Established in 2015, the Evansville Junior Thunderbolts brought junior hockey to the tri-state area. However, the 'Bolts get their namesake from what happened in Evansville from over 50 years ago. In September 1942, the first Evansville-built P-47D Thunderbolt rolled off a burgeoning production line. With it came an industrial force that would put an end to the lingering effects of The Great Depression across the Tri-State. P-47 Thunderbolts were considered the largest and heaviest fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single piston driven engine and came to be known affectionately as “The Jug”. The fighter planes were heavily armed with eight .50-caliber machine guns as well as capacity for multiple bombs and drop tanks. It was the fastest American aircraft of it’s time and could reach speeds of 550 mph. 6,242 — almost half the total number of P-47s built during WWII — were manufactured in Evansville, Indiana at what is now the Whirlpool Appliances Factory.