USA Hockey has a Tier III junior league called the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) and a ‘new’ team — The Nashville Junior Predators based in Franklin, Tennessee (28 minutes/22 miles from Nashville). The Junior Predators have been around since 2009, however, it is new to the NA3HL.
What is not only just an adorable name is also a very important part of USA Hockey as the expansion of hockey to so-called “non-traditional” markets like in the Predators backyard can only lead to good things for Middle Tennessee and the South. With the Atlanta Thrashers leaving (but never our hearts), St. Louis being way too Midwestern to be considered Southern and Florida being Florida and Texas being Texas, this is a great moment for Southern hockey (at least until Louisville gets a NHL team or my forever favorite dark horse Alabama does).
Dumont knows that there are different roles to ownership, even in the NA3HL. Will he be a hands-on owner or one that lets the staff do what is necessary?
“It’s not something I just put my name in and didn’t want to be involved,” said Dumont. “I want to make sure it goes well, not just for me. We want to do that for all of the kids here so they have a chance to go further. I take this really seriously. I just hope the kids work hard and have fun. I played junior and it was the best time of my life.”
It was 2006 when Dumont came to the Predators organization. Over those years, youth hockey has completely boomed in Nashville and he’s been here to witness it and be a part of it.
“When I came here, I was jumping on the ice and I was supposed to teach them hockey and I was putting my stick on the board and showing them how to skate,” said Dumont about youth skaters when he first arrived. “I had to hold them so they could skate one lap around. Now, hockey is growing so much, it’s definitely fun to be around.”
The Junior Predators will be playing in the Southern Division against the Dallas Jr. Stars (not as fun to say as the ‘Nashville Junior Predators’ in my opinion), the Sugar Land Imperials (Texas, home of the band with the same name), the Topeka Capitals (Kansas, forever either/and/or Southern/Midwestern) and the other two new teams; the Point Mallard Ducks (Decatur, Alabama) and the Texas Brahmas (North Richland Hills, TX [seriously, click it just for the awesome front page of their website]).
If you would like to try out for the Nashville Junior Predators you can do so here and if you are a female hockey player between the ages of 8 – 19 in the Middle Tennessee area — please check out the Nashville Girls Hockey website!