One Candle: The Best of the First Year of IceMenManiacs.com

Yesterday (June 1) marked the one-year anniversary of IceMenManiacs.com, believe it or not! A year ago, Dixie and I threw this site together in a matter of days after the IceMen organization opted to start using On-Site Computer Solutions for designing and maintaining the team’s official website.

We weren’t entirely sure what we’d do with it, to be honest. We knew that we wanted the Booster Club to have a presence on the web, and we knew we’d embed a blog into the site as a centerpiece. Beyond that, it was essentially a work-in-progress from Day One.

Fast-forward a year. We’ve syndicated some of our content on a national hockey website (more on that below), the ECHL has used our exclusive seat count as the Ford Center’s official capacity (9437) on ECHL.com (click the IceMen logo to see it), we’ve had our work referenced by mainstream newspapers (such as both the Journal Gazette and News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne), and we’ve been linked by a pair of major national hockey blogs (the incomparable Icethetics.info jersey/logo blog and SB Nation’s Nashville Predators blog, OnTheForecheck.com).

And all along the way, we’ve piled up thousands of hits and established ourselves as the best place on the web for Evansville IceMen analysis. We’re not a “news” site, but we do take a deeper look at key IceMen developments and give you coverage of the team that you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, we’ve got plenty of helpful “static” content that’s always available for your reference as well.

It’s been a wild year. We know it flew by for us, and it probably did for you as well. So in case you missed some of our best work over the past year, here’s a look back at some of our favorite posts from Year One of IceMenManiacs.com. They’re listed chronologically, and you can just click the links to see the full stories.

We thank you SO MUCH for your support over the past year, and we look forward to many more years to come. We’re just getting started!

ICEMENMANIACS.COM – HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR FIRST YEAR

“Stalemate” soon to be “Checkmate” (8-5-2011)
This was our first real “meaty” piece for the site. It was an exclusive analysis of what was holding up the team’s negotiations with the city for a fair lease at the Ford Center, what the possible results were, and why a deal would be in place soon. And as I predicted, a deal was finalized less than a week later…

Going Downtown: Inside the Deal (8-13-2011)
An in-depth look at the contract the IceMen signed with the City of Evansville as the Ford Center’s hockey tenant. Everything fans might want to know about the franchise’s lease is covered here!

A weekend in Bloomington: The 2011 CHL Booster Club Convention (8-14-2011)
Dixie’s recap (with photos) of her time in Bloomington for the 2011 edition of the CHL’s annual gathering of team booster club leaders. She even got to sit on their Zamboni.

The Sane Side of Darren Seid (9-2-2011)
An interesting trip back to the AAHL days of the IceMen, and a surprising revelation about one of the league’s most polarizing figures. A must-read for any fan who experienced the first two rocky seasons at Swonder.

IceMenManiacs.com Goes National! (9-29-2011)
Less than 4 months after our site was created, we agreed to a content-sharing partnership with ProHockeyNews.com, a major national hockey website that covers a bunch of different leagues. The folks at PHN liked what they’d seen during our first few months of action, so they asked us to cover the IceMen for them. We still get to publish our PHN submissions right here on our own site too, and this link includes our first story for them – a look at how the IceMen roster was developing as training camp approached.

Saturday, November 5, 2011: A Special Night in Evansville (11-18-2011)
My favorite piece from our first year – a rather poetic recap of the IceMen home opener at the Ford Center, primarily focused on the atmosphere of the evening. If you weren’t there that night or if you were there but just want to re-live those memories, please give this one a look!

Merger would give AA more juice (12-2-2011)
Chewing on a topic that’s long been a popular discussion among minor league hockey fans. Even though the IceMen are now in the ECHL, I still maintain that the ECHL and CHL need to merge if they truly want “Double-A” hockey to prosper.

Inside the IceMen: PA Announcer Tommy Mason (1-10-2012)
The first in an occasional series about those who make IceMen home games happen, starting with new PA Announcer Tommy Mason. For those who may be wondering, the second in this series has been written and will probably be published at some point this summer when there’s a lack of IceMen news to discuss.

How Many Seats? (2-16-2012)
Tired of rounded estimates, I took it upon myself to count the seats at the Ford Center. Now we know exactly how many folks can “officially” cram into the arena for an IceMen game. And now, the ECHL even uses the IceMenManiacs.com tally as its listed capacity for the facility!

What’s In A Name? (3-21-2012)
The “IceMen” name once meant nothing. Now, to the Maniacs at least, it means everything – and then some.

IceMen face stiff playoff test against Missouri (3-26-2012)
Our first crack at a playoff series preview. I hoped I’d be wrong, but I predicted a first-round exit for the IceMen due largely to red-hot Missouri goaltender Charlie Effinger, and that unfortunately turned out to be spot-on.

IceMen season ends with a “thud” (4-3-2012)
Wrapping up the first (and now guaranteed to be the only) CHL playoff series in IceMen history. What went wrong? It all started on Leap Day…

Accentuate the Positive: Looking Back at the 2011-2012 IceMen Season (4-12-2012)
Early playoff exit aside, it was a very successful season for the IceMen, both on and off the ice. An in-depth look at stats, awards, attendance, and a number of other interesting factoids about the team’s first season at the Ford Center.

Hockey and Hashtags: How Social Media Makes the IceMen/Komets Rivalry Unique (5-8-2012)
Tailgating with the enemy? It’s not unthinkable anymore. In fact, it’s a reality in hockey’s first Facebook-fueled rivalry!

Evansville IceMen Moving to the ECHL; IceMenManiacs.com’s “ECHL 101″ Primer (5-17-2012)
You all knew that the IceMen were going to the ECHL, long before it was officially announced. Check out our ECHL primer and you’ll know lots of other stuff about the ECHL too.

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