This is the 2015-16 Federal Hockey League season. This is the league's 6th season.
In late December, the Dayton Demolition relocated from the Hara Arena in Dayton to South Metro Sports in suburban Centerville, Ohio a December 31, 2015 news article in the Dayton Daily News cited financial distress as the reason for the move. On January 6, 2016 the Hara Arena's facebook page stated that the team had reached an agreement to return to the arena for the balance of the season. The league terminiated the ownership group of the team on January 17, 2016 and took over operation of the team pending the finding of new ownership. On January 27th the league announced that the team was sold to a Chicago based group lead by former Danville Dashers head coach Joe Pace Sr.who will be the director of operations and head coach.
On May 20, 2015 the Berlin River Drivers were resurected to be an expansion team for the 2015-16 season.
Steel City Warriors announced on April 17,2014 that they were immediately suspending operations. The team stated in their release that they were hoping to rejoin for the 2016-17 season.
The Watertown Wolves are facing an uncertain future as their home arena, the Watertown Municipal Arena is undergoing renovations that may not be completed until January 2016 at the earliest. A June 4th article now states the arena won't be completed until February 2016 and that the Wolves are looking into playing in Clayton, New York at the Cerow Recreation Park Arena for next season. The organization announced on June 22nd that the team will be sitting out the 2015-16 season as no suitable venue in the nearby area was found. The team had stated they had looked at every possiblility within a 40 mile radius of Watertown, including a few locations in Southern Ontario. The team stated it was planning on returning to the league for the 2016-17 season.
The Danbury Whalers were notified by the Danbury Ice Arena on April 3rd that there lease was not being renewed and to vacate the arena by April 17th. The future of the organization at this point was now in question.
The league announced a team to be located in Brewster, New York to be based out of the Brewster Ice Arena which pretty much was a replacement for the Danbury Whalers franchise as announced in the Lohud Journal News website on June 3. The two cities are about 10 miles apart. According to the article the Whalers are considered inactive and that some of the players from Danbury will be part of the Brewster franchise but there will be management changes. Brewster is presently home to the Brewster Bulldogs of the United States Premier 3 Hockey League. Herm Sorcher was the CEO and managing general partner of the Whalers was interviewed by the Danbury News Times and stated that he had "taken the job of general manager for the new FHL team". With the two towns being so close and the fact that a small portion of the Danbury fan base is from Brewster; a return to Danbury for 2015-16 looked highly unlikely. Danbury had lead the league in attendance since its inception, so a new franchise based out of the Danbury Ice Arena may still be a possibility. The new Brewster team was named the Stateline Whalers. However the team was renamed the Brewster Bulldogs in late July.
A report in the Berkshire Tribune on June 26, 2015 indicates that the owner was working on merging his franchise with the Danbury team (which is teamless as of the article being written as the new team was not publicly announced at this point) and playing games in both Danbury, CT and Brewster, NY (which is the home of the new franchise that replaced the Danbury franchise). The move may have been brought about by a reduction in the number of Friday night games (from 10 to 3) as the ownership of the rink was claiming financial losses caused by the lack of public skating on Friday nights.
The following day another article on the newstimes.com website stated that Danbury was approved for a new team to be based out of the Danbury Ice Arena. The team was aquired by Danbury resident Bruce Bennett. He stated in a phone interview that the franchise was apporved by the league on Thursday (June 25th) and that he signed a 6 year lease to play at the Danbury Ice Arena. Additional ownership included William Dadds, who owned (past tense) the Berkshire Battalion. and Edward Crowe. The new franchise will be coached by former Danbury Whalers coach Phil Esposito, who had resigned as coach during the dispute between the Whalers and the Danbury Ice Arena management (Eagle Ice Sports). Bennett is looking for input on a new name for the team which is completely seperate from the Danbury Whalers.
In late July the former owner of the Berkshire Battallion, was granted an expansion team to be based out of the Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio taking over for the former Dayton Demonz franchise which had been taken over by the league. The new team was given the name the Dayton Demolition.
League future in doubtEdit
According to an article in the April 17, 2015 edition of the Watertown Daily Times, the future of the league itself is now in question as the league is under a federal court order to pay $800,000 to former Danville Dasher player Kyler Mohe as the result of an injury that rendered him legally blind. The lawsuit stated that "during game play, Michael Stacey, a player for the Akwesasne Warriors, made an illegal maneuver by lifting his hockey stick and thrusting the blade end forcefully under Kyler Moje's helmet." and "Mr. Stacey's blade penetrated (Moje's) eye, blinding him." The suit alleges that the league was negligent in allowing the Akwesasne team to play in a game as the team had already been involved in several games in 2012 that resulted in suspension of players.The suit was filed in January 2014, the judgement was issued in October and was appealed by the league in December. The league is a limited liability corporation and may be forced to fold or re-organize under a different name.
The league has seven teams (plus one team on hiatus for 2015-16) based in the northeast and upper Midwest portions of the United States.
|Berlin River Drivers||2015||Notre Dame Arena||1,680||Berlin, New Hampshire|
|Brewster Bulldogs||2015||Brewster Ice Arena||1,000||Brewster, New York|
|Danbury Titans||2015||Danbury Ice Arena||3,005||Danbury, Connecticut|
|Danville Dashers||2011||David S. Palmer Arena||2,350||Danville, Illinois|
|Dayton Demolition||2012||Hara Arena (until late December)/South Metro Sports (late December on)||5,500/?||Dayton, Ohio /Centerville, Ohio|
|Port Huron Prowlers||2015||McMorran Place||3,400||Port Huron, Michigan|
|Watertown Wolves (on hiatus)||2014||Watertown Municipal Arena||2,000||Watertown, New York|
Due to an unequal number of games played by teams point percentage was used to figure the league standings
|Port Huron Prowlers||55||29||7||1||18||0.62||262||218||1348||102|
|Berlin River Drivers||55||14||4||5||32||0.33||218||298||926||55|
Commissioner's Cup PlayoffsEdit
The top four teams qualified (based on point percentage) for the playoffs. The semifinal round is best-of-three.
- Danbury Titans defeated Dayton Demolition 2 games to none (5-4, 4-3)
- Port Huron Prowlers defeated Danville Dashers 2 games to 1 (3-2, 2-4, 6-3)
- Port Huron Prowlers defeated Danbury Titans 3 games to none (3-2, 4-3, 3-1)