Federal Hockey League
Federal Hockey League
|No. of teams||6|
|Most recent champion(s)||Dayton Demonz (1st title)|
The Federal Hockey League (FHL) is a professional ice hockey league with teams in the Northeastern United States and Midwestern United States. The FHL began operations in November 2010. Don Kirnan serves as the league's commissioner. The FHL is ranked as an "A" Level Professional League.
2010-11 - Inaugural Season
The FHL would see a handful of NHL players and draft picks join the ranks, headlined by Pierre Dagenais and Billy Tibbetts. Dagenais, who has 142 games played with 35 goals and 58 points in the NHL with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens and Florida Panthers, played two seasons for the Akwesasne Warriors amassing 107 goals and 197 points in 68 regular season games and would help Akwesasne win the first Commissioner's Cup. Tibbetts, who played with the role of an enforcer in his brief 82 game NHL career, mostly with the Pittsburgh Penguins, played 15 games for the Cape Cod Bluefins in 2011-12, scoring 10 goals, 40 points, and 109 PIM in only 15 games.
Akwesasne would win the very first Commissioner's Cup title with a 3-1 series win over the New York Aviators.
In February 2011, the FHL announced for the 2011–12 season they would add new teams in northern Vermont and Illinois. The Green Mountain Rock Crushers (later changed their name to the Vermont Wild) will play at Green Mountain Arena in Morrisville, Vermont, and the Danville Dashers will play at David S. Palmer Arena in Danville, Illinois. In May 2011, the FHL announced an expansion team to Wayne, New Jersey, called the New Jersey Outlaws. In December 2011 the FHL announced the Delaware Federals would replace the Vermont Wild. They played their first game on December 16, 2011 against Cape Cod.
In May 2012 it was announced that the Brooklyn Aviators were ceasing operations and that an expansion team was being added in Dayton, Ohio. The Dayton Demonz will play at the Hara Arena starting in the 2012-13 season. The Dayton Expansion Draft and the Brooklyn Player Dispersal Draft were both held on June 15.
In July 2012 it was announced that the defending champion New Jersey Outlaws were relocating to Williamsport, PA, for the 2012-13 season. Rather than playing in a traditional ice arena, they played outside on an ice rink at Bowman Field, home to the minor league baseball team the Williamsport Crosscutters. This venture was unsuccessful as the team folded on January 21, 2013 only to be resurrected by the league as a travel team that played four road games.
On March 22, 2013, the Danbury Whalers swept the Dayton Demonz to win the Commissioner's Cup. The attendance at the final game was 3,116; the largest attendance in the history of the league.
The FHL would play with only 4 teams for the season, and in a bid for expansion played neutral site games in Winston-Salem, NC and Connellsville, PA. Dayton Demonz forward Ahmed Mahfouz, known for his scoring ability as well as his role in getting under the skin of the opposition, as well as his notorious beard, led the league in scoring and was the league's Most Valuable Player. The Danville Dashers twice were the center of national sports attention, first in a brawl during a game against the Watertown Privateers in which a collision between Danville goalie Nick Niedert and Watertown enforcer and noted pest Jeff Dill took place, sparking a line brawl, and soon spilled between benches, and punches were briefly thrown between Danville interim coach Mike Kellermeyer and Privateers coach Brad Zangs. Officials managed to get the situation under control thanks to the arrival of local police. The next meeting between the two teams resulted in a sellout at Watertown Municipal Arena, however cooler heads prevailed for that contest.
The Staged Fight and Beer incident
In the final game of the regular season between Danville and Dayton, two friends and former teammates decided to stage a fight in the 3rd period. With a 4-0 lead with less than 10 minutes to go, it had little impact on the game itself, but the impact of what happened next would gain more attention nationwide than the FHL has ever seen. Jesse Felten and Matt Puntureri, both notable players in the FHL, squared off at center ice, and as punches would have been thrown, both players hugged it out instead. Next, Puntureri would pull a can of Coors Light from his pads, open it, and in each other's embrace, Matt and Jesse skated around center ice toasting the crowd to mixed reactions. With several media outlets waiting for a reaction, the league announced that Jesse Felten would be suspended for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. However Puntureri's fate is yet to be known, since it was Danville's last game, and they were out of playoff contention, so he has served no suspension, however he could still be handed one out during the offseason. Puntureri would later say he believes he will be banned for life.
Commissioner's Cup IV
The Dayton Demonz would win the first series over the Watertown Privateers, 2 games to 1, to play top seeded Danbury in the finals. Danbury would win the first two games of the finals, game one in OT from a goal by Igor Karlov. Back in Dayton for Game 3 the Demonz would sport new jerseys, which many believe gave them luck. Mike Brown, a Boston Bruins Draft pick from the early 2000s, would be injured and Kevin Hoy took over in net for Danbury. This would be the turning point in the series as Dayton captain Brian Marks scored in OT to force a game 4, which Dayton would also win. Dayton would win game 5 and the Commissioner's Cup in a blowout 9-2 victory. Jeff Rose was awarded the Playoff MVP award.
Season V: 2014-15
The FHL has awarded a franchise to play in Southwest Pennsylvania to begin play in the 14-15 season, named the Southwest Pennsylvania Magic. They will play at the Rostraver Ice Garden in Belle Vernon, PA. This will bring the league team total to 5 and marks the FHL's return to Pennsylvania after the folding of the Williamsport Outlaws during the 2012-13 season. In an interview, commissioner Don Kirnan stated he hopes to see as many as 7-8 teams in the FHL next season.
During the 2013-14 season, a group of local investors was working to purchase the Watertown Privateers, owned by Don Kirnan. On May 14, 2014, news circulated that the owners group, named Top Shelf Hockey, LLC and led by local businessman Stanley Tibbles, had entered a bid to start an entirely new FHL franchise and that Kirnan's Privateers would not play in the 2014-15 season. While the FHL will indeed stay in the city, which was in limbo for several months, it is unknown if the new franchise will be named the Privateers or assume a new identity.
As of May 17, 2014, the league stands at 5 teams, based in Belle Vernon, Danbury, Danville, Dayton, and Watertown.
By July 14, 2014, a total of six teams have been confirmed for the upcoming 2014-2015 season as a team was awarded to Berlin, New Hampshire.
|Berlin||2014||Notre Dame Arena||2,000||Berlin, New Hampshire|
|Danbury Whalers||2010||Danbury Ice Arena||3,050||Danbury, Connecticut|
|Danville Dashers||2011||David S. Palmer Arena||2,350||Danville, Illinois|
|Dayton Demonz||2012||Hara Arena||5,500||Dayton, Ohio|
|SWPA Magic||2014||Rostraver Ice Garden||2,000||Rostraver Township, Pennsylvania|
|Watertown Wolves||2014||Watertown Municipal Arena||2,000||Watertown, New York|
Broome County Barons
New York Aviators
Thousand Islands Privateers
|Broome County Barons → Cape Cod Barons|
New Jersey Outlaws
|Rome Frenzy||Vermont Wild → Delaware Federals||Cape Cod Barons → Cape Cod Bluefins
New York Aviators → Brooklyn Aviators
Green Mountain Rock Crushers → Vermont Wild
|2012–13||6||Dayton Demonz||Brooklyn Aviators
New York Bluefins
|New Jersey Outlaws → Williamsport Outlaws
Cape Cod Bluefins → New York Bluefins
|Dayton Devils → Dayton Demonz
Williamsport Outlaws → Pennsylvania Outlaws
Pennsylvania Outlaws → Pennsylvania Blues
|2013–14||4||Thousand Islands Privateers → Watertown Privateers|
- 2010–11 – Akwesasne Warriors
- 2011–12 – New Jersey Outlaws
- 2012–13 – Danbury Whalers
- 2013–14 – Dayton Demonz
- "Corporation". Mississippi Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- "FHL Fact Sheet". Federal Hockey League. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- "FHL Frequently Asked Questions". Federal Hockey League. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- Lindsay, Joy (December 17, 2010). "Barons Leave Broome County". Binghamton Sun-Press. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- "Cape Cod has a hockey team!". Cape Cod Today. January 1, 2011. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- Pitarresi, John (February 9, 2010). "Frenzy season ends; team might leave Rome". Utica Observer-Dispatch. Archived from the original on October 14, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. The Federal Hockey League has announced a press conference set for May 30th at 2pm at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio about a new franchise. Hara Arena is the former home of the Dayton Gems of the Central Hockey League.
- Dayton Expansion Draft
- Outlaws ride into Williamsport PA
- Professional hockey coming to Williamsport's Bowman Field
- "Federal Hockey League (FHL)". OurSports Central. Retrieved June 15, 2012.