Jacksonville shines spotlight on ECHL All-Star Hockey Game

Legions of hockey fans will descend on Jacksonville for the ECHL All-Star Game in January — an event local leaders are touting as a chance to shine a spotlight on the city as a true hockey town.

Details for the All-Star Weekend were announced Wednesday at a press conference attended by the Jax Chamber, Mayor Lenny Curry and executives of the Jacksonville Icemen hockey team.

Packages include:

  • A Fan Fest opening January 16 with live music, Hall of Fame exhibits, interactive games and a chance to mingle with star players.
  • The All-Star Game, scheduled for the following evening at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, home of the Icemen. The game will be nationally televised on the NHL Network. The format will pit the entire Jacksonville Icemen team against an ECHL all-star team representing the other teams in the league.
  • Several skill events.
  • Induction of the 14th class of the ECHL Hall of Fame.

The city’s selection to host the events is seen as a coup for a team in only its fifth season in Jacksonville. Iceman president Bob Ohrablo said Jacksonville embraced the team with an average crowd of 6,000 fans per game.

The ECHL estimates the game will generate over $1 million in economic impact as players, coaches and fans fill hotel rooms for three days.

Jacksonville was supposed to host the All-Star Game last year, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ECHL, formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League, began in 1988-89 with five teams in four states and grew into a coast-to-coast league with 27 teams and affiliations with teams from the NHL.

Catherine J. Martinez