Did you know Tennessee got its first professional hockey team in 1961?
That was over 60 years ago!
The Volunteer State has had several pro hockey teams over the years. In 1997, they finally got their first team in the National Hockey League (NHL).
The question is, what hockey teams are in Tennessee?
Well, in this article, I’ll show you what pro hockey teams are in Tennessee and what college and junior teams compete in the state (including multiple D3 hockey teams).
Pssssst! Are you curious about hockey teams in other U.S. states? You can learn more by checking out our other posts: What Hockey Team Is in Florida, What Hockey Team Is in Colorado, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In Tennessee:
Tennessee has two professional hockey teams: Nashville Predators (NHL) and Knoxville Ice Bears (SPHL). The top college hockey teams include Middle Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and Vanderbilt University (ACHA D3). The top junior ice hockey team is the Nashville Spartans of the USPHL (Tier III league).
Does Tennessee Have a Hockey Team?
So, does the Volunteer State have a hockey team?
Yes! The top hockey team in Tennessee is the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League (NHL).
Tennessee also has one other professional team: Knoxville Ice Bears of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).
The top college hockey teams in Tennessee include Middle Tennessee State University,
University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and Vanderbilt University (which are all ACHA D3 teams).
The top junior ice hockey team in Tennessee is The Nashville Spartans, a Tier III team in the Premier division of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL).
How Many Hockey Teams Are in Tennessee?
Tennessee has had professional hockey since 1961. Over the years, they’ve had dozens of different teams come through the state. In total, the state currently has two pro hockey teams, three varsity college hockey teams, and two junior ice hockey teams.
Does Tennessee Have an NHL Team?
Wondering if you’ll find an NHL hockey team in Tennessee?
You certainly will! Tennessee got its first NHL team in the late 90s: The Nashville Predators.
The Preds compete in the Central Division of the NHL’s Western Conference. The team was founded in 1997 and had its inaugural season in the 1998-99 season. In 2003-04, after their fifth season, the Predators finally made their first Stanley Cup playoff appearance.
The Predators have one Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2017 when they faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unfortunately, the Preds lost in six games, making the Penguins back-to-back Stanley Cup champions (and giving Crosby his third cup in 8 years).
In 2017-18, the Predators won their first Central Division title. Even more impressive, they won their first-ever President’s Trophy—an award given to the NHL team with the best regular season record.
Some of the most famous Nashville Predators players include:
- Roman Josi (Active)
- Shea Weber
- Paul Kariya
- Pekka Rinne
- Filip Forsberg (Active)
- Ryan Suter
- Mike Fisher
- P.K. Subban
- Peter Forsberg
- Kimmo Timonen
- Tomas Vokoun
- David Legwand
- Jordin Tootoo
What Hockey Teams Are in Tennessee?
So, what hockey teams are in Tennessee?
In total, The Volunteer State has two professional ice hockey teams. Tennessee also has 3 college hockey teams, and two junior ice hockey teams as listed below:
Tennessee has one team in the National Hockey League (NHL): The Nashville Predators.
So, where do they play? The Predators play their home games at the Bridgestone Arena located at 501 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203 in downtown St. Louis.
While Tennessee has an NHL team, they don’t have an American Hockey League (AHL) team. The AHL is a high-level professional hockey league just one step below the NHL.
The Nashville Predators (NHL) minor league farm team in the AHL is the Milwaukee Admirals located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Tennessee has one professional ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). This is a low-level professional hockey league just one step below the ECHL.
What is the name of the Tennessee SPHL team? Knoxville Ice Bears.
So, where do they play? The Ice Bears play their home games at Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum located at 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave, Knoxville, TN.
D3 College Hockey
Tennessee has three varsity college hockey teams that compete within the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA):
- Middle Tennessee State University (ACHA Men’s D3)
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville (ACHA Men’s D3)
- Vanderbilt University (ACHA Men’s D3)
While Tennesse is better known for its college hockey, it has two junior ice hockey teams in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL): The Nashville Spartans has two teams: one in the Premier Division and one in the Elite Division—both Tier III junior teams.
Is There High School Hockey in Tennessee?
Yes, there is high school hockey in Tennessee. While there are high school hockey teams around the state, they don’t have a single governing body for the state.
The top high school hockey league is the Greater Nashville Area Scholastic Hockey. The league has sixteen teams split between two divisions: Preds Cup and Hine Cup.
Preds Cup Division:
- Mt Juliet-Green Hill-Lebanon
- Father Ryan
- Pope Prep-CPA-GCA
- Montgomery Bell Acad
- Rutherford Co. Rampage
Hine Cup Division:
- Tennesee Outlaws
- Station Camp-Liberty Creek
Is Hockey Popular in Tennessee?
So, do they play hockey in Tennessee?
Definitely! But.. just how popular is hockey in the Volunteer State? To find out just how popular hockey is in Tennessee, let’s look at some data!
In 2022, WalletHub crunched the numbers to determine which hockey cities were best for fans of the sport. In the study, WalletHub ranked the top 72 cities in the U.S. They worked with 21 key indicators of what made a city a “good” hockey city. Different indicators included stadium capacity, ticket prices, and the performance of major teams, among many others.
Tennessee had one city that ranked in the top 72: Nashville. The city ranks #23.
Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023).