If A-Game SportsPlex closes for good, as there are plans to turn it into a business park and possible home for Mars Inc., one consequence is that youth hockey will lose important ice. And there is no long-term replacement on the horizon.
GNASH, the main high school league in Williamson County, and the hockey academy run by MDG Management that depend on the two rinks at A-Game have a lease with A-Game through 2019 that the owners are trying to break early. A lawsuit is ongoing, with A-Game agreeing to stay open at least until the next court date on Feb. 25, and the two parties are in mediation.
But ultimately it appears that the area will lose two of the six ice rinks available for youth hockey. GNASH uses three venues for its games- Centennial Sportsplex on 25th Avenue in Nashville and Ford Ice Center on Hickory Hollow Pl, in Antioch, and of course A-Game.
When A-Game closed for a week two weeks ago, GNASH was just about to begin its post-season tournament and MDG was hosting an international tournament, and both depended upon A-Game’s ice. The organizations quickly scrambled to temporarily find other places to play- GNASH had to squeeze a third of its games onto the four rinks it had remaining.
But that is not a long-term solution, as the rinks were already booked to near-capacity. Jeremy Qualls, the athletic specialist for Williamson County Schools, addressed rumors that A-Game’s permanent closure could permanently hobble youth hockey in Williamson County and beyond.
“Even though they are club sports and not sanctioned by the TSSAA, we are proud of the accomplishments of student athletes and teams that represent our schools. We currently do not have an alternative or solution to lack of ice that the closing of A Game brings. This massive influx of teams and facility requests due to the closing of A-Game can pose a difficult scenario for everyone getting adequate court/field time.
“We are hopeful that a solution will appear for the lack of ice that this situation creates. It would be a shame for this sport show a decrease in participation.”
A-Game has agreed to stay open until the 25th, the next court date in the lawsuit. What happens afterwards leaves a lot of things up in the air.
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