Arkansas RiverBlades

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Arkansas RiverBlades
ArkansasRiverblades.png
City North Little Rock, Arkansas
League East Coast Hockey League
Operated 1998–2003
Home arena Verizon Arena
Colors Red, Blue, Silver, Black, White
Head coach Jeff Warl, Brad Gratton
Franchise history
1998–2003 Arkansas RiverBlades
Championships
Regular season titles none
Division Championships none
Playoff championships none

The Arkansas RiverBlades was a short-lived minor-league ice hockey team located in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Arkansas RiverBlades was an expansion franchise that entered the East Coast Hockey League for the 1998–99 season.[1] Their home games were played at the newly opened ALLTEL Arena.

The team logo was unveiled in February 1998 and the Canadian brothers Dave Berryman and Tim Berryman were granted a lease for Alltel Arena in March. The ECHL franchise was granted in May 1998.

The team was originally named the "Arkansas RazorBlades" and adopted a razorback hog as its mascot. The University of Arkansas objected to the name and symbology and pressed the team to finally agree to a name change. In October 1998 a contest was held to establish a new name and "RiverBlades" was chosen.

In May 1999 the team selected the slogan "Greatest Game on Ice". Little Rock's minor league baseball team, the Arkansas Travelers, objected to the slogan which is similar to their long standing "Greatest Game on Dirt" slogan.

The RiverBlades played their home opener on October 28, 1998 after moving the date due to construction delays at ALLTEL Arena. The RiverBlades would compete with the cross-town Arkansas GlacierCats who were in their second season. The two teams played on the same nights in many cases and each developed their own fan following. The next year the GlacierCats would fold, unable to compete with the RiverBlades and their new home arena. In October 2001 the ECHL approved the sale of Dave Berryman's 51 percent stake of the team to Equity Broadcasting which also owned the Arkansas Twisters arena football team. During the 2000–2001 season the team hosted the ECHL All-Star game at Alltel Arena. Head coach Jeff Ward. Assistant coach Brad Gratton.

In the summer of 2002 the Fayetteville Force, a Central Hockey League team out of North Carolina offered to switch franchises with Berryman who turned the offer down.

In early 2003 rumors began to circulate that the RiverBlades would not return for the 2003–2004 season but the company denied the rumors. In June 2003 Equity Broadcasting ended the lease with Alltel Arena and announced that it would attempt to sell the team.

In 2008 rumors began to circulate about a new season in 2010–2011, however these rumors could neither be confirmed nor denied by Alltel, Verizon, and others. Additionally, with the December 8, 2008, filing of chapter 11 bankruptcy by Equity Media Holdings Corporation, this has become unlikely.

In July 2009 Alltel Arena officially became Verizon Arena after Verizon Wireless, Inc. purchased Alltel Corp.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott, Jon C. (2006). Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South. Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. p. 160. ISBN 1-894974-21-2. 

Adapted from the article Arkansas RiverBlades, from Wikinfo,, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.