The Florida Everblades Franchise History
Since their inception in 1998, the Florida Everblades have hosted more than 3.6 million fans in over 600 regular season games, with an average of 6,361 per game, and have finished in the top 5 in league attendance in 13 of their 17 seasons, leading the the league five times. The Everblades also hosted the Compuware /ECHL All-Star Game in 2003.
The Everblades have earned a post-season berth in 17 of 18 seasons of their existence in the ECHL. On May 23, 2012, the team won its first ECHL Championship with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Las Vegas Wranglers in Game 5 of the 2012 Kelly Cup Finals in front of a standing room only crowd at Germain Arena. During the 2003-04 season, the Everblades captured the Eastern Conference title and made their first ever trip to the Kelly Cup Finals, and followed that up by becoming the first team in Kelly Cup history to make back-to-back trips to the Kelly Cup Finals after capturing the 2004-05 American Conference Championship. Florida has also been awarded the Brabham Cup in 1998-99 & 2008-09, for finishing with the best regular season record in the entire ECHL. The team has amassed more than 750 wins in its 18-year history, and have helped place 31 players to the National Hockey League. The Everblades are the ECHL affiliate for the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Everblades compete in the ECHL which currently stands at 28 member teams. The ECHL is entering its 29th season, and over 600 former ECHL players have reached the National Hockey League.
Peter Karmanos Jr.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – Compuware Corporation
Peter Karmanos Jr., is the principal owner/governor and chief executive officer of the Carolina Hurricanes, as well as the chairman and co-founder of MadDog Technology. Karmanos acquired the franchise on June 28, 1994—the afternoon of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. After three financially unsuccessful seasons in Hartford, Conn., and after an agreement on a new facility between the team and the state of Connecticut could not be reached, Karmanos announced he would relocate the franchise to Raleigh, NC, on May 6, 1997. There, Karmanos signed a 40-year lease with the city of Raleigh and the state.
Since their arrival in North Carolina, the Hurricanes have enjoyed tremendous all-around success. On the ice, the team has advanced to the Conference Finals three times in the last 10 seasons, capturing Eastern Conference titles in 2002 and 2006 and the Stanley Cup in 2006.
In the summer of 1998, Karmanos formed Gale Force Holdings to manage his hockey interests, which include the Carolina Hurricanes and PNC Arena; the Florida Everblades of the ECHL and Germain Arena in Ft. Myers, Fla.; and the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League and Compuware Arena. In the fall of 2011, a new subsidiary of Gale Force Holdings, LP, was created called Hurricanes Holdings, LLC, which features the Hurricanes and the management of PNC Arena. Since that time, 17 new investor groups have joined Karmanos in the ownership of Hurricanes Holdings, further solidifying the franchise’s financial structure.
In November of 2015, Karmanos was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the “Builder” category for his success as an entrepreneur developing youth hockey programs over the past 30-years sponsorship of youth hockey programs. His programs have produced many NHL stars over the years including Pat LaFontaine, Al Iafrate, Mike Modano, Eric Lindros and Kevin Hatcher. Countless youth hockey programs benefit each season through the efforts and sponsorship of Carolina Hurricanes and Compuware. In December 1997, Karmanos was chosen as one of four recipients of the Lester Patrick Award. Originating in 1966, the award is given annually to individuals who are recognized for “outstanding service to hockey in the United States. In July 2013, USA Hockey announced that Karmanos had been selected for induction to the United States Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Hall’s class of 2013.
Karmanos resides in the Detroit area with his wife Danialle, and their sons Socrates, Leonidas, Spiros and Aristides. He now has seven sons and nine grandchildren.
Craig Brush, the President of the Florida Everblades, along with partners Peter Karmanos and Thomas Thewes, founded the Everblades and Germain Arena in 1998. Brush, a native of Milton, Ontario, oversees all aspects of both the hockey club and the sports complex.
In 18 seasons, the Everblades have hosted more than 3.6 million fans in over 600 regular season games, with an average of 6,381 per game. The team has placed in the top three of league attendance in ten of its 17 seasons, ranking first overall five times, and have led the Kelly Cup Playoffs attendance six times. The Everblades have also earned a post-season berth in 17 of their 18 seasons of existence. Brush was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame (Class of 2016) in the Builders catergory, on Feb. 5, 2016 in a ceremony in Kalamazoo.
The Everblades won the Kelly Cup and the ECHL Championship in 2012, and have reigned as conference champions three times. During the 2003-04 season, the Everblades captured the Eastern Conference title and made their first ever trip to the Kelly Cup Finals, and followed that up by becoming the first team in ECHL history to make back-to-back trips to the Kelly Cup Finals after capturing the 2004-05 American Conference Championship. Florida was also awarded the regular season championship and the Brabham Cup following the 1998-99 season when they finished with a club record 108 points.
Brush played hockey for four seasons at Cornell University where he was a member of the 1970 undefeated NCAA Championship team, which was the only team in collegiate history to accomplish this feat. From 2003-2006, Brush served as the Chairman of the ECHL Board of Governors. In addition, he has coached in the Compuware youth hockey program for many years.