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Saturday April 19th 2014

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Champions on Ice

By Jessica Forbes

Season openers are always a special event for sports fans, but for the Ice Flyers’ faithful, this year there promises to be even more excitement in the air at the Pensacola Bay Center. As the reigning Southern Professional Hockey League Champions, the Ice Flyers will open their 2013-2014 season this Friday against the Columbus Cottonmouths with a new title, a new coach, and a host of new game time activities.

“We actually start planning for the next season in June as we are putting together the schedule with the league,” said Pensacola Ice Flyers President Chuck McCartney. “Opening night this year has been different since we have been planning the ring presentation and banner unveiling for several months now.”

The season opener will be the team’s Championship Celebration Night complete with a party on the entrance plaza, championship ring ceremony, and a post-game auction of commemorative Championship jerseys that the Ice Flyers will wear during the game. In addition to the Championship Celebration, the Pensacola Ice Flyers staff will roll out several other new and/or improved aspects of the fan experience that will be part of the 28 regular season games scheduled this season.

“We have always put on a great show but we wanted to take it to the next level,” McCartney said regarding this season’s plans. New pre-game activities on the plaza will prep fans for a revamped game intro and starting lineup routine. The Ice Flyers will utilize for the first time an electronic system for the 50/50 Raffle used by many NFL, MLB and NHL teams. “We also have purchased several new items for fan contests to make it more interactive and fun for more fans to get involved,” said McCartney. “To see all the happy, smiling faces enjoying the game and activities is just so rewarding since we work so hard to ensure a ‘Wow!’ experience.”

But McCartney said aside from seeing how the team is playing, he is most looking forward to presenting the fans with the championship banner on opening night. “This year it will be when we raise the banner, I’m sure there will be some tears as we look around the arena, it’s just a great accomplishment for our community,” said McCartney.

The team management is also looking forward to continuing the Ice Flyers’ success under the leadership of new Head Coach Rod Aldoff. “We are on our third head coach in just as many years and have made the finals so far each year,” said McCartney, “so it’s exciting to see how we come out of the gate for a chance to repeat.”

PENSACOLA ICE FLYERS 2013-2014 SEASON OPENER
WHEN: 7:05 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25
WHERE: Pensacola Bay Center, 201 E. Gregory St.
COST: $15-$29
DETAILS: pensacolaiceflyers.com