Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Everblades are back on the Ice

The Florida Everblades played their third game of the season last Saturday night at their home arena, the Germain Arena. The arena is located on I-75, between Fort Myers and Naples, close to the municipality called Estero. More than 7 000 seats fill the barn, and tickets are most reasonable-starting at $ 16.

The Blades faced their upstate nemesis, the Orlando Solar Bears for the first of 15 games they will face each other this year. This year will certainly be one of transition for the Everblades, as the coach Greg Poss, and the team President and General Manager Craig Brush, were not happy with the results last year. In a recent interview, Poss set forth his position on last year’s team: “the intrinsic motivation of the players wasn’t the level we needed. Instead of 100 percent, we were maybe 98 per cent. The heart of the team wasn’t quite beating as we would like.”

During one of their scouting trips, one of the players that caught their eyes was Patrick McEachen. Patrick graduated from Queen’s University earlier this spring, and played all of his inter-collegiate hockey for the Gaels. Many of you will remember that prior to his days in Kingston, Patrick played very solid defense for the Wellington Dukes. He was exactly the type of played that Coach Marty Abrams was looking for at the time, and he fitted in perfectly.

I chatted with Patrick throughout the game. He is one of nine defensemen on the roster, and the only rookie; consequently, he has to show a little patience as the season gets underway. He knows what he needs to do to make the squad, and he is prepared to work hard to fill one of the spots on the roster.

One of the first things he told me was that he was fortunate to have the “best billets in the world”, at the home of Connie and Pierre Lebrun. He is not the only former Duke to pay respects to billets. Great billets are critical to the success of junior hockey programs in Canada. Patrick also got back to wellington for the final game at the old DukeDome, and the first game at the new arena. “Just awesome,” he commented on the new arena.

Patrick remembered his days in Kingston. “We had a fabulous season my last year at Queen’s. We had a 21 game unbeaten streak. I believe it was the most successful season ever for a Queen’s hockey team. I owe a great deal to my coach, Brett Gibson, who was selected as the “Coach of the Year” for CIS hockey. I asked him about a popular activity at Queen’s, attending football games. “Unfortunately, all of our hockey games took place at the same time as the school’s football games. So I never went to see the football Gaels.”

One player familiar to McEachen is goaltender Daniel Altshuller. Daniel also spent a little time in the camp of the Belleville Bulls. They met at the camp of the Carolina Hurricanes this summer. McEachen played a couple of games with the rookie ‘Canes in Traverse City against the Wings and the Stars. The games are used by the scouting fraternity to assess the young talent on their teams.

The Blades lost 5-1 to the Solar Bears. They scored in the dying minutes of the game to break the goose egg. Their record stands at one win, one loss, and one shootout loss. If you are in the area, check the schedule. ECHL hockey is great hockey, always entertaining. There are always several future NHL players on each roster.

James Hurst
October 25, 2014

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