The Nashville Predators teamed up with 12 organizations and their development camp players for Community Day Wednesday afternoon.
FrankTown Open Hearts in Franklin was one of the organizations where players and students joined together at Fourth Avenue Church of Christ.
Predator rookies Jachym Kondelik, Spencer Cox and Anton Olsson spent some of their time with the kids making cookie pizza, as well as playing a little indoor street hockey. The students received goodie bags with signed t-shirts and other Preds merchandise.
“This is awesome that we get to work with these kids,” said Kondelik. “It is really fun for us, not just for them. It is nice to get away from the rink and enjoy some time together. They are really energetic, so it kind of translates to me personally.”
FrankTown Open Hearts is a non-profit organization that helps Franklin inner city kids through mentoring, academics, recreation and spiritual growth. The organization meets with students ages 8-18 four nights a week and on Saturdays.
FrankTown has partnered with the Nashville Predators for six or seven years giving away sports and hockey equipment, and donating a van for transportation to support their ministry.
“I had a great time,” said Cox. “I know this is something the Nashville Predators do well in their organization, giving back to the community. It was awesome to meet some new kids, make some food, connect with them, hear where they are from and what sports they play.”
“The Preds are great with the community and take care of everyone,” said Olsson. “I am very glad to be here.”
Predators center Jachym Kondelik has been with Nashville for four development camps and was drafted in 2018 by Nashville in the fourth round. He was born in Germany, but grew up in the Czech Republic.
“Obviously being here for the fourth time in development camp is a little easier for me, but I try to help the guys out if they need anything around the rink,” said Kondelik. “I just try to be a leader if they need anything. I think the first year I got drafted was the year after they lost in the Stanley Cup final. Just being here around Nashville and seeing how much people love hockey has just been amazing.”
Spencer Cox is an undrafted defensemen that grew up in Powell, Ohio. He received an invitation to development camp and will be going into his sophomore college season at Long Island University in New York.
“This is something that I have worked for and dreamed of, just being around a professional organization,” said Cox. “It is awesome to finally come to a development camp and just learn from players and ask questions from coaches. It is something I will use to go into my season next year. Being from the Midwest, I have been to a few Predators games, and it is a great experience.
“I was fortunate to have a solid season this past year. The Predators just started talking to me this past season, and we kept in contact. They opened up the idea for me to come to development camp, and I did not want to turn that down. I had conversations with my coaches and parents and was ecstatic to come and get an invite.”
Anton Olsson hails from Sweden, the same country as newly resigned Nashville Predators star Filip Forsberg. Olsson was drafted in 2021 in the third round by the Predators and plays defensemen in the development camp.
“Nashville is a good city to be in, and I love it,” said Olsson. “I hope to be a big player and a good teammate.”