Germain Arena – Florida Everblades
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Hockey on Florida’s West Coast
Fort Myers is arguably one of the last places you would expect to find a storied, championship winning hockey franchise. Alas, I present the ECHL’s Florida Everblades. They have a surprisingly robust fan base for being in a city whose population is on the upper end of the spectrum in terms of age. Despite their popularity, their home shows its age, both outside and inside.
Food & Beverage 3
Food options at Germain Arena are rather limited, as the menu isn’t as varied as at other sports stadiums. Nonetheless, eating at an Florida Everblades game is affordable. The most expensive item at a game is the $9 cheesesteak sandwich, with burgers ($5), hot dogs ($4.50), pizza ($5), and chicken fingers ($5) making up the bulk of the menu. Some concessions stands also offer chicken parmigiana sandwiches ($6.75) or chicken combos with fries ($7.25). Drinks include soda, water, and beer, plus coffee and hot chocolate to keep you warm inside the cold confines of the arena.
Germain Arena itself looks old, which is unfortunate considering the facility was only built in 1998. The team does a good job of maintaining the facility in terms of the quality of the seating and interior, but the construction lends itself to feeling more like your local community hockey arena than a professional stadium. Nonetheless, the Florida Everblades do a good job of getting the fans engaged throughout the night with various giveaways and mascot appearances. They also invite local school bands to perform the music during the game in between plays and periods.
Germain Arena is in Fort Myers, a community of mostly retirees and college students from nearby Florida Gulf Coast University. The facility itself is located a short drive from the college itself. Nearby, one exit away to the north off I-75 is a massive shopping and dining district at Gulf Coast Town Center. There you can find every kind of dining option from fast food (Culver’s is a popular stop) to PF Chang’s. To the south is a large outlet mall.
For lodging, the closest options are about a mile to the south, where there is an Embassy Suites and a Hampton Inn (by the outlet mall). Visitors to the area can also enjoy the tropical sands of the beach at Lovers Key State Park, or take in a baseball game at nearby JetBlue Park.
The fans flock to Germain Arena to support their Florida Everblades, and wear the team’s gear with pride. The team won the Kelley Cup in 2011-2012, and their various championship banners hang in the rafters to reflect the team’s history. In their 20 years of existence, the team has become a local favorite, as they are the highest year-round professional level team in Fort Myers. Stadium seating is usually full for most games, meaning you won’t feel like you’re the only one in attendance if you decide to go.
Getting to Germain Arena is not difficult, as it sits alongside I-75. While the nearest exit doesn’t drop you off right at the corner of the parking lot, the facility is just a mile down the road after you get off. Thanks to nearby home developments, it may be easy to drive past Germain Arena at first if you have never been, but thankfully signs are up that point you in the direction of the venue.
Parking on site is plentiful and not spread out, so even if you arrive late, you won’t have a long walk to get to the entrance.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets are incredibly affordable, with game-day prices for glass seating listed at just $45, dropping all the way to $10 for the standing room only upper terrace area. The team also has affordable concessions, and parking usually runs between $10-$20 depending on the event at the venue. This makes the Florida Everblades at Germain Arena an affordable option for a family looking to take in a hockey game, without having to drive an hour and a half to watch the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center.
The team’s mascot, Swampy, likes to wander the stands and interact with kids and fans, which adds to the pro-sports feel. The team also has several bars and suites that are open inside Germain Arena during games, should you grow tired of watching from your grandstand seating. Giveaways are also plentiful at Florida Everblades games as well.
The Florida Everblades may not be the first team one thinks of when thinking about hockey in South Florida, but they are no less popular than the Florida Panthers in their community, and are much more affordable. A great option for both locals and hockey travelers alike, this team knows how to draw fans despite its small and aging home.
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10081 Gulf Center Drive Gulf Coast Town Center
Ft Myers, FL 33913
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10450 Corkscrew Commons Dr
Estero, FL 33928
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