Newest ECHL Team Is Gulf Coast Swords

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. – DVA Sports has announced that the ECHL team scheduled to begin play in 2005-06 will be named the Gulf Coast Swords.

The team name and logo were unveiled at a press conference held at the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club on Tuesday.

The logo has ‘Swords’ in red letters outlined in black with a black swordfish jumping behind the letters, the tail extending below and the head extending above the letters.

The Swords will play in a $70 million, 7,400-seat facility being built on a 60-acre tract in the northwest quadrant of Lakewood Ranch, located on Florida’s west coast between Bradenton and Sarasota.

The team name was submitted by 10-year-old Mitchell Hudson of Bradenton and was chosen from the more than 3,000 entries received in a “Name The Team” contest held in September.

The Swords are the ECHL membership that played in Columbus, Ga. from 2002-04 and in Norfolk, Va. from 1989-2000. In April 2004, the ECHL Board of Governors approved a Voluntary Suspension Request and a Transfer of Home Territory request from the membership, allowing it to relocate to Florida.

DVA Sports is owned by Sal Diaz-Verson, considered one of America’s richest Hispanics and credited with building AFLAC Incorporated from a $45 million company to an $8 billion company before his departure. AFLAC is worth more than $45 billion today.