Evansville Thunderbolts Information

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Evansville Thunderbolts
2018–19 SPHL season
City Evansville, Indiana
League Southern Professional Hockey League
Founded2016 (2016)
Home arena Ford Center
ColorsRed, white, navy
Owner(s)VW Sports, LLC.
General managerPatrick Kelly
Head coach Jeff Bes
Website evansvillethunderbolts.com
Franchise history
2016–presentEvansville Thunderbolts

The Evansville Thunderbolts are a minor league ice hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League. The team plays at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana. The team replaced the Evansville IceMen of the ECHL.


During the 2015–16 season, the City of Evansville and the owner of the ECHL's Evansville IceMen, Ron Geary, were unable to agree to a new lease for the IceMen to continue to operate out of the Ford Center. [1] On January 19, 2016, Geary announced that he had agreed to terms with the nearby city of Owensboro, Kentucky to relocate the team to the Owensboro Sports Center. [2]

On February 8, 2016, Evansville mayor, Lloyd Winnecke, announced that local businessman and IceMen season ticket holder, Mike Hall, had secured an expansion team in the Southern Professional Hockey League to play at the Ford Center beginning in the 2016–17 season, thus displacing the IceMen franchise from Evansville. [3] On March 1, the City of Evansville and the new team signed a five-year lease agreement to play at the Ford Center. [4] Hall would act as general manager while the majority owner was VW Sports, LLC., a subsidiary of VenuWorks, Inc., the arena management company. [5]

On March 22, 2016, former IceMen head coach Jeff Pyle was announced as the head coach for its inaugural season. [6] The new team name was announced on April 15, 2016, [7] taken from the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft which was manufactured in Evansville during the Second World War. [8] Near the end of the first season, Mike Hall sold his portion of the team to VW Sports, LLC. [5] and Pete Xander was named the new general manager for the 2017–18 season. [9]

After two seasons, head coach Pyle left for the head coaching position with the Atlanta Gladiators of the ECHL. [10] Pyle was replaced by former NHL player Ian Moran as head coach and Adam Stio was named general manager for the 2018–19 season. [11] The team finished in last place and general manager Stio was fired at the end of the season [12] and Moran resigned. [13] Longtime SPHL head coach Jeff Bes was hired as the head coach for the 2019–20 season, [14] while Patrick Kelly was hired as the new general manager. [15]

Season-by-season records

Season GP W L OTL Pts GF GA Finish Playoffs
2016–17 56 14 32 10 38 138 206 10th of 10, SPHL Did not qualify
2017–18 56 27 20 9 63 186 191 6th of 10, SPHL Lost Quarterfinals
2018–19 56 12 38 6 30 124 224 10th of 10, SPHL Did not qualify

See also


  1. ^ "A Letter To IceMen Fans, From Team Owner Ron Geary". Evansville IceMen. November 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "BREAKING: Evansville IceMen Announce Move". The Sin Bin. January 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Evansville will be home to Southern Professional Hockey League franchise". Evansville Courier & Press. February 8, 2016.
  4. ^ "City signs lease contract with new hockey team". Evansville Courier & Press. March 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "VW Sports, L.L.C. acquires additional ownership interest in Evansville Thunderbolts". SPHL. March 27, 2017.
  6. ^ "Jeff Pyle returning to coach Evansville's SPHL hockey team". Evansville Courier & Press. March 22, 2016.
  7. ^ "Evansville Announces New SPHL Team Name". Tristate Homepage. April 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "New Hockey Team Unveiled as Evansville Thunderbolts". Tristate Homepage. April 15, 2016.
  9. ^ "THUNDERBOLTS NAME PETE XANDER GENERAL MANAGER". Thunderbolts. August 24, 2017.
  10. ^ "Atlanta Gladiators bring back winningest coach in franchise history". Gwinnett Daily Post. July 6, 2018.
  11. ^ "Thunderbolts name Ian Moran as head coach, Adam Stio as general manager". TheSPHL.com. August 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "Evansville ThunderBolts and Team General Manager Parting Ways". OurSports Central. April 15, 2019.
  13. ^ "Evansville ThunderBolts to Begin Nationwide Search for New Head Coach". OurSports Central. May 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Jeff Bes to Lead Evansville Thunderbolts as New Head Coach". OurSports Central. May 30, 2019.
  15. ^ "Evansville Thunderbolts Welcome New General Manager and Senior Account Executive". OurSports Central. June 3, 2019.

External links