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Pensacola Ice Pilots

The Pensacola Ice Pilots were a minor league ice hockey team located in Pensacola, Florida. The team was previously affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders, and the Chicago Blackhawks. They have also had a working agreement with the Houston Aeros of the AHL for the 04-05 season. On June 23, 2008, the ECHL announced that it had terminated the Ice Pilots' membership, effective immediately.

The team's colors (navy blue and gold) and nickname were a tribute to the long history of Naval aviation in Pensacola (Naval Air Station Pensacola is home to the legendary Blue Angels and the National Museum of Naval Aviation).

The home of the Pensacola Ice Pilots was the Pensacola Civic Center, which was referred to as "The Hangar", and has a capacity of 8,150.

The Ice Pilots were formerly the Nashville Knights but moved to Pensacola following the 1995-1996 season.

Notable achievements

  • The 1997-1998 Ice Pilots finished the season with a record of 36-24-10 and won the ECHL Southern Conference championship. The Ice Pilots advanced to their only Kelly Cup appearance against the Hampton Roads Admirals. Due to a scheduling conflict with a Page and Plant concert, the Ice Pilots were forced to play an extra home game in Hampton Roads. Hampton Roads would win the series 4 games to 2 on Pensacola's home ice.
  • Forward Glen Metropolit went on to play in the National Hockey League for the Washington Capitals. He played with the Boston Bruins in 2007-2008. For the 2008-09 season, he signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • Raitis Ivanans, currently playing for the Los Angeles Kings, played 59 games for Pensacola in 1999-2000, scoring 3g, 7a, and 146 penalty minutes. He is 6'3, 263lbs and currently their enforcer.
  • Forward Ryan Craig played 5 games with the Ice Pilots before going on to play for the NHL (Tampa Bay Lightning). He has re-signed with Tampa Bay for 2008-09, after missing most of 07-08 with injuries.
  • Forward Evgeni Artukhin played 6 games for the Ice Pilots in 03-04 before playing 72 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 05-06. 72gms-4g-13a-17pts. After a couple of years in Russian leagues, he has re-signed with Tampa Bay for the 2008-09 season.
  • John Tripp played in 85 games for the Ice Pilots between 2000-2002. He appeared in 9 games for the New York Rangers in 2002-2003. In 2003-2004, he appeared in 34 games for the Los Angeles Kings. He is currently playing for the Hamburg Freezers, (08-09) of the DEL in Germany.
  • Goalies Brian Eklund and Evgeny Konstantinov made brief appearances for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Eklund in 05-06 in a 3-0 loss at the Montreal Canadiens. Konstantinov played 20 minutes in 02-03 giving up 1 goal on 5 shots.
  • Former Head Athletic Trainer Jason Serbus is currently (2008-09) the head athletic trainer for the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League. He was assistant the past three seasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • Former Equipment Manager John Krause was the Head Equipment Manager for the Iowa Stars of the American Hockey League(AHL). In 2008-09 season he will be the Head Equipment Manager for the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL.
  • Former head trainer Brad Chavis is now head trainer for the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.
  • The 2004-2005 Pensacola Ice Pilots won the Brabham Cup for the most points overall in the league during the regular season.
  • Former Head Coach Dave Farrish (2004-2005),is now the Assistant Coach of the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL. After failing to win an ECHL championship with the Louisiana IceGators and Pensacola, he won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in

2006-2007.

  • Former Ice Pilot Kevin Colley, 23 games in 2000-01, is head coach of the Utah Grizzlies (08-09) of the ECHL. He also played for the New York Islanders in 2005-2006, until a career ending neck injury.
  • Head coach John Marks tied and broke the ECHL record for most career wins during the 2007-2008 season, and as of March 2 has 482 career wins. He will be coaching the Augusta Lynx in 08-09.
  • After the 2007-08 season, when the Ice Pilots had finished dead last for three consecutive years, team owner Mario Forgione announced he had no intention of fielding a team in Pensacola for the ECHL during the 2008-2009 season. Forgione announced plans to keep a team in Pensacola, but one in a lower-level league. That league was not named. The ECHL then stated that is would revoke the franchise if need be, and the ECHL made it official on Monday, June 23, 2008.

Former Ice Pilots who have gone on to represent their Country Internationally

  • Roger Holeczy (/) - American-born to Hungarian parents, Holczy played most of his career in American before returning to his parents' native Hungary where he went on to play for Team Hungary in the 2007 IIHF Div. 1 World Championship.
  • Raitis Ivanans - Ivanans represented Latvia in the Junior ranks before coming to the Ice Pilots but in 2008 (after his second full NHL season) he represented Latvia in the 2008 IIHF Elite Division World Championship despite being known widely as an enforcer.
  • John Tripp (/) - Canadian-born Tripp played his entire career in North America before signing with Adler Mannheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. After two seasons in Mannheim and one with ERC Ingolstadt Tripp accrued the required 3 seasons and was eligible to play for Team Germany and he represented Germany in both the 2007 and 2008 IIHF Elite Division World Championship.

Coaches

^ - They coached four games while Clark was away tending to his ailing son Ryan, who suffers from arthrosclerosis brought on by a diet of cheese nachos.

References

External links

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