Saturday, September 10, 2016

2016-17 EHL Southern Division Arena Hockey Tour

Knoxville Civic Coliseum
EHL - Knoxville Knights 1961-68
SPHL- Knoxville Ice Bears since 2002-03
For the first time in many years there will be minor pro hockey teams in 4 arenas that were once home to Eastern Hockey League (EHL) Southern Division teams - a league that has been out of business for 44 years. And this is just the Southern Division.

Prior to last season only the Knoxville Ice Bears were playing in an EHL Southern Division arena, and the Knoxville Civic Coliseum has been at risk of being replaced for years. In 2015-16 the dormant Augusta Riverhawks franchise was moved to Macon, and the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte was renovated in order to move the Checkers back from the less-fan-friendly Time-Warner Arena. This season the SPHL placed the expansion Rail Yard Dawgs in Roanoke.
Charlotte Coliseum (Bojangles Coliseum)
EHL - Charlotte Clippers / Checkers 1956-73
AHL - Charlotte Checkers since 2015-16

I put the schedules of the four teams together. What I found was, there is no 4-game stretch where you can see games in all four arenas. In fact there is only one 5-game stretch that works. So, I took Macon out of the equation since they only had a handful of EHL home games. Here are those 3-game weekends with Charlotte, Roanoke and Knoxville:


Saturday December 16
Mississippi at Knoxville 7:35
Saturday December 17
Fayetteville at Roanoke 7:05
Sunday December 18
Grand Rapids at Charlotte 1:00

Thursday January 12 Mississippi at Roanoke 7:05
Friday January 13
Columbus at Knoxville 7:30 OR Mississippi at Roanoke 7:05
Saturday January 14
Cleveland at Charlotte 6:00 
Sunday January 15
Huntsville at Knoxville 3:00

Friday February 10
Macon at Knoxville 7:30 OR Stockton at Charlotte 7:15
Saturday February 11
Stockton at Charlotte 6 PM OR Evansville at Knoxville 7:30
Sunday February 12
Macon at Roanoke 3:05

 Roanoke Civic Center (Berglund Center)
EHL - Roanoke Valley Rebels 1971-73
SPHL - Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs starting 2016-17
Friday March 24
Peoria at Knoxville 7:30 OR Columbus at Roanoke 7:05
Saturday March 25
Columbus at Roanoke 7:05 OR Peoria at Knoxville 7:30
Sunday March 26
Chicago at Charlotte 1:00

Through some fluke of improbability theory and minor league arena scheduling, there is no weekend where you can see the three SPHL teams at home. However, if you substitute Virginia Tech hockey for Roanoke Rail Yard Dogs, you can see:
Friday January 6
Evansville at Knoxville 7:30
Saturday January 7
Pensacola at Macon 7:35
Sunday January 8
Ohio at Virginia Tech 2 PM
(For those like me who have seen or may get to see Charlotte separately - this may be the best option.)

Macon Coliseum (Macon Centreplex)
EHL - Jacksonville Rockets 1968-69 

(6 home games including first pro hockey game in Georgia)
SPHL - Macon Mayhem since 2015-2016
Which brings us to: 
Tuesday April 4
Macon at Roanoke 7:05 (last home game)
Wednesday April 5
San Antonio at Charlotte 7 PM
Thursday April 6*
Alan Alda at Greensboro Coliseum, NHL Islanders at Carolina and Minor League Baseball opening day
Friday April 7
Roanoke at Macon 7:35 OR Pensacola at Knoxville 7:30
Saturday April 8
Roanoke at Macon 7:35 OR Pensacola at Knoxville 7:30 (last home games)
+(Sunday April 9
Texas at Charlotte 1 PM - last home game)

*On April 6th there may be non-hockey events playing at one of the remaining EHL Southern Division:
Greensboro Coliseum (April 6 - Alan Alda)
Nashville Municipal Auditorium
Salem Civic Center
Mississippi Coliseum (Nashville Dixie Flyers - 1 home game - first pro hockey game in MS)
Uline Arena (Washington Lions/Presidents)
West Palm Beach Auditorium - Jehovah's Witness' Christian Convention Center (Florida Rockets 1966-68)

We are incredibly fortunate that these places of EHL history are still with us. Minor league hockey teams are fleeting and this may be the last best chance to see these historic places. Lets go see some games while we still have the chance!

If you'd like to discuss EHL Hockey please join us on the Eastern Hockey League Facebook Group. We have many players, officials and fans of the old league. We invite you to come join us!

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