Delta  Dental To Sponsor Predators Youth Hockey Program

The Nashville Predators are teaming up with Delta Dental of Tennessee in 2007 to introduce youth across the state to the sport of hockey. The Predators announced today that Delta Dental will be the presenting sponsor of the team’s youth hockey programs. The dental benefits administrator will also serve as the title sponsor of the Predators’ Delta Dental Kid’s Club.  

Although some may be surprised to see a dental health company getting involved in the physical sport of hockey, the staff at Delta Dental sees their new partnership with the Predators as a natural fit.

"We are excited to team with the Nashville Predators," said Dr. Phil Wenk, president and CEO, Delta Dental of Tennessee. "The players serve as role models to the children in Tennessee, as well as aspiring young hockey players, and this is a great opportunity to begin showing youth the importance of taking care of your teeth both on and off the ice."

Delta Dental wants to expand the opportunities available to Tennessee children and teenagers to learn the fundamentals of hockey directly from the pros at Nashville’s NHL team. The Predators youth hockey programs to be presented by Delta Dental include:

The Nashville  Predators Hockey  School: The Predators’ annual hockey school which takes place each July at Centennial Sportsplex.  The week-long camp is open to boys and girls, ages 6-16, and features more than two hours of ice time per day, intensive dryland conditioning, video analysis and "chalk talk" sessions.  There are also daily discussions and team-building exercises focused on hockey fundamentals, nutrition, injury prevention and equipment maintenance.  The Predators coaching staff and hockey operations department are among the instructors.

Get Out and Learn! (GOAL!)
Introduced this past fall, the Get Out and Learn! program introduces the game of hockey to the next generation of Predators and fans without the financial commitment typically associated with the sport.  The free introductory program is designed for kids age nine and under with no prior hockey experience.  GOAL! takes place at either Centennial Sportsplex (Nashville) and Southern Ice Arena (Franklin, Tenn.).  The Predators provide all necessary equipment, ice time and instruction for participants.

Hockey Clinics

Predators players and coaches act as instructors for a number of on-ice clinics for youth hockey players throughout the year.

The top high school hockey teams in Tennessee compete each spring in a tournament for the state’s high school hockey championship and the Predators Cup, and Delta Dental will also be involved with this initiative. 

"Delta Dental has been a great supporter of youth sports and other activities that help children and teenagers grow up strong and healthy. That makes them an ideal sponsor for our youth hockey programs," said Gerry Helper, the Predators senior vice president of communications and development.

Parents can sign up their children for any of these Predators youth hockey programs, including the Delta Dental Kid’s Club, at By signing up for the Delta Dental Kid’s Club, your child will receive a welcome kit from Predators mascot GNASH which includes a T-shirt, duffle bag and key chain along with other Predators items. Club members also receive a membership card, coupons for Predators merchandise, discounts on GNASH birthday appearances, and invitations to special events such as a private Nashville Predators practice and autograph session. There are also monthly prize drawings and an online newsletter for club members.


Canes' Hedican To Undergo Surgery

Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, has announced that defenseman Bret Hedican will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left ring finger. Hedican will travel to Vail, CO, where Dr. Randy Viola will perform the procedure at Vail  Valley  Medical  Center. Hedican is expected to miss  three to four weeks of action following the surgery.
Hedican, 36, leads all Carolina defensemen this season, averaging 20:53 of ice time per game and ranks third on the team with 61 blocked shots. The St.  Paul, MN., native has earned eight assists in 37 games this season to rank third among team defensemen in scoring. Hedican (6'2", 210 lbs.) is in his 15th NHL season and his fifth with the Hurricanes.


Roberts Placed On IR

Florida Panthers general manager and head coach Jacques Martin announced recently that the club has recalled RW Anthony Stewart and C Janis Sprukts, from the Rochester Americans (AHL). The Panthers have also placed LW Gary Roberts on IR.
Sprukts, 24, will be making his third trip to the Panthers. He has appeared in five games with Florida posting one assist. In 28 games for  Rochester this season, Sprukts has nine goals and 23 assists for 32 points which ranks second on the Americans squad.
Stewart was called up for the second time in a month. The LaSalle, Quebec native played in two games with the Panthers in December with no points.

Panthers Trade Jackman

Florida Panthers general manager and head coach Jacques Martin have announced that the club has traded D Ric Jackman to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional draft pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Jackman played in 22 games for the Panthers in parts of two seasons since he was acquired via  trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 9, 2006. The Toronto,  Ontario native had one goal and one assist in 15 games last season for the Panthers and one goal in seven games this season.


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