Majority ownership of the Jacksonville Icemen is changing hands, as the ECHL has approved the transfer of controlling interest to a group led by Andrew Kaufmann.
In a move that was announced Tuesday, the ECHL Board of Governors signed off on the transfer of controlling interest in the Icemen’s membership. It will go from EI Acquisitions, a group led by Ronald Geary, to the Kaufmann-led SZH Hockey LLC.
“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.”
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 from 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 Minor League Baseball’s Fort Myers Miracle (High A; Florida State League) on Jan. 8, 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.
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