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There are so many cities that could handle a hockey team in the AHL or ECHL. A city that is presently supporting one of the more awesomely named teams, the Florida Everblades, is Estero, Florida. Now, traditionally, the NHL has long stated that part of their goal of putting teams in sunny climes is attempting to spread the game far and wide and bring new audiences to the sport.
One thing that the residents of Estero are not, however, is “new”. Estero, (where my parents spend most of their time, full disclosure) has an average resident age of 63.2. Forget players, that’s older than all but one NHL head coach (Bruce Boudreau). Half of all residents of Estero are older than everyone you might see on an NHL, let along an ECHL bench.
Sure, hockey can keep it’s claim of trying to broaden the audience, but let’s just call the Everblades what they are: A public service to help old people get out of the heat for a little while.