JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Ice and Sportsplex is under new management and getting a major facelift in the process.
The Jacksonville Icemen and the City of Jacksonville made the big announcement on Tuesday, taking the wraps off of plans that have been a long time in the making.
Welcome to the Icemen Igloo.
“We have wanted to shout this from the rooftops for almost a year but we had to wait for the natural order of things,” said Icemen owner Andy Kaufmann. “But we are making the positive impact we dreamed of making in our hometown.”
Renovations are planned to start in August and will take nearly a year for everything to be completed. The facility will remain open to the public as work is being done.
The project won’t come cheap.
The bill for the transformation will cost $18.5 million, which is coming from a mix of local investors and city grant/loan money. The City Council voted unanimously last week to pass $7.5 million worth of funding for the facility.
The renovations will include a second sheet of ice, the addition of a sports bar, new locker rooms, an Icemen training facility, an esports center and a new Jacksonville Sports Hall of Fame.
“We have got a six-month hockey season and a six-month offseason and now hockey is going to be a 365-day-a-year sport here,” said Icemen president Bob Ohrablo.
The Igloo will give a large boost to the youth hockey community here in Jacksonville as the icemen continue to grow the sport here on the First Coast.
“The fact that you can now go to an Icemen game as so many kids do. Families that go out say that looks like a lot of fun and I wish I could be here. Well, now you can, starting in August,” Kaufmann said.