There’s a new energy surrounding #rabbitsrising in Greenville as the Swamp Rabbits make their return to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena and will become one of the first live crowds to welcome back hockey. There’s so much to celebrate here. First, due to the Bon Secours Wellness Arena holding just over 15,000 for hockey, it allows for the Swamp Rabbits to maintain crowds up around 4,000 with proper social distancing and mask guidelines in place. Second, there’s a new leader of the team in Coach Andrew Lord who has a well-established track record for winning. Finally, while their AHL affiliate remains the same in the Charlotte Checkers, their new NHL affiliate for this season will be the Florida Panthers.
The arena has been home for many years to the Greenville Grrrowl, Road Warriors, and now the Swamp Rabbits which draws a tighter connection to Greenville which is derived from the Greenville and Northern Railway that later became known as our Swamp Rabbit Trail.
They are kicking off season 6 under this name and a new Coach. Andrew Lord is by far not new to hockey having success as a player throughout the minors and making it as far as the AHL league. He went on to play in the Elite Ice Hockey League and eventually became a Coach there as well of the Cardiff Devils in the United Kingdom. During his playing and coaching time with Cardiff, he racked up nine separate titles, three Conference Championships, to Challenge Cup Championships, two League Titles, and two Playoff Championships. In six seasons he had a very impressive record of 221-75-22. He’s known to be the first one at the arena each day hours before anyone else to make sure everything is set up and planned out just right. Winning seems to follow him everywhere he goes.
Under Andrew Lord’s leadership, the Swamp Rabbits kick off their Home Opener Weekend on December 18th and 19th against the Florida Everblades at 7:05 pm each night. Look for the returning faces like Brendan Connolly, plus several new players ready to make an impact in Greenville.
What’s also special about the Home Opener on the 18th is that it’s Heroes of the Upstate to honor all of those on the front lines battling Covid-19. To nominate a Hero for this night go to https://www.swamprabbits.com/fan-zone/heroesoftheupstate . December 19th will be Holiday Hockey and Hope as the crowd will be Singing for Santa.
For more information on Single Game and Multi-Game/Season Ticket Packages go to www.swamprabbits.com. The Swamp Rabbits have a strong social media presence as well on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Look for the #rabbitsrising on there. Also, check out www.iongreenville.net for write-ups on the Swamp Rabbits as the season progresses.
Lastly, one thing the Swamp Rabbits have always been known for is their interaction and giving back to the community. Although the players and staff will need to limit their contacts with the public due to Covid-19 this season, they are still very active in giving back by doing projects like Habitat for Humanity, Food Bank drives, raising money to battle Leukemia and Breast Cancer, and acknowledging those local heroes in our community just to name a few. They have always had the belief in the importance of giving back to the local community.
2020 has been a challenging year for so many and the return of live hockey in our area has been a huge welcoming presence. The new coach, players, and all of the Swamp Rabbits staff are excited to see the return of an audience for live hockey as well. So, let’s get out there and support that and feed off of each other’s energy!!!