Nashville, Tenn. – The Nashville Predators announced today the hiring of Craig MacDonald as hockey director at the new Ford Ice Center in Antioch, Tenn.
In his role, MacDonald will manage all hockey programs, with a focus on growing a youth hockey program that will provide a variety of options for youth to learn to play hockey while developing them into lifelong hockey fans in collaboration with USA Hockey and the Preds Youth Hockey/Fan Development departments. He will also develop plans/programs in conjunction with other area rinks and oversee the rink’s adult hockey program that will provide an opportunity for adult men and women to play no matter their skill level.
“Craig brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for the sport of hockey that will be a tremendous asset to the organization as we begin forming hockey programming at Ford Ice Center.” Ford Ice Center General Manager Danny Butler said. “His history in cultivating success stories at all age levels of the sport speaks for itself, both through bringing people to the game, and pushing them to reach their potential.”
MacDonald joins the Predators after serving as hockey director for the Evansville (Ind.) Youth Hockey Association from 2011-14. In his three seasons with the EYHA, MacDonald saw a 30 percent growth in hockey membership, made possible by a focus on grassroots initiatives and creating opportunities against higher levels of competition, raising the skill level across multiple age groups.
MacDonald creates his hockey programming with a large emphasis on the USA Hockey American Development Model, which attempts to grow players’ love for the game by placing less priority on winning and losing, and more on developing skills through age-appropriate training and practice.
MacDonald helped the EYHA obtain 2012-13 gold status in USA Hockey’s 2 and 2 Challenge – created to drive participation in the sport – in addition to coaching at the peewee level and instructing Learn to Skate/Play courses at his former home rink, Swonder Ice Arena.
“I’m extremely excited to join a first-class organization like the Predators, who are so committed to seeing hockey grow in Middle Tennessee,” MacDonald said. “I look forward to helping bring more people to the game, and using my passion for hockey to develop lifelong players and fans.”
Prior to his work in Evansville, MacDonald spent 12 years working in finance and sales for Kimberly-Clark and Harland Clarke. However, his passion for hockey led him to leave the corporate world for a career in hockey. He is certified to instruct USA Hockey coaching seminars for levels 1-3, received his USA Hockey Level IV coaching certification and hockey director training at the North American Rink Conference & Expo in 2012 and is a long time Junior Achievement volunteer.
A graduate of Lake Forest College in suburban Chicago, MacDonald played two seasons for the Foresters (Division III), earning All-American Scholar honors in 1996 and Northern Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic accolades in 1995.
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