Cajun Fans Get Hot for Hockey

A minor league team is winning games--and hearts--in Louisiana

When Ernie Parker and four partners decided to start a minor-league hockey team in Lafayette, La., five years ago, the nicest thing they heard was laughter. Now all they're hearing is cheers. The Louisiana Ice Gators (get it?) led the 28-team East Coast Hockey League in attendance their first four seasons, averaging 10,500 fans per game--more than the (nominally) Big League New York Islanders drew this year. Of course, the Gators are a winning team, at week's end up two games to none over the Peoria Rivermen in the ECHL finals.

It's an unlikely success that says a lot about the...

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