As part of the ECHL, the team has been very consistent and has not missed the playoffs in all their fifteen seasons in the league. They have been able to reach the Kelly Cup finals three times and finally won in 2012. The team has a loyal fan base which turns out in big numbers to support the team, ensuring they are among the top teams in terms of attendance.
The franchise was formed in 1998, when the current President/General Manager, Craig Bush decided to introduce a minor league ice hockey team to Southwest Florida. The team logo was designed to be an alligator in the form of an ice skate, and the Germaine Arena was chosen as the franchise’s home. In the Everblades’ opening match at home, a large alligator was brought to the rink as a tribute to Florida’s large reptile population and the team’s logo and name.
The team started off their career by playing in the Southeast Division of the Southern Conference. Their first season was a major success, as they reached the playoffs, but lost in the conference semi finals. Overall they posted a 45-20 winning season.
In the 2003-2004 Season the team moved to the Southern Division of the Eastern Conference and made their first Kelly Cup appearance, but lost 1-4 in the final to Idaho. The following season the team moved to the Southern division of the American Conference, which they play in till today.
Kelly Cup Victory (2011-2012 Season):
After continuously making the playoffs every season, the team was finally able to achieve the biggest prize in the ECHL, the Kelly Cup. The team defeated Greenville, Elmira and Kalamazoo enroute to the final, where they met Las Vegas. After a tense hockey match, the Everblades came out on top with a 3-2 overtime victory at the Germain Arena, in front of a sold out crowd. Seven thousand plus hockey fans watched the match.
This was a special win, since it ensured that the Everblades had a perfect 11-0 home record in the play offs and was the franchise’s first win in three appearances. Everblades’ goal tender John Muse was awarded the Kelly Cup finals MVP award.
Over all the team was won one Kelly Cup, two Brabham Cups, three Ginger Memorial Trophies, two John Brophy Awards, seven individual player awards and two office personnel awards. In terms of attendance, they have led the league in five of their twelve seasons and have never gone below fourth position. They have also led the Kelly Cup playoffs attendance in six seasons.
The team had the honor of hosting the ECHL All-Star game in 2003. The 2003-2004 Season was also special because the team made their first Kelly Cup appearance and made history the following season by appearing in back to back Kelly Cup finals. The team’s stand out achievement though, has been their consistency, as they have earned a post season berth in all of their seasons as part of the ECHL