This past week, the Nashville Predators and Ford Ice Center hosted the 2nd annual Smashville Adult Hockey Camp. For five nights straight, 22 skaters and four goaltenders were given access to experts, former NHL players and coaches as well as tips and tricks to become better players in their respective leagues. There was a wide range of skill levels, whether it was the guy who hadn’t been on skates more than two months or players who have been playing for 20 years but never had any formal instruction or coaching.
All five days are boiled down into just six minutes in the video recap below.
On Monday, Ford Ice Center Hockey Coordinator Nathan Crooks, Sr. Hockey Manager Zack Jackson and former NHL defenseman Dan Keczmer went through some fundamentals of skating before the participants broke into three groups to use said fundamentals against the goalies. After 80 minutes on the ice, everyone headed upstairs to introduce themselves and set goals for the week.
The participants were treated to a shooting clinic by six-time 20-goal scorer JP Dumont on Tuesday before 1984 Olympic figure skating gold medalist Scott Hamilton took over the camp on Wednesday. If those two experts weren’t enough, Thursday was the highlight of the camp for the hockey nerds in attendance. Nashville Predators video coach Lawrence Feloney took everyone to school in a film breakdown session. He came in super prepared and simultaneously didn’t insult the players’ intelligence or talk over their heads. Alongside was Preds TV analyst and former NHL goaltender Chris Mason who, once the video clinic was over, worked with the four goalies on the ice.
Finally, Friday night was the scrimmage. Gold ended up beating Blue 7-2 but it was still a great chance to be in a game environment and consciously work on the lessons taught in camp all week.
I cannot recommend the experience enough. If you love hockey and/or have any interest in playing whatsoever, do yourself a favor and mark your calendars for August 2019. Nathan, Zach and the experts were tremendous and made us all feel welcome, regardless of skill level.