EVANSVILLE, IN – The Evansville IceMen are preparing for their final two home games in Evansville. The curtain will come down on the Evansville IceMen and the future of the Owensboro IceMen should be considered shaky at best. No one can say with any level of certainty what the future holds for the team, but we do know that Friday against Cincinnati and Saturday against Tulsa are Evansville’s last two games in the ECHL for the foreseeable future.
During much of the lease negotiation process and shortly thereafter I used a lot of analogies in putting into context how I personally was feeling about all of it. I think life is often easier to understand when I compare it against something else. The most common theme I wrote about was a marriage that was dissolving. I think much of how I felt about that analogy still holds true.
There were very ugly feelings when it was finally announced the team would be moving. When the IceMen made it clear they had their new interest in Owensboro, Evansville hockey fans immediately went into rebound mode with the new SPHL franchise that will fill our home next winter. Not lost on me is some of the emotional scaring that I’ve seen on social media from our current team being carried forward to the new team. There is still some baggage hockey fans in Evansville have not gotten over as we try to plunge into our new relationship. Some harsh words are being said by the IceMen about our new team and the divorce is officially ugly.
I think at some point in the entire process, healing has to happen and that’s some of what this final weekend is about for me. I’m not suggesting to anyone that I know how they should feel or how they should act. I am saying that in any relationship that doesn’t work, there’s usually a “How did we get here?” moment. Maybe you see that person one last time and you’re reminded everything they had done for you and you had done for them. It doesn’t change the path that either of you are currently on, but for a moment you’re sad that it’s over and you know you’ll miss them. You shared something together.
I don’t think I’m alone in looking at this weekend as being special. The Ford Center has sat largely empty this season. I assumed there would be no issue when I called the IceMen office this week to see about getting another ticket next to my current seats for Saturday night. I was told there was little available in the entire section. That shows me there are a lot of people who wish to say goodbye.
It’s going to be an emotional weekend at the Ford Center. I have no idea what it will be like when the final horn sounds and the game is over. I suspect there will be a few tears shed. We will all file back out of the doors and into our cars. The lights will go off on the ice rink. The Ford Center will be dark and next year the IceMen will be too. Goodbye IceMen. Thank you for the memories.