North East Professional Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 2009
No. of teams 2
Country(ies) Flag of the United States United States
Ceased 2010
Last champion(s) New York Aviators
Official website

The North East Professional Hockey League (NEPHL) was a professional men's ice hockey league that had its only season in 2009–10.

League historyEdit

The league was announced on July 12, 2009, via and was to consist of teams in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; with the possibility of adding a team in Danbury, Connecticut for the start of the season or the following season.[1][2]

The league was originally to consist of four teams, but the New England Pharaohs and Twin City Yeti, were forced into a hiatus due to a founding member having two major heart surgeries prior to the start of the season. The Boston Wings had announced entry into the league in July 2009, but then decided to fold their franchise before the season began. The Rhode Island Storm, the only currently active founding member of the NEPHL, along with the New York Aviators decided to start the season alone and as a result the Connecticut C-Dogs were quickly added as a team prior to the beginning of the 2009-2010 season[3].

The inaugural NEPHL season was originally slated for 44 games. This was modified for the first time to 30 games and again to 20 (later 15) games due to financial concerns from the C-Dog and Storm franchises. With money problems mounting daily the Rhode Island Storm franchise demanded the season be shortened again to conclude the first week in January[4]. A playoff structure was implemented where the win less Connecticut C-Dogs would play the Rhode Island Storm in a best 2 out of 3 playoff series with all three games to be played in Rhode Island because the C-Dogs canceled their ice time at their facility in East Haven, CT[5].

Game 1 took place at the Boss Arena in Kingston, RI on January 2, 2010 with RI winning 16 - 5. Game 2 scheduled for the following night also in Kingston ended in a more bizarre fashion with a 1 - 0 forfeit win for the Storm. At game time only 2 members of the C-Dogs team (neither of which were goalies) had shown up at the arena ready to play. C-Dogs Owner and Head Coach Phil Esposito (no relation to the NHL Phil Esposito) did not bother to show up either. Esposito maintains he was in contact with Storm Head Coach Dave Monteiro multiple times telling him the chances are pretty good he would not be able to put a team together for game 2. Both Monteiro and Storm General Manager Kirk McDonough vehemently deny there was any contact made by Esposito to their club warning them of his intention to not have a complete team available for the second playoff game. McDonough stated "If what Esposito is saying is true and he kept everyone in the loop about not being able to have a complete C-Dogs team available for Game 2 why did two of his players show up ready to play Game 2 and tell us nobody told them there was not going to be a game?"

With excited Rhode Island fans in attendance at the Boss Arena for Game 2, The Storm owner Ed McDonough had no choice but to announce the forfeit. A rain of Boos poured from the stands surely directed at Esposito and his hapless C-Dogs franchise. In absence of a game the Rhode Island fans were treated to a skills type competition by the players, an autograph session as well as a free ticket to the following weeks second game of the championship series against the undefeated New York Aviators.

With the series win over Connecticut it meant the Storm would advance to the best 2 out of 3 championship series against Rob Miller's undefeated New York Aviators. Game 1 was played on January 8, 2010 in Brooklyn, NY at the Aviator Arena with New York winning 10 - 2. Game 2 was played on Sunday evening January 10, 2010 at the Boss Arena in Kingston on the Campus of the University of Rhode Island. A must win for the Storm in order to force a third game back in Brooklyn turned out to be an absolute annihilation by New York who won in a laugher 14 - 1. In the first and potentially only season for the NEPHL the Aviators and Storm met in 7 contests. The Aviators outscored the Storm 71 to 8 in those games.

The NEPHL, wrought with financial problems from the day they dropped their first puck, is down to two teams with the Connecticut C-Dogs ceasing operations with the forfeited playoff game vs. Rhode Island. The New York Aviators will apply to the Federal Hockey League [6] The Rhode Island Storm will return to play in 2010-11 in some capacity they will need to find a new arena as the often contentious relationship between the Storm front office and the powers that run the Boss Arena came to a head recently as a lapse of security at the arena wound up in the Storm locker room being burglarized with three players jerseys stolen forcing the Storm starting goalie in the playoffs to wear a white jersey with no logo, number or name sewn on.

As of early January 2010, both the league website and Rhode Island Storm websites are inactive[7].

On January 11, 2010, Jerry Deno announced on the C-Dogs facebook website: "The NY Aviators have taken the NEPHL Championship 2 games to none in the best of 3 vs the RI Storm. I would like to thank all of our friends and fans who attended games in RI ,NY ,and Ct. I would also like to announce at this time that the Rhode Island Storm and the New York Aviators will be back next season with a stronger and more stabil league. Again Thanks and see you all in November"[8]

On March 26, 2010 the Aviators announced[9] that they are joining the Federal Hockey League, a single-A professional ice hockey league.


Teams competingEdit

Teams that were announced, but did not playEdit


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