The ECHL could be adding a franchise in Jacksonville, as a team previously slated for Owensboro, KY is reportedly moving to the Florida city.
Originally, the ECHL was to increase by two teams for the 2017-18 season. One of those clubs is the expansion Worchester Railers, which was granted full membership by the league last week. Meanwhile, the former Evansville IceMen were slated to rejoin the league in their new home in Owensboro after sitting out this season.
However, talks of a new arena in Owensboro broke down, and later discussions between owner Ron Geary and local officials about an Owensboro Sports Center renovation were scrapped. That franchise was in doubt for next season, but now a group in Jacksonville is reportedly purchasing the team. 14News has the story:
Sources tell 14News, owner Ron Geary has sold the team.
The ECHL approved the Icemen’s transfer from Owensboro to Jacksonville, Florida during its board of governors meeting last week. Reports indicate the Jacksonville area has been searching for an ECHL team for some time.
As First Coast News reported in its story, there has been an effort to secure a professional hockey league franchise. Neither the ECHL nor the parties involved in the reported sale have confirmed the news at this point. If the move becomes official, the ECHL will play with at least 29 teams for the 2017-18 season.