Florida is more known for its beaches, resorts and golf courses than producing hockey players.
While the sport will never rival football's popularity in the Sunshine State, a former minor pro and collegiate star is helping Florida become a hockey hotbed, at least for one age group.
Ryan Brindley, born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, was a terrific college defenseman at Miami (Ohio) who embarked on a minor pro career spanning the AHL and ECHL. The final four seasons of his career were spent with the Florida Everblades, a team based in the suburbs of Fort Myers. Following retirement, he’s devoted time to helping young hockey players with his Southeast Elite Hockey organization.
His coaching has helped the ’04 Florida Alliance club become one of the top youth teams in the country. Several players he's helped along are on the radar of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, plus Division 1 college programs.