Team History

The Florida Everblades have served the Southwest Florida Community since 1998, providing family-fun entertainment for fans of all ages.

Since their inception in 1998, the Florida Everblades have hosted more than 4.5 million fans in over 750 regular season games, with an average of almost 6,000 fans per game, and have finished in the top five in league attendance in 14 of their 21 seasons, leading the the league five times. 

The Everblades serve as a developmental affiliate for the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators and their primary developmental affiliate, the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals, starting with the 2019-20 season. 

“We are thrilled to have the Nashville Predators as our new NHL affiliate,” Everblades President/GM Craig Brush said. “Nashville’s President of Hockey Operations and General Manager David Poile has done a remarkable job developing an expansion franchise into one of the most prominent teams in the NHL. We are looking forward to becoming an integral part of the development of players for the Predators and Milwaukee Admirals.”

Founded in the same year as the Everblades in 1998, the Predators have become a strong force in the Western Conference over the last five seasons and have qualified for the postseason in each of those campaigns. After falling short of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their first five seasons since joining the NHL as an expansion franchise, the Predators have now advanced to the postseason in 12 of the last 15 seasons.

Prior to the affiliation to the Nashville Predators, the Everblades were the ECHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes, which are owned in part by Peter Karmanos Jr.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Hurricanes for their support over the past 21 seasons,” Brush said. “The stability and consistency of such a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship played a key role in our success, and we cannot thank the Hurricanes enough for being such a great partner with the Everblades.”

In that time, 33 Everblades players have gone on to play in the NHL.

The Everblades have qualified for the postseason in 20 of 21 seasons of their existence in the ECHL. On May 23, 2012, the team won its first ECHL Championship with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers in Game 5 of the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals in front of a standing room only crowd at Hertz Arena.

During the 2003-04 season, the Everblades captured the Eastern Conference title and made their first ever trip to the Kelly Cup Finals, and followed that up by becoming the first team in Kelly Cup history to make back-to-back trips to the Kelly Cup Finals after capturing the 2004-05 American Conference Championship. Florida has also been awarded the Brabham Cup in 1998-99, 2008-09 and 2017-18 for finishing with the best regular season record in the ECHL. The team has won over 900 games in its 20-year history.

The Everblades are coming off the third-highest regular season win total in team history after totaling a 50-16-5-1 mark in the 2018-19 campaign. Florida qualified for the playoffs for the 20th time in team history and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final for the second straight year and sixth time total in franchise history.

Contact

For more information about the Everblades, season ticket packages, and community events, please contact the Everblades office at 239-948-7825. Everblades Main Office located at Hertz Arena, Monday—Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Everblades Game Tickets: Everblades tickets may be purchased at the Synovus Box Office located at Hertz Arena or online at www.ticketmaster.com

Discounted Group Tickets: Bring your group of 10 or more to a game at a discounted price, and also receive an Everblades souvenir! Group tickets are available for all home games. For more information on group tickets, call 239-948-7825.

Ownership

PETER KARMANOS JR.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – Compuware Corporation

Peter Karmanos Jr., is an owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, as well as the chairman and co-founder of MadDog Technology. Karmanos acquired the franchise on June 28, 1994—the afternoon of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. After three financially unsuccessful seasons in Hartford, Conn., and after an agreement on a new facility between the team and the state of Connecticut could not be reached, Karmanos announced he would relocate the franchise to Raleigh, NC, on May 6, 1997. There, Karmanos signed a 40-year lease with the city of Raleigh and the state.

Since their arrival in North Carolina, the Hurricanes have enjoyed tremendous all-around success. On the ice, the team has advanced to the Conference Finals three times in the last 10 seasons, capturing Eastern Conference titles in 2002 and 2006 and the Stanley Cup in 2006.

In the summer of 1998, Karmanos formed Gale Force Holdings to manage his hockey interests, which include the Carolina Hurricanes and PNC Arena; the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and Hertz Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla.; and the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League and Compuware Arena. In the fall of 2011, a new subsidiary of Gale Force Holdings, LP, was created called Hurricanes Holdings, LLC, which features the Hurricanes and the management of PNC Arena. Since that time, 17 new investor groups have joined Karmanos in the ownership of Hurricanes Holdings, further solidifying the franchise’s financial structure.

In November of 2015, Karmanos was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the “Builder” category for his success as an entrepreneur developing youth hockey programs over the past 30-years sponsorship of youth hockey programs. His programs have produced many NHL stars over the years including Pat LaFontaine, Al Iafrate, Mike Modano, Eric Lindros and Kevin Hatcher. Countless youth hockey programs benefit each season through the efforts and sponsorship of Carolina Hurricanes and Compuware. In December 1997, Karmanos was chosen as one of four recipients of the Lester Patrick Award. Originating in 1966, the award is given annually to individuals who are recognized for “outstanding service to hockey in the United States. In July 2013, USA Hockey announced that Karmanos had been selected for induction to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Hall’s class of 2013.

Karmanos resides in the Detroit area with his wife Danialle, and their sons Socrates, Leonidas, Spiros and Aristides. He now has seven sons and nine grandchildren.


CRAIG BRUSH

President/General Manager

Craig Brush, the President & General Manager of the Florida Everblades, along with partners Peter Karmanos and Thomas Thewes, founded the Everblades and Hertz Arena in 1998. Brush, a native of Milton, Ontario, oversees all aspects of both the hockey club and the sports complex.

In 21 seasons, the Everblades have hosted more than 4.5 million fans in over 750 regular season games, with an average of 6,000 per game. The team has placed in the top three of league attendance in ten of its 21 seasons, ranking first overall five times, and have led the Kelly Cup Playoffs attendance six times.

Brush was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame (Class of 2016) in the Builders category, on Feb. 5, 2016 in a ceremony in Kalamazoo.

The Everblades won the Kelly Cup, the ECHL Championship in 2012, and have reigned as conference champions four times. During the 2003-04 season, the Everblades captured the Eastern Conference title and made their first ever trip to the Kelly Cup Finals, and followed that up by becoming the first team in ECHL history to make back-to-back trips to the Kelly Cup Finals after capturing the 2004-05 American Conference Championship. Florida was also awarded the regular season championship and the Brabham Cup following the 1998-99 season when they finished with a club record 108 points. In the 2017-18 season, Florida won its fourth conference championship and captured the Brabham Cup for the third time, while setting the team record for points (112) and tying the team record for wins (53).

Brush played hockey for four seasons at Cornell University where he was a member of the 1970 undefeated NCAA Championship team, which was the only team in collegiate history to accomplish this feat. From 2003-2006, Brush served as the Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors. In addition, he has coached in the Compuware youth hockey program for many years.