The Florida Everblades are a professional minor league ice hockey team based in Estero, Florida, in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area. They play in the ECHL and are affiliated with the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) starting in the 2022–23 ECHL season. Their home games are played at Hertz Arena.
|Home arena||Hertz Arena|
|Colors||Green, white, and navy blue|
|General manager||Craig Brush|
|Head coach||Brad Ralph|
|Affiliate(s)||Florida Panthers (NHL)|
Charlotte Checkers (AHL)
|Regular season titles||4 (1999–00, 2008–09, 2017–18, 2020–21)|
|Division titles||8 (1999–00, 2006–07, 2008–09, 2014–15, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2018–19, 2021–22)|
|Conference titles||5 (2003–04, 2004–05, 2011–12, 2017–18, 2021–22)|
|Kelly Cups||2 (2011–12, 2021–22)|
The Everblades were founded in 1998. They play in the South Division of the Eastern Conference in the ECHL. They have failed to qualify for the playoffs just once in team history (2013–14) and have made five appearances in the Kelly Cup finals, winning in 2012 and 2022.
The team was founded in 1998 by Craig Brush, Peter Karmanos Jr., and Thomas Thewes and was named based on the Florida Everglades. The Everblades' logo features a gator-head design fused in the form of an ice skate. Barnstorm Creative Group, a Vancouver graphic design company, designed the logo. Barnstorm was contacted by Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos Jr., who came up with the idea of choosing the Everblades' colors as blue and green, in tribute to the Hartford Whalers team that Karmanos moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. The Everblades' inaugural home opener featured a pre-game ceremony in which a large alligator was brought onto the ice to pay tribute to the team's name and logo, as well as Florida's vast population of reptile species. The Everblades won their first Kelly Cup on May 23, 2012, against the Las Vegas Wranglers. Brandon MacLean scored the championship-winning-goal in overtime during game five. Everblades goaltender, John Muse, was named the most valuable player of the 2012 Kelly Cup playoffs.
2004 American Conference finalsEdit
In game five of the 2004 American Conference finals, the Everblades faced the Reading Royals in the final game of an epic series. Florida won the first two games at home, but Reading evened the series at home, the next two of the best-of-five series. In game five, the score was tied at the end of regulation, 2–2, so the game was sent to overtime. John McNabb of the Everblades scored on a breakaway to defeat the Royals in front of a record crowd of 7,080 fans at Hertz Arena.
2005 playoff brawlEdit
One famous event that stands out among Blades' fans was during the 2005 ECHL playoffs. With the Everblades hosting the Greenville Grrrowl on April 22, 2005, for the first game of the American Conference semifinals, the teams engaged in a third-period line brawl that would see both teams combine for 197 minutes in penalties.
The brawl stemmed from previous incidents throughout the game. Prior to the brawl, Everblades forward Greg Hornby checked Greenville's Vladimir Gusev hard into the boards behind the net, causing Gusev to leave the game injured. As a result, the pace of the game, as well as checking, would pick up.
With the Blades up 4–1 with under six minutes to play in the third period, Greenville pest Krys Barch screened the net during a Greenville shooting attempt. Everblades defenceman Tim O'Connell checked Barch from behind numerous times, hoping to clear him from in front of the net. Barch, having been fed up with being pressured, turned around, attempting to sucker-punch O'Connell. Instead, O'Connell quickly skated away from the crease before Barch turned around. Barch ended up punching Everblades goalie Tyler MacKay. O'Connell then jumped on top of Barch, and all the players on the ice dropped the gloves for a wild line brawl that saw Florida goalie MacKay and others getting ejected for fighting.
After the mayhem, Craig Kowalski took MacKay's place as netminder. Shortly thereafter, the Everblades' Simon Tremblay fought Greenville's Adam Nightingale as the last fight of the evening. The Everblades went on to win the game, 4–1, and eventually to sweep the series, three games to none. Barch was assessed a one-game suspension for his role in the brawl.
Game two featured no fights and the Everblades won in overtime, 3–2.
2012 Kelly Cup FinalsEdit
Florida won the 2012 Kelly Cup playoffs with a 4–1 victory at home in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 7,290. The first period saw Las Vegas Wranglers goalie Joe Fallon beaten by Justin Shugg and Mike Ratchuk, but Las Vegas edged back to even the score by the third, with Ash Goldie and Peter MacArthur beating John Muse to force the overtime. At 4:54 into the overtime, after Ryan Donald passed to Matt Beca, who in turn sent the puck to Brandon MacLean, who beat Fallon and secured the victory.
The win earned Florida the 2012 Kelly Cup and secured a perfect home record of 11–0 in the postseason (two victories over Greenville and three each over Elmira, Kalamazoo, and Las Vegas). Additionally, John Muse earned the Kelly Cup Finals MVP award.
In April 2013, owner Peter Karmanos, Jr. announced he would be selling the team along with Germain Arena to "simplify things" in his life, as he had just retired from the company he founded, Compuware. The team was made for sale and was being shopped by Park Lane, a sports investment-banking firm that specializes in the sale of sports teams. Since that time, no formal announcements have taken place on the progression of the sale. In 2018, Karmanos gave up majority control of the Hurricanes to new majority owner Thomas Dundon. After the 2018–19 season, the Everblades dropped the Hurricanes affiliation for the first time and partnered with the Nashville Predators. It was then announced on August 5, 2019, that Karmanos had sold both the team and arena to David Hoffmann, a Naples, Florida, resident and real estate investor.
Through the Everblades' history, they have had four anniversary logos: the fifth anniversary logo in 2002–03, the 10th anniversary logo in 2007–08, the 15th anniversary logo in 2012–13, and the 20th anniversary logo in the 2017–18 season.
|1998–99||Southern||Southeast||2nd||70||45||20||0||5||95||0.679||253||180||Bob Ferguson||6||3||3||Won conference quarterfinal 3–0 vs. Birmingham|
Lost conference semifinal 0–3 vs. Mississippi
|1999–00||Southern||Southeast||1st||70||53||15||0||2||108||0.771||277||181||Bob Ferguson||5||2||3||Lost conference quarterfinal 2–3 vs. Augusta|
|2000–01||Southern||Southeast||2nd||72||38||26||0||8||84||0.583||236||242||Bob Ferguson||5||2||3||Lost conference quarterfinal 2–3 vs. Pee Dee|
|2001–02||Southern||Southeast||5th||72||37||27||0||8||82||0.569||207||221||Gerry Fleming||6||3||3||Won division wildcard 1–0 vs. South Carolina|
Lost conference quarterfinal 2–3 vs. Greenville
|2002–03||Southern||Southeast||4th||72||35||23||0||14||84||0.583||239||243||Gerry Fleming||1||0||1||Lost division wildcard 0–1 vs. Greenville|
|2003–04||Eastern||Southern||3rd||72||37||25||0||10||84||0.583||239||221||Gerry Fleming||18||10||8||Won division semifinal 3–2 vs. Roanoke|
Won Division Finals 3–0 vs. South Carolina
Won conference final 3–2 vs. Reading
Lost Kelly Cup final 1–4 vs. Idaho
|2004–05||American||South||2nd||72||42||20||4||6||94||0.653||237||192||Gerry Fleming||19||12||7||Won conference quarterfinal 3–1 vs. South Carolina|
Won in Conference Semifinals 3–0 vs. Greenville
Won conference final 4–2 vs. Charlotte
Lost Kelly Cup final 2–4 vs. Trenton
|2005–06||American||South||2nd||72||48||20||3||1||100||0.694||267||208||Gerry Fleming||8||4||4||Won division semifinal 3–1 vs. Greenville|
Lost division final 1–3 vs. Gwinnett
|2006–07||American||South||1st||72||44||22||4||2||94||0.653||272||212||Gerry Fleming||16||10||6||Won division semifinal 3–0 vs. Charlotte|
Won division final 4–2 vs. Texas
Lost conference final 3–4 vs. Dayton
|2007–08||American||South||4th||72||39||25||4||4||86||0.597||230||198||Gerry Fleming||3||0||3||Lost division quarterfinal 0–3 vs. Columbia|
|2008–091||American||South||1st||71||49||17||2||3||103||0.725||269||187||Malcolm Cameron||11||6||5||Won division semifinal 4–1 vs. Gwinnett|
Lost division final 2–4 vs. South Carolina
|2009–10||American||South||3rd||72||38||25||4||5||85||0.590||234||221||Malcolm Cameron||9||3||6||Won conference quarterfinal 3–2 vs. Elmira|
Lost conference semifinal 0–4 vs. Reading
|2010–11||Eastern||South||3rd||72||37||30||1||4||79||0.549||236||222||Greg Poss||4||1||3||Lost conference quarterfinal 1–3 vs. Kalamazoo|
|2011–12||Eastern||South||3rd||72||39||26||2||5||85||0.590||260||218||Greg Poss||18||15||3||Won conference quarterfinal 3–0 vs. Greenville|
Won conference semifinal 4–1 vs. Elmira
Won conference final 4–1 vs. Kalamazoo
Won Kelly Cup final 4–1 vs. Las Vegas
|2012–13||Eastern||South||2nd||72||39||22||4||7||89||0.618||260||241||Greg Poss||13||7||6||Won conference quarterfinal 4–2 vs. Elmira|
Lost conference semifinal 3–4 vs. Reading
|2013–14||Eastern||South||4th||72||37||27||3||5||82||0.569||240||222||Greg Poss||Did not qualify for 2014 Kelly Cup playoffs|
|2014–15||Eastern||East||1st||72||49||16||2||5||105||0.729||267||208||Greg Poss||12||6||6||Won division semifinals 4–2 vs. Orlando|
Lost division final 2–4 vs. South Carolina
|2015–16||Eastern||South||2nd||72||46||23||1||2||95||.660||226||175||Greg Poss||6||2||4||Lost conference quarterfinals 2–4 vs. Wheeling|
|2016–17||Eastern||South||1st||72||46||21||2||3||97||.674||275||219||Brad Ralph||12||5||7||Won division semifinals 4–3 vs. Orlando|
Lost division finals 1–4 vs. South Carolina
|2017–18||Eastern||South||1st||72||53||13||2||4||112||.778||261||171||Brad Ralph||21||15||6||Won division semifinals 4–0 vs. Atlanta|
Won division finals 4–1 vs. Orlando
Won conference finals 4–1 vs. Adirondack
Lost Kelly Cup finals 3–4 vs. Colorado
|2018–19||Eastern||South||1st||72||50||16||5||1||106||.736||276||181||Brad Ralph||16||9||7||Won division semifinals 4–2 vs. Jacksonville|
Won division finals 4–1 vs. Orlando
Lost conference finals 1–4 vs. Newfoundland
|2019–202||Eastern||South||—||62||43||13||4||2||92||.742||227||156||Brad Ralph||Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic|
|2020–21||Eastern||—||1st||69||42||19||5||3||92||.667||233||193||Brad Ralph||5||2||3||Lost conference semifinals 2–3 vs. South Carolina|
|2021–22||Eastern||South||1st||72||42||20||6||4||94||.653||243||187||Brad Ralph||20||16||4||Won division semifinals 4–2 vs. Greenville|
Won division finals 4–0 vs. Jacksonville
Won conference finals 4–1 vs. Newfoundland
Won Kelly Cup Finals 4–1 vs. Toledo
1 The 2008–09 team played 71 games because of scheduling changes caused by the Augusta Lynx and Fresno Falcons ceasing operations mid-season. Four of the five teams (Florida, Charlotte, South Carolina, Mississippi) played 71 games, with Gwinnett playing 72.
Individual and Team HonorsEdit
|9||Ernie Hartlieb||LW||2004–2011||October 19, 2012|
|10||Reggie Berg||C||1999–2007||October 19, 2007|
|14||Tom Buckley||C||1999–2004||October 19, 2007|
Berg and Buckley's numbers were retired during a pre-game ceremony on October 19, 2007, as the Everblades hosted the Mississippi Sea Wolves, in what would be the Sea Wolves' first official regular season game after being placed on a two-year hiatus due to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Banners made with their jersey numbers were hung to the rafters of Germain Arena.
Hartlieb's number was retired in a ceremony before a game against the Orlando Solar Bears on October 19, 2012. Hartlieb was presented with an ECHL Championship ring (he filled in on with the team in the 2011-12 regular season, but did not appear in the playoffs), and hoisted the Kelly Cup. A banner made with his number was hung to the rafters of Germain Arena next to Berg and Buckley's.
Florida Everblades alumni that advanced to play in the NHL after playing for the club:
- Mike Angelidis
- Keith Aucoin
- Clark Bishop
- Patrick Bordeleau
- Eric Boulton
- David Brine
- Brett Carson
- Scott Darling
- Kristers Gudlevskis
- Matt Hendricks
- Hayden Hodgson
- Tanner Jeannot
- Ty Jones
- Anton Khudobin
- Connor Knapp
- Greg Koehler
- Greg Kuznik
- Drew Larman
- Chad LaRose
- Martin Lojek
- Steven Lorentz
- Brett Lysak
- Jeff Malott
- Eric Manlow
- Kenndal McArdle
- Jason Morgan
- Alex Nedeljkovic
- Tommy Novak
- Doug O'Brien
- Ryan O'Byrne
- Justin Peters
- Justin Shugg
- Cole Smith
- Dalton Smith
- Jared Staal
- Mark Stuart
- Damian Surma
- Brody Sutter
- Rob Zepp
Florida Everblades that played in the NHL before playing with the team:
- Akim Aliu
- Ken Appleby
- Justin Auger
- Chris Beckford-Tseu
- Brad Brown
- Kevin Brown
- Barry Brust
- Brett Bulmer
- Mike Card
- Brad Church
- Matt Corrente
- Kevin Czuczman
- Stefan Della Rovere
- Nicolas Deschamps
- Jon DiSalvatore
- David Dziurzynski
- Brad Fast
- Paul Healey
- Riku Helenius
- Shane Hnidy
- Brayden Irwin
- Bryce Lampman
- Pat MacLeod
- Tom McCollum
- Grant McNeill
- Mike Morrison
- Kevin Quick
- Brian Rafalski
- Remi Royer
- Richard Shulmistra
- Matthew Spiller
- Nick Tarnasky
- Kris Vernarsky
- Allen York
Franchise records and leadersEdit
All-time franchise record holdersEdit
- Games Played: Mathieu Roy - 374
- Goals: John McCarron - 151
- Assists: Tom Buckley - 207
- Points: John McCarron - 354
- Power play goals: Mathieu Roy - 40
- Penalty minutes: Mathieu Roy - 560
- Goaltender Games Played: Marc Magliarditi - 139
- Goaltender Wins: Marc Magliarditi - 81
- Goaltender Goals against average (Min 15 games): Tyler MacKay - 1.92
- Goaltender Save percentage (Min 15 games): Anthony Peters - .934
Individual records and streaksEdit
- Most goals - game: 4 (5 times, last by John McCarron, Dec. 3, 2016 vs. Orlando)
- Most assists - game: 4 (12 times, last by Brandon Fortunato, Dec. 18, 2019 vs. Atlanta)
- Most points - game: 6 (twice, both by Jacob Micflikier, last on Nov. 5, 2009 at Charlotte)
- Most shots - game: 12 (3 times, last by Kevin Baker, Jan. 13, 2009 at Charlotte)
- Most penalty minutes - game: 37 (Kyle Kos Mar. 22, 2003 at South Carolina)
- Most saves - game: 58 (Rob Zepp, Dec. 27, 2003 at Gwinnett)
- Most saves - period: 25 (twice, last by Rob Zepp, Dec. 27, 2003 at Gwinnett (1st))
- Consecutive game goal scoring streak: 9 (Keith Anderson 10/18/03 – 11/8/03 and Brendan O'Donnell 3/25/16 – 04/09/16)
- Consecutive game assist streak: 10 (Daniel Sisca (12/9/05 - 12/28/05))
- Consecutive game point streak: 16 (Tom Buckley (10/26/01 - 12/7/01))
- Consecutive games started streak: 15 (twice, last by Craig Kowalski (2/10/07 - 3/10/07))[clarification needed]
- Longest winning streak: 9 (Tyler MacKay (2/25/05 - 3/19/05))
- Longest unbeaten streak: 11 (Tyler MacKay (2/19/05 - 3/19/05) (9-0-2))
- Longest shutout streak: 163:43 (Randy Petruk (11/3/01 - 12/14/01))
ECHL Hall of FameEdit
Florida Everblades President and General Manager Craig Brush was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame on February 5, 2016. Brush has served as the team's President and General Manager since the team's inception in 1998 and he oversees all aspects of both the hockey club and the sports complex. Brush also served as the Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors for three seasons from 2003 through 2006.
Awards and trophiesEdit
E.A. Gingher Memorial TrophyEdit
The Everblades have won the E.A. Gingher Memorial Trophy five times, in 2004, 2005, 2012, 2018 and 2022. In 2004, the trophy was given to the champion of the Eastern Conference; the Everblades beat the Reading Royals 3–2 to win the conference but lost the Kelly Cup to the Idaho Steelheads. In 2005, the Gingher trophy was given to the American Conference champion. The Everblades beat the Charlotte Checkers 4–2 to win the conference before losing to the Trenton Titans in the Cup finals. In 2012, the Everblades won the Gingher Memorial Trophy by defeating the Kalamazoo Wings 4–1 in the Eastern Conference finals and went on to win the Kelly Cup over the Las Vegas Wranglers. In 2018, the Everblades went 12–2 through three rounds of conference playoffs and won the Gingher Memorial Trophy before losing the Kelly Cup in seven games to the Colorado Eagles. In 2022, the Everblades went 12–3 through three rounds of conference playoffs and won the Gingher Memorial Trophy by defeating the Newfoundland Growlers 4–1 in the Eastern Conference finals and went on to win the Kelly Cup in five games against the Toledo Walleye.
In the 1999–00, 2008–09, 2017–18, and 2020–21 seasons, the Everblades won the Brabham Cup, a trophy given to the team that has the best regular season record in the league. The Everblades took the trophy with 108 points in 1999–2000 and 112 points in 2017–18. The 2008–09 and 2020–21 trophies were awarded to the team with the best points percentage due to imbalanced schedules, where the Everblades had 0.725 and 0.667 winning percentages, respectively.
The Florida Everblades won the Kelly Cup in 2012 taking the series 4 games to 1 over the Las Vegas Wranglers. A decade later, they won the Cup in 2022 in another five game series, defeating the Toledo Walleye 4 games to 1.
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