By Alan Dell
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. – Now that his team has a name and logo, the new Gulf Coast Swords head coach promises area hockey fans will see a product built to handle all situations on the ice.
After sorting through more than 3,000 entries to determine the name of the first professional hockey team in the Manatee-Sarasota counties area, club officials selected the one submitted by 11-year-old Bradenton resident Mitchell Hudson.
The team announced the winner on Tuesday and introduced its logo for the newest ECHL hockey team that will play in a yet-to-be-named arena northeast of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70. The $70-million facility is scheduled to open in October of next year when the Swords begin play.
If history is any indication, success could come quickly for the Swords. Last year, the Idaho Steelheads won the league championship in their first year. The Double-A hockey league has 28 teams playing in 16 states and one Canadian province.