Bob Orablow He is a hockey player through and through. He was part of a budding group of minor league hockey teams in Orlando And the Jacksonville. Despite his deep and unwavering love for the sport, he was not looking for a third team.
After that, he got a phone call, made some inquiries, had several meetings, and the next thing he knew he was up to in launching what became known as savanna ghost pirates.
On Saturday night, this team took to the Savannah ice for the first time with nearly 7,000 screaming Savannahs waving their green glow light and urging them to in Inmarket Arena. From agonizing pre-game introductions to the last century, a two-year show in the setting of Urablu has exceeded expectations.
“The atmosphere was incredible,” said Ghost Pirates goalkeeper Isaiah Savile. “We really hope it stays that way. We kept feeding on that and it was a great environment. Really fun to play.”
Savannah hockey fans unleashed 20 years of pent-up energy in their opening game. Hockey has been oriented to the city since 1999, when fans first flocked to a college club hockey tournament held at the Savannah Civic Center. Repeated efforts to bring a minor league team to Savannah failed over the next two decades.
One of those who has been playing hockey in Savannah for years is Savannah attorney Joe Stephen. Before moving to Savannah, he owned an ECHL hockey team in Roanoke, Virginia, but left him willing when he came to Savannah.
Like many others, Steffen had a hockey problem but for 20 years it was a tough sell.
“We just couldn’t make it work,” Stephen said. “The arena was not suitable for that and the interest was not there at the time. What is happening now is amazing.”
Ghost Pirates is receiving an intimidatingly well-received
Stephen said he got involved with Ghost Pirates after hearing about a meeting regarding the possibility of the hockey team coming to Savannah. Out of curiosity, he turned up and the juices started flowing. By the end of the day, he was a contributor to Ghost Pirates.
“I spoke to Bob and Andy (team owner Andy Kaufman) and we got to know some of the same people,” Stephen said. “They invited me to become a part of this. My only regret is that I wish I had bought more than I did.”
The response to Ghost Pirates was frighteningly good.
They put ECHL score for season tickets sold out And they can’t get the goods in stock fast enough. The lines waiting to get to the merchandise store at the Saturday night house opening with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits were long and steady.
“We weren’t really looking forward[to starting a new team],” said Orablu, president of both Ghost Pirates and Jacksonville Icemen. “We have been contacted by the League (ECHL) to have a look at Savannah.
“We got to know the people and decided to drive and listen to what they had to say. That night back in Jacksonville we just decided we were going to start negotiating a lease and see if we could work it out. We did and here we are.”
Countdown to ghost pirate:How to build a new hockey franchise from scratch
Opening night win
“Here We Are” was the first home appearance of the Saturday night Ghost Buccaneers who, after a first goalless period, dominated the next two periods to defeat the Swamp Rabbits, 5-1, to finish first in the ECHL Southern Division.
The next Ghost Pirates (5-1) game will be at home Thursday night against defending champion Kelly Cup Florida Everblades. The next night they will host the South Carolina Stingrays.
Orablu and Stephen were among the happiest people at Inmarkt Arena when Spencer Nass scored the first home goal in Ghost Pirates history with 16:19 remaining in the remaining period. The crowd erupted as he let out a roar for about two years.
The volume rose 72 seconds later when Daniel D’Amato scored. Pat Guay, who now leads the rising ECHL team in scoring with 10 points, was on target at 11:20. Goalkeeper Isaiah Savile saved 33 saves in his first appearance of the season.
Brandon Estes scored twice for the Ghost Pirates while Tristan Thompson got a pair of assists. D’Amato, Vincent Marlowe, Marshall Moyes and Brent Pedersen were also assisted.
“It’s great, to be honest with you,” Nass, who has played in Sweden for the past two years, said of scoring the first goal in Enmarket Arena history. “This is something I would have been very happy with if anyone had gotten it, but I was very happy to have had it.
“It’s fun. I’ll remember that for a while.”
Ghost Pirate Summary:Everything you need to know about the launch of the hockey team in Savannah
Coach Rick Bennett, who had the experience of taking two college teams to the NCAA Division I Frozen Four and winning a national championship in 2014, saw and witnessed the impact the crowd can have on team play.
He, along with Naas and Saville, all said the crowd was a major factor and that they fueled his energy.
“What we’re seeing is far beyond what my expectations for this market would have been,” Stephen said. “As an affiliate with Las Vegas, they have sent us some really good players. You have to give Bob credit for that.
“People have waited a long time for this. The college hockey tournament we’re having here is a great thing but the people who attended will get to know the sport but not the speed and fitness. These guys are one and a half steps ahead of them.”
No one underestimates the importance and value of Ghost Pirates’ affiliation with the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL.
“I’m really proud of what Vegas has done for us,” said Orablo, who belongs to the New York Rangers. “I told Las Vegas this was a private startup, and Savannah people welcomed us with open arms and heard that.
“They have been great at allocating players for us and giving us the support we need to make sure we are not handicapped. I am very proud of the support Savannah has given us and now it is up to us. We are a team that is number one but we still have a long way to go.”
#Hockey #game #Savannah #Ghost #Pirates #won #home #game #Enmarket #Arena