The Lightning renewed their affiliation with the Florida Everblades of the ECHL for the start of the 2012-13 regular season. The Everblades play in the ECHL's Eastern Conference South Division.
Based in Estero, Florida, the Everblades were founded in 1998 and already have an impressive resume of accomplishments. The Everblades won their franchise’s first ECHL championship, the Kelly Cup, in 2012 and posted a regular season record of 39-26-2-5. They set a franchise record last season with 280 goals scored during the regular season.
They have made 13 consecutive playoff appearances since joining the ECHL, becoming the first team in ECHL history to make back-to-back Kelly Cup Finals appearances in 2003-04 and 2004-05. They were awarded the Brabham Cup, given annually to the ECHL team with the best record, following the 1998-99 and 2008-09 seasons. Since entering the league, they have played 1,003 regular season games and have hosted 3,071,545 fans, an average of 6,125 per contest. The Everblades played their 1,000th game on March 24, 2012. The team’s colors are navy blue, white and green.
The Everblades play at Germain Arena in Estero. The building was built in 1998 and has a capacity of 7,180 for hockey games. The building has hosted more than 300 different entertainment events, including the 2003 Compuware/ECHL All-Star Game. The team has also led the ECHL playoffs in attendance in seven of its 14 seasons in the league.
11000 Everblades Parkway
Estero, FL 33928
Craig Brush - President/GM
Craig Brush, the President of the Florida Everblades, along with partners Peter Karmanos and Thomas Thewes, founded the Everblades and Germain Arena in 1998.
Brush, a native of Milton, Ontario, oversees all aspects of both the hockey club and the sports complex. In 14 seasons, the Everblades have hosted 3,071,545 fans in 502 regular season games, an average of 6,119 per game, and have led the ECHL in attendance in five of their 14 seasons.
Florida won its first Kelly Cup title in 2012, winning the Cup on home ice in front of a standing-room only crowd of 7,290 fans on May 23, 2012.
Germain Arena and the Everblades hosted the 2003 Compuware ECHL All-Star Game and have led the Kelly Cup Playoffs attendance in six of their 14 seasons in the ECHL. The Everblades have also earned a post-season berth in 14 straight seasons in Southwest Florida. During the 2003-04 season, the Everblades captured the Eastern Conference title and made their first ever trip to the Kelly Cup Finals, and followed that up by becoming the first team in Kelly Cup history to make back-to-back trips to the Kelly Cup Finals after capturing the 2004-05 American Conference Championship. Florida has also been awarded the regular season championship Brabham Cup following the 1998-99 and 2008-09 seasons.
Brush played hockey for three seasons at Cornell University and was a member of the 1970 undefeated NCAA Championship team. Craig also coached in the Compuware youth hockey program for many years.
Craig and his wife, Kyle, split time between Estero, Florida and Birmingham, Michigan. The couple has three sons, Matt, Tyler and Patrick, as well as three granddaughters, Anna, Mary, and Jane.
Greg Poss - Head Coach
Greg Poss, 47, enters his third season behind the bench for the Everblades. On June 23, 2010 he became just the fourth head coach in club history.
Last season, The Green Bay, Wisonsin native led the Everblades to their first Kelly Cup title in the team’s 14-year existence. Poss joined the Everblades organization with an extensive coaching resume. He spent the 2009-10 season in the ECHL as an assistant coach with the Ontario Reign. During his two seasons with the Everblades, Poss has posted a coaching record of 76-56-12, along with a 16-6 postseason mark.
Prior to that he spent eight seasons as a head coach in the German Elite League (DEL) with Iserlohn, Nuremberg and Mannheim. In 2006-07 helped Mannheim become the first team in DEL history to finish in first place in the regular season, win the inter-league tournament and capture the league championship in the same year after leading the club to a 35-9-8 record. Poss’ coaching resume also includes national team experience.
In 2009, he was an assistant coach with the USA Hockey team finished second in the Deutschland Cup. In 2004 and 2005 Poss was the head coach of the German Senior National Teams that participated in the Deutschland Cup and 2005 World Championships. His international coaching experience began in 2003 as an assistant coach of the USA Hockey team that finished first in the Deutschland Cup then followed that in 2004 as an assistant coach of the USA Hockey team that won bronze in the World Championships in Prague.
As a player Poss played on the professional level for three seasons in the American Hockey League and International Hockey League. In two years from 1989-91 with the Maine Mariners of the AHL Poss tallied 44 points (17g, 27a) and 103 penalty minutes in 109 games. In 1991-92 Poss skated in just 18 games with the Peoria Rivermen of the IHL tallying five points (1g, 4a) and 41 PIM before suffering a career-ending knee injury. Before advancing to the professional ranks Poss played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin from 1985-1989 where he posted 25 points in 101 games.
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