Photo: Pensacola Ice Flyers

Three-time Presidents Cup winners. Three coaches in the past 12 months.  Three dollar pints at McGuire’s. Great things come in threes.

About

Head Coach: Sixth-year SPHL coach Jeff Bes (142-113-25 overall) moves to the Gulf Coast from Fayetteville to take over from Rod Aldoff.

Last Season: 27-21-8, 62 points (6th place) – Defeated the Fayetteville FireAntz in the first round, lost to the Macon Mayhem in semifinals.

Overview

The then-defending Presidents Cup champs broke in rookie coach Kevin Hasselberg when two-time Cup winner Rod Aldoff took a job with the ECHL Norfolk Admirals. With Aldoff’s short-lived tenure in Norfolk combined with a struggling Ice Flyers squad under Hassleberg, Pensacola owner Greg Harris brought Aldoff back to the Flyers’ bench for a playoff run. Aldoff’s postseason magic worked for one round with a resounding sweep of Fayetteville before falling in two games to the eventual champion Macon Mayhem. Defenseman Louis Belisle thrived last season, leading all SPHL defensemen with 50 points (18G/32A), gaining league Defenseman of the Year honors.

Trending Topics

  • #GoalieWays – Goaltender John McLean retired over the offseason and fellow netminder Matt Zenzola playing in Fayetteville. Replacing the Twin Towers of Gregory Street is Hockey Jesus himself – Sean Bonar.
  • #ComebackKid – Less than a year after a frightening injury on Thanksgiving night in Atlanta, Anthony Calabrese makes his return to the rink in an inspiring comeback.
  • Jeff Bes – The former Surge and FireAntz coach gets a fresh start, with the difficult task of filling Aldoff’s skates.
  • #YouKnowYourArenaIsOldWhen – you can’t play Atari on your barn’s jumbotron. Talk of replacing the 30-year-old Bay Center was a major story in the offseason.

Insights

Belisle was the only SPHL player to get two penalty shot attempts last season but failed to convert on either.

Following

  • Sean Bonar – The reigning SPHL MVP and Goalie of the Year was traded to Pensacola in a historic deal.
  • Josh Cousineau (@DirtyMitts71) – The quick-skating forward is looking to make SportsCenter for the third consecutive season.
  • Phil Bushbacher (@Pbushbac) – The CHL/ECHL journeyman has had stints with the IceGators and Rivermen. Returning to North American hockey after two years in Europe.

Blocked and Reported

  • Corey Banfield (@CBanfield16) – Banfield has been rehabbing an injury over the offseason, and is probable to rejoin the Ice Flyers this season
  • Matt Zenzola (@MattZenzola35) – After two seasons and a Presidents Cup MVP award, the big goalie looked for an ECHL gig in Allen, but the unprotected netminder signed in Fayetteville.
  • Brandon Blair (@Brandon_M_Blair) – The hard-punching blueliner spent some time with Aldoff and the Admirals last season and tried to catch on with Rapid City.

@SinBinSwami tweeted…

The lack of returning players to the beach is leaving the Flyers outgunned. Can the new recruits at the Hangar get up to speed?

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