for league play but who have a basic foundation of skating can sign up for PREDecessor. Kids must have completed either G.O.A.L!, Learn-to-Skate (see below). Teams are divided into 8U, 12U and 18U. Each six-week session is $65, but kids must have their own hockey equipment or participate in rental options. Kids must register through USA Hockey. NEW! a "Girls Only" PREDecessor session takes place on Mondays, June 18 - 30 from 6 - 7 p.m. for ages 5 - 18. Ford Ice Center is also home to the Nashville Predators Amateur Hockey Association, a youth house league for boys and girls ages 5 – 18. The winter, spring and fall sessions have 18 practices/games on Saturdays. Summer session has 18 sessions. If your child progresses enough for travel hockey, learn more about the Pred's Select Travel Hockey. T
- The Scott’s Tots program for ages 3 – 5 and Basic Skills 1 – 6 for ages 6 – 15 teach kids agility, balance, coordination and speed.
- Learn-to-Skate hockey is for ages 6 – 15 to learn the fundamentals of ice hockey.
- Freeskate 1 – 6 for all ages is for progressive skating skills like transitions, spins and jumps to guide skaters to recreational and competitive figure skating.
- Ages 16 and older, beginner to advanced, is for beginning and experienced skaters who want to improve their skills.
A new session begins every seven weeks, year round. Classes are held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Ford Ice Center. Cost is $145 per seven-week session which consists of one class per week for seven weeks; $230 per seven-week session for three classes per week.
Nashville Junior Predators If your child has what it takes to move up to competitive hockey, try out for the Nashville Junior Predators. Kids are required to participate in all posted tryout sessions. Teams available include 8U AA – 18U AAA.
Nashville Youth Hockey League The Nashville Youth Hockey League is home of the Nashville Flyers. Teams available are 6U – 16U.
Southern Youth Travel Hockey League Predators Select team as well as the Nashville Flyers travel team. League play is available in age groups Squirt (10U), Peewee (12U), Bantam (14U) and Midget (16U and 18U) in divisions AA, A1 and A2. Games are played locally and in other locations that require travel time.