JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Icemen, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and AHL’s Manitoba Moose, announced Tuesday that El Acquisitions, a group led by Ron Geary, has sold the Icemen organization to SZH Hockey LLC led by Jacksonville resident Andrew Kaufmann and includes Icemen President Bob Ohrablo. Tuesday’s announcement was made during a press conference hosted by the JAX Chamber in downtown Jacksonville.
“I want to thank Ron Geary and our past partners for sharing my vision for hockey in Jacksonville.” said Ohrablo. “From the beginning, our priority was to have a team locally owned. The addition of Andy Kaufmann completes that vision and we are excited what Andy brings to the Icemen organization and to the region.”
Kaufmann now becomes the CEO and Governor of the Icemen.
“My family and I are excited about working with the Icemen organization,” said Kaufmann. “We look forward to growing Icemen Nation to new heights in the years to come. My role will be serving as a steward for what is the community’s team.”
Kaufmann is a successful entrepreneur and businessman who started in his family business (Revere Supply Company, a manufacturer of marine survival products) while in high school, working for his dad and compensated with baseball cards. After graduating Emerson College and a stint at Radio Disney in Boston, he moved back to New Jersey and assumed full responsibilities of business operations in 2001.
In 2010, Kaufmann acquired UST Brands. He spearheaded and oversaw all aspects of this venture which became a leading provider of high-quality survival and camping equipment with distribution nationally through such retail giants as Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, West Marine, Advance Auto Parts and Meijer. Through Kaufmann’s leadership, Walmart quickly recognized and ultimately sold UST.
After selling UST Brands, he acquired Majority Ownership of the Fort Myers Miracle Baseball team (Single A) on January 8th, 2019. Andy determined that his next business would be a long-term family business where he can teach what he knows to his two sons as they grow. He decided to combine two of his lifelong passions, business and sports. Andy, his wife Farah, and their sons Sawyer and Zachary live and are very active in the Jacksonville community.
The Icemen will open their third season of competition in the ECHL at home on October 12 against Greenville.
“On behalf of the League, I’d like to thank Ron Geary for bringing the team to Jacksonville and giving the community the chance to experience ECHL hockey,” said ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin. “With the success of the Icemen and their fan base, I look forward to even more growth with the excitement and energy that Andy is going to bring to the team, as well as his local presence in the community.”
Tuesday’s press conference took place at the JAX Chamber in downtown Jacksonville. President & CEO of the chamber Daniel Davis was on hand for the announcement.
“Jacksonville is attractive and it’s not just the business climate that is drawing people to town,” said Davis. “The sports and entertainment options we have here are incredible and the IceMen’s announcement today is another big part of that draw.”
League approval of the sale followed negotiations between Ron Geary of El Acquisitions and Andrew Kaufmann were managed by Tommy George and The Sports Advisory Group. The Sports Advisory Group represents clients in the sale and acquisition of professional sports franchises, providing services to current sports team owners, prospective team owners and investors, management companies, league administrators, municipalities and venue operators.