The new Ford Ice Center is scheduled for a mid-September grand opening, and hockey in Middle Tennessee is going to benefit with the addition of this state of the art facility. The center has two sheets of ice, exceptional locker room facilities, and is already proving to be a draw to hockey teams from around the country.
The Center is located on a part of the old Hickory Hollow mall site.
I had an opportunity to tour the facility with Predators EVP Chris Parker, who has been the point man for the build out. Here are some pictures from that visit:
The center has been built in a partnership with the government of Nashville. The City will own the facility and the Predators will provide the management. This is a view of the front of the facility on the left. On the right is a new Nashville library and recreation facility.
The city is putting in exercise fields and a walking/running track that will be shared by the city owned rec center and Ford Ice. The hockey staff will use these fields for outdoor off-ice training.
The interior of the facility is open and spacious. This view is looking from the information desk back toward the front entrance. The Perani Pro Shop is on the left and at the front entrance, and will be an excellent addition for the hockey community.
The information desk is on the right and this is looking north toward the concession area. The concession area will provide indoor and outdoor seating. As you can see by the ladders and the punch lists taped to the wall, there is still a lot of work going on throughout the facility.
A closer look at the concession area. The facility has lots of windows and natural lighting.
The view behind the information desk. They were stocking the skates that can be rented for public skating sessions.
Opposite the pro shop and just inside the front entrance is a dedicated skills area. This area will allow players to work on their shot and puck handling on synthetic ice. A worker is installing the synthetic ice surface.
This is the south rink. The lighting in both rinks is exceptional and stands have been installed in the south rink that currently can seat about 350 fans. Maximum capacity for games on the south rink can go as high as 800, and the north rink can hold at maximum about 1100. In both cases, this would be the seating capacity and standing room crowds. Dressing rooms for teams are just off the rink, and there are a total of 8 dressing rooms to accommodate teams involved in tournaments.
The dressing rooms are large and give the players plenty of room to store their gear and personal effects. Several of the dressing rooms have a shared door which will allow the rooms to be combined to accommodate larger groups. Each dressing room has its own shower and rest room facilities.
The facility is two story, and it has upstairs viewing areas that offer a full view of the ice. There are connections for computers, tablets, and cell phones placed along the viewing area for use by scouts and coaches.
There are private rooms upstairs that can be used by coaches, scouts, and out of town teams during tournaments. Each room can be set up to meet the needs of its occupants. As you can see, these rooms also over look the ice
There are also meeting rooms and party rooms upstairs. they have moveable walls, which you can see on the back wall, to accommodate groups of various sizes.
Hockey isn't the only on-ice activity that will be conducted at the Center. Scott Hamilton will have his skating school housed there, and the Olympic gold medal winner will be working with figure skaters from all over the country. In addition to their on-ice training, these skaters will work off ice on their choreography and moves. This is a training room for the figure skaters that has mirrors so they can observe their movements as well as other training equipment that will be installed.
This is a view of the side of the facility facing the library/rec center. You can see the windows of the pro shop on the left. At the far right, the gold columns are where the outdoor seating for the concession area will be located.
This graveled area will be used to display Ford trucks and cars in front of the Center. The entrance is at the far right in this picture under the gold roof.
This may look like excess construction material piled up, but it's not. Those are dasher boards that will be set up outside the arena on this concrete slab to make an outdoor half rink for roller hockey.
One of the shiny new Zambonis in the Zamboni pit. The center has dehumidifiers for each rink and uses a top of the line ammonia system for the chillers.
This first class facility is already attracting national attention. It will host a 32 team men's tournament in the fall and is expected to host hockey camps that will bring in players and scouts from all over the U.S. and Canada.
In addition to hockey activities, Scott Hamilton's Skating School is expected to draw world class athletes for his training.
Attracting elite hockey teams and world class skaters requires a first class facility.
Nashville now has that in the Ford Ice Center.
Walking through, it is quickly apparent that a lot of thought went into the design and construction of the Center. The Ford Ice Center is a facility is a strong statement about the growth of hockey in Nashville and Middle Tennessee and the commitment of the Predators and the City to continue to nurture that growth.
Well done by all involved.