Pensacola Ice Pilots
Mario Forgione was majority owner of Henley Sports, Inc., which owned the Pensacola Ice Pilots hockey team. A native of Canada who already owned a team in the Ontario Hockey League, he purchased the ECHL team from Tim Kerr on August 18, 2005, after his wife Michele expressed a desire to move back to her native Florida.
|One of the things that hurts us is the perception that the franchise is not stable. We need to erase that. … The key to our success is going to be a long-term plan. We've got to recognize the fans and appreciate them. I want to give the fans what they want. I've had phone calls with people literally crying on the phone, begging us not to move this team. They want a championship team; I've heard that loud and clear. We're going to give them the best hockey we can provide them.|
In June 2008, Forgione indicated to the ECHL that he would not field a team for the 2008-09 season. This was cited by the league as "grounds for termination," according to commissioner Brian McKenna, and the Ice Pilots were stripped of their league membership on June 23.
- "Ice Pilots' new owner passionate about making a difference." Pensacola News Journal, October 2, 2005.
- "Hockey comes to a halt in Pensacola." Pensacola News Journal, June 24, 2004.