Representatives from the Jacksonville Icemen and Mayor Lenny Curry held a joint press conference yesterday afternoon to announce a renegotiated lease agreement that will keep the local minor-league hockey team in Jacksonville through at least 2025.
The new agreement, which will likely be voted on next week by city council after gaining unanimous approval from its Finance and NCSPHS committees, extends the Icemen’s lease at VyStar Veterans Arena through June 30, 2025, with an option to further extend it another five years through the 2030-31 season under the same terms. The team’s current lease at the arena, negotiated in 2017 by previous ownership group EI Acquisition LLC, was set to expire next summer.
The Icemen began playing in Jacksonville in 2017 after relocating from Evansville, IN. SZH Hockey LLC, led by Andrew Kaufmann and Bob Ohrablo, acquired the team – which is an ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets – last year. The team shares VyStar Veterans Arena with two of its fellow local minor-league teams, the Sharks and the Giants.
Through the terms of the agreement, the city will receive $7,500 per home game from the team, with an extra $3,000 for Saturday games and an additional $5,000 if the team plans to utilize the arena’s upper bowl. It also receives 10% of any ticket revenue in excess of $3.5 million and retains suite, concessions, and parking revenue. It also allows the city to terminate the agreement early if the team fails to make payments, or if it fails to average 3,000 paid attendees per home game.
The Icemen will open their 2020-21 season, which was delayed due to COVID-19, in December; the team’s first home game is on December 12 at 7:00 PM.