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Sports fans delight in Jacksonville this weekend

Hockey, soccer, and of course, Jaguars football...its a sports buffet in Jacksonville this weekend.
The Jacksonville Icemen play their first home game Saturday at the Arena.  PHOTO: Brian Chojnacki/First Coast Sports

If you are a fan of local professional sports teams in Jacksonville, this weekend is a little slice of heaven. For the next three days, you have the chance to attend meaningful games in three different places. It's not the Players weekend or the Super Bowl, but in the past several years, this city has not seen anything quite this AWESOME for sports fans of LOCAL teams.

It all starts Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Hodges Stadium. The Jacksonville Armada (North American Soccer League) is hosting North Carolina F.C. in a battle that could help determine whether our third-year soccer team makes its first playoff appearance.

The team is tied for fourth place in the NASL standings, with the top four teams making the playoffs. North Carolina is in third place, just five points ahead. (Wins in the NASL are worth three points, ties are worth one). A win would propel the Armada towards a possible playoff spot with just three games left after Friday.

Oh...and for the kids (and kids at heart), the Armada is hosting "Fright Night". Wear your best Halloween costume and win prizes in a halftime contest. Plus there is post-match trick-or-treating with the players and a fireworks display.

Tickets start at $19 and are available at armadafc.com.

A cold front is coming to the Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday night as the Jacksonville Icemen hockey team hits the ice for the first time in a regular season game. The game versus the Orlando Solar Beats is SOLD OUT but you may be able to find tickets on secondary sights like Stubhub or the Ticketmaster Exchange.

STORY: Icemen team president excited for season

The Icemen play in the ECHL, a hockey league equivalent to AA baseball (two steps below the NHL). The Icemen are an affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets. Veteran coach Jason Christie, the winningest coach in ECHL history, leads Icemen into the first season in Jacksonville.

If you've never seen hockey in person, get out to the arena because you are in for a treat.

If you can't score a seat to the opener, tickets are available for their second home game next Saturday, October 21 against the South Carolina Stingrays.

Sunday is football day on the First Coast and the Jacksonville Jaguars are FINALLY making things exciting for their long-suffering fans. The team is in FIRST PLACE in the AFC South and hosts the high scoring Los Angeles Rams in a 4:05 PM kickoff at EverBank Field.

The Jags are coming off an impressive 30-9 road win against the Pittsburgh Steelers and are hoping to score their first home win of the season.

"We have to play well at home, earn that right to have home-field advantage," Coach Doug Marrone said. "I don't think you put it on all the fans, you say, `Hey, listen, we need you to do this, we need you to do that.' They're coming out and they're paying good money to see a good product on the field and seeing some wins.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Jaguars get ready for the Rams

Tickets are still available starting at $41 through Ticketmaster.

Before You Leave, Check This Out