Sunday, October 1, 2017

Did Jacksonville Never Have Ice Hockey Before?

I saw this ad that I clicked on that was about the Jacksonville Icemen. The website seemed to be mostly about the legacy beginning, leading me to believe this is the initial year of the team.

This assumption was confirmed after some searching, though the city did have a hockey team named the Lizard Kings for about five years. After reading a bit about the history of the ECHL, I have to wonder a bit about this whole minor league hockey thing.



In fact, there is no longer an original team left in the ECHL, which used to be the East Coast Hockey League. After 30 years, every city and franchise is different. So I wonder what the investment tends to be, what the reward tends to be, and who tends to pay for all this moving around.

The latest team to come to Jacksonville is from Muskegon and Evansville and have been called Fury, Lumberjacks, and then Icemen, which ironically has remained the name as the team has headed for a warmer location. The old team had been the Louisville Icehawks before becoming the Lizard Kings.

In a bit of a reversal, the Jacksonville Barracudas kept the same name but changed leagues three times during its existence. It's not a Jacksonville phenomenon, as it seems these teams move a around a lot. But that's also why I'm not rushing out to buy any Icemen jerseys any time soon. My home town of Milwaukee has had the Admirals for my whole life. It's not like I cared a lot or went to games, but at least we knew that was the team. I feel bad for hockey fans in Jacksonville, but I hope this latest team sticks around for a while.

History of Jacksonville hockey teams

1964 to 1972 Jacksonville Rockets
1972 to 1974 Jacksonville Barons
1992–1996 Jacksonville Bullets
1995–2000 Jacksonville Lizard Kings
2002–2008 Jacksonville Barracudas
2017–present Jacksonville IceMen