Tim Tebow — the legendary former Florida Gators quarterback, a former Denver Broncos quarterback who threw for 316 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers to win an overtime playoff game, and a former minor league baseball player — is making his way to another sport: hockey.
This time, though, it'll be as an owner.
According to Greg Wyshynski of ESPN, the board of governors of the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) has approved an expansion application for Tebow to bring a team to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The team will debut during the 2024-25 season. Along with Tebow in this venture is David Hodges, CEO of Hodges Management Group, which owns three car dealerships and real estate investment firms in Georgia.
Tim Tebow is named a co-owner for a brand-new expansion ECHL franchise in Lake Tahoe ?
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) July 10, 2023
"The ECHL proudly welcomes the 29th Member Team to the League in the brand-new Tahoe Blue Event Center, expanding our geography in the western part of the continent, and creating natural rivalries for visiting fans with the Idaho Steelheads, Utah Grizzlies, and the entire Mountain Division," ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin said in a statement Monday.
It's unclear how much Tebow and Hodges paid, but Yahoo Sports reported the franchise fee for an ECHL team was around $1.5 million in 2008. And in 2014, the publication wrote the team's annual budget could run from $2-4 million. Teams must pay rookie players a minimum salary of $510 per week and returning players a minimum of $555 per week, according to the league website. Each team carries a maximum of 20 players on the roster.
The Tahoe Blue Event Center, a 4,200-plus-seat venue in Stateline, Nevada, will open later this month.
Zawyer Sports & Entertainment will operate the team. It also has managed the Jacksonville Icemen and Savannah Ghost Pirates, fellow ECHL teams. Tebow has been a minority owner for those, too.
"I love that sports can bring people together from all over to enjoy camaraderie, competition, and community impact," Tebow said. "I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be part of a group bringing hockey to the Tahoe area for fans and families to create memories for years to come."
No team name, colors or logo have been prepared for the team. Officials said it will be a collaborative effort between ownership and the fan base.
The ECHL is affiliated with the NHL. There used to be a Lake Tahoe team known as the Blue, but it eventually became the Icemen. The team played there from 2013 to 2018 in the Western State Hockey League, which is now defunct.
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