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UNF Spinnaker

Jacksonville Icemen to become Rangers affiliate team

When the Evansville Icemen relocated in 2017, Jacksonville had it’s very own hockey team for the first time in nearly a decade. Since coming to the River City, the Icemen have been an affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. However, a recent announcement has this set to change.

The Icemen held a press conference on Tuesday to announce that they will now be an affiliate of the New York Rangers. The Rangers are one of the NHL’s founding members, having operated since 1926. 

Jacksonville will now serve as a home for the Rangers to develop players, just as a minor league team would for a MLB franchise. This is exciting news for the city, as the Rangers have an interesting pool of prospects. A recent rebuild has seen the organization acquire exciting, young players that will be taking the ice for Jacksonville.

This upcoming season will be filled with changes for the Rangers as an organization. Not only will they have a new ECHL affiliate, but they will have a new head coach at the NHL level. Gerard Gallant is most recently known as being the first coach of the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in their first ever season.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the exciting future of the Icemen. Plans were announced earlier this year to overhaul the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex, turning the older facility into a bustling new center for community fun. The newly-named Jacksonville Icemen Igloo will house two ice rinks, a sports bar, and an esports arena.

In addition to the new facility, the team will also host the 2022 ECHL All-Star Game. Jacksonville residents will get to see the best and brightest stars of the league face off at VyStar Veteran’s Memorial Arena. 

It’s safe to say that this is an exciting time for hockey in Jacksonville. The Icemen missed the ECHL playoffs this season, but they will look to rebound in the 2021-22 campaign. Now affiliated with one of the NHL’s most well-known franchises, the excitement will only continue to build.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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