Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

IceMen Align with Blue Jackets ; Will Serve as Feeder for NHL Team

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

IceMen Align with Blue Jackets ; Will Serve as Feeder for NHL Team

Article excerpt

Terry Ficorelli kept it simple when explaining what the Evansville IceMen's affiliation with the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets will mean for fans. "A couple years from now when we're watching an NHL game on NBC Sports Network, watching the Blue Jackets play," the "Voice" of the IceMen said, "is we're gonna go, 'Son of a gun. That guy played for the IceMen a couple years ago. This is pretty cool.'"

Beneath the surface of the agreement that begins with the 2012- 2013 season, the IceMen gained much more by aligning with the Blue Jackets and their Triple-A feeder from the American Hockey League, Springfield (Mass.) Falcons, in an announcement made official Friday at the Vectren Building.

The IceMen will have the ability to sign their own recruits as well as field a roster partially made up of Blue Jackets prospects, some of which could be selected in next weekend's draft.

"It's exciting for our fans because they're going to get to watch these young players develop here and then track them as they move to the next level," said IceMen general manager/head coach Rick Kromm.

The IceMen in May announced their move to the ECHL, a Double-A league that sent 20 players to the NHL last season and almost 500 total in its 24-year history.

The 2012-2013 schedule measures 72 games, and the IceMen will compete in the Eastern Conference's North Division with the Fort Wayne Komets and teams from Cincinnati, Kalamazoo and Toledo.

Fort Wayne, which also moved to the ECHL in May, has not yet announced an NHL affiliation.

"It's a way easier sell to bring a guy in here when you're affiliated and they're going to get that kind of exposure," Kromm said.

In aligning with the Blue Jackets, the IceMen fill the void left by the now-defunct Chicago Express, an ECHL team that folded after one season due to lack of fan support in a market that also features the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks. …

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