Today, I joined the Jacksonville Icemen and Community First Credit Union to kickoff renovations for the Community First Igloo, which promises to be a premier attraction for Jacksonville families and visitors with two sheets of ice, a restaurant and bar, pro shop, e-sports center, and more.
These renovations are the latest demonstration of this team’s commitment to our community. Since coming to Jacksonville in 2017, the Icemen have invested heavily in this city, both on and off the ice. I am grateful for their commitment and confidence in Jacksonville and its future.
A few weeks ago, I met with Icemen CEO Andy Kaufmann. After discussing a variety of topics, the conversation turned to what it would take to bring a National Hockey League (NHL) franchise here to Jacksonville. The answer is to build even further on the great momentum we have, to increase awareness, and to boost attendance to 8,000 to 9,000 tickets per game.
Securing an NHL franchise is a lofty goal, but I believe it is achievable and will result in a great return on investment for our community. Having an NHL team in Jacksonville will create more activity, generate more economic opportunities, bring in more visitors, and further enhance our growing reputation as a premier destination for sports and entertainment.
When the Icemen retake the ice at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena this November, I urge citizens, local businesses, and community leaders to show their support and help fill the stands. I urge our community to support and invest in this team like they have supported and invested in Jacksonville. This truly is a win-win scenario.
Again, I am grateful for the Jacksonville Icemen and Community First Credit Union’s continued investments in our community, and I look forward to even greater growth in the years ahead.