Pensacola, Fla. (May 13, 2021) – It has been five years since the Ice Flyers have played for an SPHL league championship, but on Friday, the puck will drop at the Pensacola Bay Center for Game 1 as they face off against the Macon Mayhem in the SPHL President’s Cup championship series.
“Our goal every season is to be in this position battling for the SPHL crown,” said head coach Rod Aldoff. “This season we have had our ups and downs, but none of that matters as we have controlled what we can control and are ready to go Friday night.”
The Ice Flyers opponent is the Macon Mayhem who won the regular season and swept the fourth seed Huntsville Havoc to advance. The Knoxville Ice Bears were the Ice Flyers’ opponent in the previous round and were the second seed, however the Ice Flyers took Game 1 in Knoxville 5-2 and then 4-2 in Pensacola for Game 2. Both games saw the Ice Flyers down 2-1 before launching a comeback and taking the best-of-three series.
“We are playing playoff-style hockey and have been for a few weeks now,” Aldoff added. “We have known since the start of the season that we have the team that can win it all, but we had to make some adjustments, add some new faces and stay the course as we progressed through the season.”
In 2012, the Ice Flyers came into the playoffs and surprised everyone, making it to the finals before losing out to the Columbus Cottonmouths. The following season, they entered the playoffs as the third seed and won their first championship and Pensacola’s first pro team championship defeating the Huntsville Havoc.
In 2014, they were back in familiar territory but this time as the #1 seed. That year, they became the second SPHL team to win back-to-back championships and getting revenge on the Columbus Cottonmouths. Then in 2016, they faced their biggest rival, the Peoria Rivermen, on home ice and scored with :00.1 remaining to win their third championship in four years.
“It is such a great feeling to be here in the finals once again,” Ice Flyers owner Greg Harris stated. “All the work we have done on the ice and off the ice to put this season together comes down to this weekend, and we would not want it any other way.”
“There was no need to hit the panic button through the down times in our season,” Aldoff commented. “We trusted our system and have come together at the right time. We all knew were going to break out at some point, and it happened near the end of the season. Our boys battled through a lot of frustration and adversity this season, and now we are ready to compete for the cup.”
Harris added, “Our Pensacola community has been through a lot in the last 14 months, and it is great to be hosting the first game in the championships and bring even more positive, forward momentum to northwest Florida. The team and organization committed to what it took to put this season on and follow the restricted protocols, and we are all excited for the upcoming championship series.”
The Ice Flyers will travel to Macon, Ga. for Game 2 Saturday, May 15. If needed, Game 3 will be played on Sunday, May 16. Tickets are going fast for Friday’s Game 1 in Pensacola and are available in person at the Bay Center Box Office or online at Ticketmaster.com. Fans are encouraged to wear white and help keep the Pensacola hockey playoff tradition to White Out the Hangar. The first 2,500 fans will also receive a rally towel. Puck drops at 7:05 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:05 p.m.