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Southwest Florida offers a sport for every enthusiast

By Staff | Dec 9, 2009

Southwest Florida offers a variety of sporting events and activities to suit many tastes.

With Fort Myers and Cape Coral located on opposite banks of the Caloosahatchee River and miles of shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico, it’s easy to see why watersports and fishing rank at the top of the participation chart. Kayaking, canoeing, boating and jet-skiing are prominent activities by residents and visitors alike. Rental and guided tours are readily available through the parks and recreation departments and private outfitters.

For landlubbers, depending on the time of year, there’s professional baseball and hockey plus NCAA Division I collegiate sports to see and be seen.

Major League Baseball

Spring Training

The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins of the American League conduct spring training in Fort Myers during February and March. The Red Sox play their Grapefruit League games at the 6,990-seat City of Palms Park, located at 2201 Edison Avenue near downtown Fort Myers, with plans to occupy a new facility in south Lee County in 2012. The Twins conduct their camp at the Lee County Sports Complex, located at 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, including the 7,500-seat Hammond Stadium. Both teams maintain training complexes that are utilized almost year-round for injury rehab and player development. For Red Sox information call (239) 334-4799; for Twins information call (239) 768-4210.

Fort Myers Miracle

The high Class A farm team of the Minnesota Twins play a Florida State League schedule April through August at Hammond Stadium, the spring training home of the Twins. The team arrived at the newly-constructed Lee County Sports Complex in South Fort Myers in 1991. Many of the players on the Twins’ roster today played for the Miracle just a few short seasons ago. Before that, some played for the Gulf Coast League Twins, a rookie league squad that occupies the training facility for most of the summer. For ticket information call (239) 768-4210.

Florida Everblades

The Florida Everblades are playing their 12th season in 2009-10 as Southwest Florida’s entry in the East Coast Hockey League. The affiliate team of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers, plays its home games at Germain Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero. The Everblades won the 2008-09 Brabham Cup awarded to the regular-season point champion, but have yet to win the league’s Kelly Cup championship. The ECHL season runs from October through April. For ticket information call (239) 948-7825.

Florida Gulf

Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University began its athletic programs in 2000 with men’s and women’s tennis and golf. Along with a move to NCAA Division I status, 10 new programs have made their debut since – men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s swimming and volleyball. The campus is located at 10501 FGCU Blvd. For information call (239) 590-7012.