By Coastal Breeze News Staff

Seasonal residents and visitors may look at hockey in Florida like a bobsled team in Jamaica, but just as the bobsledders, the Florida Everblades are great entertainment! Maybe it’s the energy of the crowd; maybe it’s the excitement of a fight on the ice… but it’s definitely edge of your seat excitement.

It begins when the players hit the ice through a curtain of machine-generated fog accompanied by strobe “lightning” and the roar of the crowd. The buzzer sounds, and skaters are flying up and down the ice. They change offensive and defensive lines every minute or so because of the sheer physical effort required to skate so hard and so fast.

It doesn’t take much to start a fight. A shoulder here, a well placed shove there, a stick in the right place and soon, gloves and helmets come off and fists started flying. Refs stand by for a few minutes, but then toss the fighters into the penalty box with a five minute penalty. Overhead screens replay the action blow-by-blow. The crowd loves it. Hockey’s not for sissies!

During a recent game against the Chicago Express, the Blades showed their dominance early on, scoring a goal within minutes into the first period. Heading into the third period, it was 3-2. Halfway through the period, the Blades appeared to be losing steam even though they had clearly outplayed the Express. Several shots at the goal by the Blades were stopped short. The confidence of the Chicago Express team was building. In the final minutes of the game, the Express pulled their goalie to set up an advantage in the attacking end. They were making a run at the Blades with every weapon they had in trying to tie the game and go into overtime. THAT was their mistake! Out- manned, the Blades’, Brayden Irwin, made a shot from half way down the ice, straight into the net! Final score: 4-2 Blades.

Although the Blades went on to win the next night for three straight games against the Express, they lost to Gwinnett the following week. After a slow start the Everblades have been playing good hockey and have an excellent chance of getting into the playoffs. With sixteen more home games to play at Germain Arena before the end of March, there are plenty of tickets to be had. Check Floridaeverblades.com for tickets and special offers.

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