On Wednesday January 27th, the City of Savannah and the ECHL announced the formation of a professional hockey team.
The league’s Board of Governors announced that they have approved their third expansion market this year, which will be based in Savannah, GA. The team will be owned by Andy Kauffman, the current owner of the Jacksonville Icemen.
Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson opened up a press conference in the city’s west side where the new arena is being built. The arena, which is currently called the Savannah Arena, will have 7,500 seats and is planned to host the future hockey team and concerts.
Although Savannah has never had a professional hockey team, what caught the ECHL’s attention in hopes of making it a successful hockey market was the Savannah Classic. The tournament features hockey teams from the south, which includes University of Georgia, University of Florida, Georgia Tech and Florida State.
The team is expected to begin play during the 2022/2023 season. As well, the team’s name will be voted on at a later date by the citizens of Savannah.
Johnson concluded the press conference by calling out future rivals to the franchise. “I want to make one thing clear, and I am sorry (Kauffman), but we are going to beat your other team. Savannah is about winning. So whoever we play expect to lose. Jacksonville, Atlanta, Charleston, you are going down.”
Savannah is not the only expansion team to be announced so far this year. Coralville, Iowa and Trois-Rivières, Quebec were announced by the league back on January 12th. The two will join the ECHL for the 2021/22 regular season.