On an otherwise sleepy Sunday afternoon, the Jacksonville Icemen once again skated onto the ice at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena to take on the Norfolk Admirals. Two teams of proud Navy towns fighting for some precious late season points in a tight race to make the 2019 ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Native Sons and Daughters of Jacksonville showed up with 80 of its members to cheer on the home team.
The game started slowly, giving our members time to enjoy their giant pretzels, popcorn, and ultimate nachos. Halfway through the second period, the Icemen were down 2-0. Despite the high number of shots on goal, the task of tying or winning the game seemed to great and some of our new fans were losing hope. As soon as our group joined in on the “LET’S GO ICEMEN” chant, the home team’s puck luck started to change. An Icemen goal late second in the second period immediately brought our group back to life. More chants and tons of excitement closed out the second period leaving us full of high hopes for the last period.
The second intermission started with the “Chuck-a-Puck” giving all in attendance a chance to win prizes by throwing a foam hockey puck from the stands into some car tires on the ice. With only 60 seconds to throw the pucks, we had little time to master the throw of featherweight pucks. In the end, three people won prizes. All three happened to be our members.
With more than a minute left on a second period power play, the third period started with excitement. Cody Fowlie scored a power play goal while some were still finding their seats. Tying the game with 19 minutes left brought everyone to their feet. Hearing our kids screaming “LET’S GO ICEMEN” must have helped the boys on the ice. Cody Fowlie scored again a few minutes later to give the Icemen the lead for the first time.
With a few minutes left in the game, knowing that everyone in attendance receives a free Wendy’s Frosty with 30 or more home team shots, our group changed the chant to “WE WANT FROSTIES!” Cody Fowlie heard us again, scoring an empty net goal with just over a minute left. Icemen win!
After the game, our group was invited down onto the ice to take a group photo and take some shots on goal. Much to our surprise, the entire team was on the ice, too, greeting fans and taking pictures. Check out the photos below to see some happy faces, and our Federation Chief, Joe “Big Red” Woodlief getting a goal of his own.
A natural hat trick, a win for the Icemen, some much-needed points towards the playoffs, and some chuck-a-puck prizes for our members. What a day! This was certainly an event to remember.
— Iron Wolf