The ECHL Board of Governors has approved a transfer of home territory for the Evansville, Indiana franchise to Jacksonville, Florida. The Jacksonville IceMen will begin play in October as part of the ECHL's 30th Anniversary season.
From the Press Release provided by SMG Jacksonville:
Pro Hockey Comes to Jacksonville
ECHL Unanimously Approves Team Transfer
Jacksonville, FL – City of Jacksonville officials joined ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna to welcome the Jacksonville IceMen to the City and League. Joined by IceMen ownership, including CEO Ron Geary; Team President Bob Ohrablo and Jacksonville based Frank Ruperto, the group announced that this fall, the Jacksonville IceMen will begin play at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
The team will play a 36-game regular season home schedule against South Division teams from Atlanta, Cincinnati, Naples/Fort Myers, Orlando, and Greenville and Charleston, SC, as well as the rest of the 28-team ECHL, which extends from Jacksonville to Anchorage, Alaska.
“The City of Jacksonville is thrilled to welcome the Jacksonville IceMen to our sports and entertainment landscape,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “Jacksonville is a great sports city and we are excited about the opportunity to bring professional hockey to our Veterans Memorial Arena.”
The ECHL serves as a development league for the National Hockey League.
“On behalf of the ECHL Board of Governors, we are pleased to welcome the Jacksonville IceMen to the ECHL,” proclaimed Brian McKenna, the ECHL’s Commissioner. “The continuing growth of Jacksonville, along with the experienced and enthusiastic ownership group, the wonderful venue and support of the city officials, creates a very positive outlook for the future of pro hockey in Jacksonville.”
“Jacksonville is a natural fit for professional hockey,” said Ron Geary, who has owned the IceMen team for the past eight years in Evansville, Indiana. “We looked at the enthusiastic support current teams receive here and are excited to join them in providing Jacksonville fans with solid family-priced sports entertainment.”
“We are honored to bring professional hockey back to Jacksonville,” added Bob Ohrablo. “We are committed to insuring that everyone who attends IceMen games will enjoy a competitive team and plenty of entertainment surrounding our games – all at family affordable prices. In addition we will insure that the IceMen organization becomes a solid corporate citizen in Jacksonville.”
The IceMen are supported by a Jacksonville IceMen Advisory Group that includes community leaders such as:
John Delaney (former Mayor, President-UNF)
Toney Sleiman (Principle, Sleiman Enterprises)
Frank Ruperto (Jacksonville IceMen partner and CFO/SVP Rayonier Advanced Materials) Mike Moses (Michaelson Group Real Estate)
Tony Mahfoud (Eisman & Russo)
Gilles Richard (Jax Ice and Sportsplex)
Dr. Ted Wetzork (Kernan Chiropractic Centre)
Bill Adams (Gunster)
Elaine Brown (Mayor, City of Neptune)
Eric Andeer (Morgan and Morgan)
“There are many people that have helped make this happen,” added Ohrablo. “They include our owner/members, special advisors to the organization Terry Delahunty and Gerald Higgins and we are very fortunate to have former Barracuda defensemen and general manager, Gilles Richard.”
The IceMen will shortly unveil its Faceoff Jacksonville which will be a series of exciting events leading up to Opening Night in October 2017. More information on season memberships is available at www.jacksonvilleicemen.com.