IceMen moving to Florida, will begin play in fall

The ECHL announced Wednesday that the league has approved the move of the Evansville IceMen to Jacksonville, Fla.

The Jacksonville IceMen will begin play in October.

It will be the ECHL’s second foray into Jacksonville – the Lizard Kings played in the city from 1995-2000. Most recently, the city was home to the Jacksonville Barracudas of the Southern Professional Hockey League. This will bring hockey back to the city after a nine-year absence.

The move also gives the ECHL an increased presence in Florida, as the IceMen will join the Florida Everblades – based in the Fort Myers suburb of Estero – and the Orlando Solar Bears.

The IceMen previously played in Evansville, but went into a one-year voluntary suspension after lease negotiations with their home arena, the Ford Center, broke down. Evansville is currently home to an SPHL team.

The IceMen will give the ECHL 29 teams, as they will join the expansion Worcester Railers in the league next season.