For the first six years of the tournament’s existence – 2000 to 2005 – the Predators Cup was evenly shared between Nashville and Memphis: the Memphis Metro Warriors, a supplemental team (supplemental teams being made up of players from more than two schools), won the inaugural edition in 2000, with Houston and Collierville winning the tournament in 2004 and 2005, respectively. In the three years between the triumphs for the Metro Warriors and Houston, 2001 to 2003, the trophy was won by Centennial (2001), then passed on to Brentwood (2002), and then onto the greatest co-op in the history of Tennessee high school hockey, Mt. Juliet-Wilson Central (2003).
In 2006, though, everything changed. The tournament was set to be played in mid-March, its usual date. But the Nashville teams who qualified wanted the dates changed, because it interfered with their Spring breaks. The Predators, however, declined this request, leading to the Nashville teams boycotting the tournament altogether. The 2006 Predators Cup was then cancelled (the Predators Cup page on the Preds’ website lists Ravenwood at the 2006 Preds Cup champions, but how can you crown a champion for a tournament that didn’t take place?).
The tournament began with another classic between Ravenwood and Centennial, as the two teams skated to a 2-2 draw. Then, Brentwood and JPII ended in a tie, but I can’t remember the score. Then, it was time for the outsiders to play. The early scouting report on the Warriors was…not great. And in the game with Christian Brothers, it showed, as the Purple Wave dominated, winning 10-2.
I looked back at the ice, and sure enough, players had dropped their gloves, ready to go, only for officials and both coaching staffs to quickly defuse the matter before it got out of control. The ruckus started when Brentwood’s first player in the handshake line decided to make a smart remark to Knoxville’s poor goalie about his team’s performance. This understandably angered the young man, but wanting to settle it with his fists probably wasn’t the best idea. Both teams would have players suspended for their remaining pool play games (Brentwood against Centennial, and the Warriors against Ravenwood).