Major news out of the minor leagues today! The Evansville IceMen, who are sitting out the 2016-17 season due to arena disputes, have announced they will relocate to Jacksonville, Florida next fall and begin play as the Jacksonville IceMen.
If the logo looks familiar, it should. Nothing but the city name has changed.
Since you've made it this far down the page, you may be interested to know a bit about the history of this franchise. Founded in Michigan 25 years ago, the team was the known as the Muskegon Fury and later the Lumberjacks for a couple of years in the International Hockey League until it folded in 2010.
The franchise was accepted into the ECHL and named the Evansville IceMen. They played in Indiana until the end of last season when arena issues cropped up. First they couldn't work out a new deal with their home at the Ford Center. Then they made a deal in nearby Owensboro, Kentucky where building upgrades were needed. The plan was to sit out a year while renovations were made and return to action in 2017-18.
By September, the Owensboro deal had fallen through and the IceMen were seeking another new home. That's when owner Ron Geary took on some investors from Jacksonville and decided the team would move there instead. And here we are.
The IceMen will become the third ECHL team in Florida, joining the Florida Everblades and Orlando Solar Bears. And that's stiff branding competition for a team pathetically named the IceMen — going up against two of (arguably) the best identities in minor league hockey.