JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The opening games are set and hockey will return to Jacksonville tonight after a nine-month layoff. There is a lot of excitement around this group of players. Let’s give you a preview and some storylines to watch.
Initial Schedule (Home games are in BOLD and all times eastern):
Dec 11 – Jacksonville @ Florida – 7:30 pm ET
Dec 12 – Greenville @ JACKSONVILLE – 7:00 pm ET (Game on The Sin Bin app)
Dec 18 – South Carolina @ JACKSONVILLE – 7:00 pm ET
Dec 19 – Jacksonville @ South Carolina – 6:05 pm ET
Dec 26 – Jacksonville @ Florida – 7:00 pm ET
Dec 28 – Florida @ JACKSONVILLE – 7:00 pm ET
Dec 29 – Jacksonville @ Orlando – 7:00 pm ET
Jan 2 – South Carolina @ JACKSONVILLE – 7:00 pm ET
Jan 9 – Orlando @ JACKSONVILLE – 7:00 pm ET
Jan 13 – Jacksonville @ Florida – 7:30 pm ET
Head Coach: The Icemen will again be coached by Jason Christie, who has been the head coach for the team’s tenure in Jacksonville. In his 18th season behind the bench, Christie has a record of 633-449-129. Christie’s 633 wins make him the league’s all-time wins leader.
Captain: Jacksonville has not, as of this writing, announced their leadership.
Last Season: Over 60 games, the team had a 24-29-6-1 record, awarding them 55 points.
Hot or Not?
Though new to the Icemen, netminder Eamon McAdam will likely make a significant impact on the roster. The Kelly Cup champion with Newfoundland in 2019 will instantly bring stability between the pipes for the Icemen. In 55 American Hockey League games, McAdam has struggled some, compiling a 29-16-5 mark, with a 3.67 goals against average, and a .881 save percentage. However, in over 100 ECHL appearances, he has a 49-37-13 record, 2.96 goals against average and a .908 save percentage with five shutouts.
- Brendan Warren (F) – In 47 games played last season, the rookie forward had 28 points (14G, 14A)
- Jacob Cederholm (D) – The steady defenseman finished last season with seven assists and was a minus-3 on a team that allowed 206 goals
- Cameron Critchlow (F) – The forward returns to Jacksonville after a season in the EIHL with Manchester. There, he posted 29 points in 45 games
- Abbott Girduckis (F) – After posting 34 points (15G, 19A) with the Toledo Walleye last season
- Jason Binkley (D) – The veteran defenseman returns to the ECHL after a stint in the EIHL a season ago. In 275 career ECHL games, he has 27 goals, 100 assists (127 points) and is a plus-41.
What to Watch For?
- Jacksonville has three NHL/AHL contracted players on their roster. Do they pick up more contracted players once the NHL/AHL logjam breaks free?
- Tight defenses have been hallmarks of good Jason Christie teams. After allowing 206 goals a season ago, do the Icemen tighten it up?
In addition to new to Jacksonville players, the team has added some new owners as well. A partnership with Tim Tebow (yes, THAT Tim Tebow), Myles Jack of the Jacksonville Jaguars (yes, the NFL team), and former Jaguars defensive lineman, Reggie Hayward (yep, THAT former DL). Also, a new contract was signed before the season began at the VYStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Giving the Icemen five more years in DUUUUVAL.
Dawne Walters covers the Jacksonville Icemen for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with her on Twitter @SinBinJax.