Ten months and $40 million later, the Nashville Predator's Ford Ice Center in Antioch is finally ready for its debut.
Friday, Predators officials took Channel 4 News on a tour of the new ice rink that's helping change the landscape of Global Mall and Antioch.
The usually quiet mall was buzzing with excitement Friday morning as skates hit the ice at the Ford Ice Center.
"It's going to be a galvanizing moment for this area," said Chris Parker, executive vice president of the Predators.
The 90,000-square-foot facility features two NHL-sized rinks, an overlook and an upscale concessions stand.
"I think it will be a tremendous asset for the entire area and really help the Predators grow the game of hockey," Parker said. "It's going to be full of families and kids starting at 6 o'clock in the morning and going until 11 at night."
Aspiring figure skater Caroline Harris said she loves having the rink so close to home.
"It's a lot bigger than the ones I've skated at," Harris said. "I really liked it, the ice was really smooth and easy to skate on."
More than growing the game of hockey in Nashville, residents believe the rink will breathe new life into the hold Hickory Hollow Mall.
"It will bring more businesses to that mall, because nobody really goes there," Antioch resident Arieal Bryant said. "When you look at the parking lot, it's empty. I think people will come back and I think it will clean up the area."
"It's going to be home to all sorts of events," Parker said. "A prospect camp, USA hockey men's tournament, also our farm team, the Milwaukee Admirals, will do some training here as well. That's just the start."
The Predators will host several free events at the Ford Ice Center this weekend. There will be adult open hockey Saturday from 7:45-9:15 a.m., a public skate from 1:30-3:30 p.m. and stick time from 2:30-4 p.m.
The grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the rink is Friday, Sept. 12.
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