Semi-Pro Blog

Blogging about the most underrated hockey leagues

                                    

Biography of Jason McCrimmon

Name: Jason McCrimmon
Position: Defensemen
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 235lbs
Stick Used: Salming 
Years Pro: 3
Last team played for: Danbury Whalers

For the month of May, I have the honor to feature Jason McCrimmon as the Semi Pro Blogs “Mucker of the Month”. Jason has an extensive list of leagues played in stemming from MAHL, CHL, IHL, AAHA, EPHL and most recently the FHL. Known as the “Motor City Hitter” Jason has made a reputation for himself as one of the best known fighters in Minor Pro Hockey. McCrimmon found his most success in the 2008-2009 season with the Jersey Rockhoppers, capturing the EPHL Championship. Jason took some years away from the game of hockey only to reappear in the Federal Hockey League with the Danbury Whalers this season appearing in 15 games with the leagues top franchise. Although next season is far away, wherever it takes Jason, I wish him the very best.

Question & Answer with Jason McCrimmon

1- So Jason, how did you come up with the nickname “Motor City Hitter”? 

The name was given to me a couple years ago by Herm Schorcer while playing in the EPHL with the Jersey Rockhoppers.I’m a Detroit native aka the Motor City and being a physical hard working player the name fit. 

2 - 
Did you enjoy your time with the Danbury Whalers this season? What was it like to play in front of the famous crowd at the Danbury Arena?

It was a interesting season with the Whalers to say the least, but the Danbury crowd is the best in sports hands down I couldn’t ask for a better support system no matter if we won or lost they are die-hard fans. 

3 - 
Who was your toughest opponent to fight ever? In which league?

Joe Pelle was a pretty tough opponent, he showed up to do his job night in and night out got to respect that! 

4 - 
What was it like to be part of the championship squad Jersey Rockhoppers? Was that your most cherished moment in your pro career?

Being part of the Championship winning Rockhoppers was a dream we had a great team with great coaching and a team bond that pushed us to be the best team we could be, everyone played their role and it paid off for us at the end of season. The thing I cherish most about playing pro hockey is being blessed enough to play a game you love and being paid to do it. I also cherish every fan that has bought my jersey,t-shirt, and got a autograph from me I’m truly blessed to be in a position where I can showcase my talent and passion for others to see and appreciate what I have to offer.

5 - 
Do you plan on coming back to professional hockey next season? If so, what are your plans for the off season and which team do you hope to land with? 

I’m looking to go back overseas to Finland or germany! I also have a non-profit Iceman Corporate Enterprises is created to expand knowledge of the game of hockey to youth, while tackling issues such a s self-esteem, obesity, nutrition, exercise and creating a new experience that will promote fun and discpline.

6 -  
Give us some information on Iceman Corporate Enterprises. 

ICE provides and promotes hockey camps for underprivileged youth in and around the Detroit Metropolitian area and abroad. The camps provide a new and exciting look at life to those who wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to play hockey.We are dedicated to enhancing the lives of less fortunate youth through the game of hockey. We have a Facebook page (I.C.E.) you can like or go to the website Iceman.vpweb.com to donate.

Thanks to Jason McCrimmon

I would like to thank Jason McCrimmon for taking the time out of his busy day to speak with me. If it wasn’t for gentlemen like himself, “Mucker of the Month” would not be possible.

(Jason being escorted off the ice by an FHL official this past season)

Who would you like to be the “Mucker of the Month?

 
Have someone in mind that you would like to be the Mucker of the Month? Or would you like to ask the next Mucker of the Month a question? Simply find me on twitter @SemiPro_Blog or write on my Facebook wall 
http://www.facebook.com/SemiProBlog. 


                                    

Same old same old within the FHL the past couple weeks. The Queen City Storm literally fell off the face of the earth since announcing a press release that never happened, so believed including myself that they may be entering the FHL but all of the sudden, there was no press release and everything was off the site. It’s too bad really that the Queen City Storm have not announced anything because as word has it Dayton will be in the FHL for next season with new ownership coming in including Barry Soskin, current owner of the Danville Dashers. This is awesome for the western part of the FHL, making the traveling schedule easier on everyone. Now if Queen Storm would get organized and come into the FHL it would be solid, but there’s one thing, this is not guaranteed. The FHL has made promises for Lewiston before with it only to fall out in front of us. I’m trying my best not to get my hopes up for Dayton, only because of the chance of them to fall apart and the FHL to be left with nothing again. 


Word has it the New Jersey Outlaws are looking to move. Doesn’t make any sense to me, but in all honesty I don’t really care, they are defending Commissioner Cup champions, yet they want to move and not do it the right way and build up the Wayne hockey market to be one that can sell out each and every night. 

Still no shirt from the Danbury Whalers. Was suppose to be sent out over 2 months ago. My FHL t-shirt came in along with my Danville Dashers Hiro #89 jersey. It’s absolutely awesome! I ordered another, Ray Tremblay #52. If you want a FHL game worn jersey, then contact the Dashers! 50 bucks each for a game worn jersey is a very good price! 

Be sure to stay tuned for this months “Mucker of the Month”. I’ll give you a little hint, it’s a former Danbury Whaler! Thanks for tuning in although there isn’t much to talk about! 

                                    

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Semi Pro Blog “Mucker of the Month”. What this basically is, is an insight of the life of Minor Pro hockey players who sometimes don’t get the notice they deserve. Getting to know them more personally. Our first ever “Mucker of the Month” is Shane Potter.

Biography of Shane Potter

Name: Shane Potter
Position: Goaltender
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 180lbs
Gear Used: Koho
Years Pro: 4
Last team played for: West Bend Bombers

Shane Potter has been mucking it out in the Semi-Pro and Minor Pro leagues since 2009 starting out in the Greater Lakes Hockey League (GLHL), a semi pro league that has been running since 1937! Shane decided to step things up and go onto the next level, having a tryout with the Detroit Hitmen of the All American Hockey League (AAHL) in 2010, but a knee injury caused Shane to miss the rest of tryouts along with the season. Potter didn’t let his injury stop him. Shane came back strong in the summer of 2011 prompting him to since with the Federal Hockey League (FHL) expansion club the Niagara Falls Nationals, but they ended up folding before hitting the ice, but that didn’t stop Shane. Shane’s passion led him to the FHL Free Agent camp, being signed to a Pro Contract with the Cape Cod Bluefins, only to be released. Shane found himself back to his old stomping grounds in the GLHL this past season with hopes to get on with a FHL team for the 2012-2013 season. Shane Potter is the Semi Pro Blog, April Mucker of the Month.

Question & Answer with Shane Potter

1 – Give the readers some info on yourself. Where are you from? Who did you play minor hockey for and what was your last organization played for? 

I am a 30 year old that is originally from St. Louis, MO but has spent most of my life in Milwaukee, WI. I got into hockey pretty late in life as I played soccer as a goalie before getting into hockey. But I grew up around hockey as my uncle was a goalie in the 70s and my family was very close to the Milwaukee Admirals back in the day. So in the mid-90s I wanted to get into hockey so for my minor hockey I played for S.H.A.W (Southeastern Hockey Association of Wisconsin) a private hockey league. After my senior year of high school I went into GLHL (Great Lakes Hockey League) the tried oldest hockey league in the country (75 years old) and the only semi pro league like it anymore. Back in 2001 after high school I also started coaching. I was the goalie coach for one season with a local high school team. Which years later now I have gotten back into coaching with a fantastic new goalie school called Goalies INC. This last season I spent most of the season back in the GLHL with the West Bend Bombers.

2 – How did you find out about the Federal Hockey League?

After 2010 season I was looking around for a new league to play in after the AAHL disbanded and I heard a few things about this new single A league the FHL so I started watching and reading about it online and in talking with my goalie coach who looked into as well for me We talked it over and I really liked what I saw about the league and knew I wanted to be a part of this new league.

3 – What was the atmosphere like at the Free Agent Camp?

The Atmosphere at the Boston Free Agent Camp was just a great one! I have done a number of FACs in my past. From start to finish from the guys at the camp trying out, which I am to this day still friends with a number of them to the coaches that were brought in to coach to the rink the tryout was held at it, was a fantastic weekend. To bring in coaches such as Kevin Stevens and the Providence Bruins skills coach and also Brian Eklund for the goalies it was a great experience getting to be on the ice with them and getting to talk, learn and get ideas from them.

4 – I understand you had a Pro Tryout with the Niagara Falls Nationals, how did it feel to have a tryout with a brand new team in the Federal Hockey League.

It felt great having the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new team. After talking with the GM and getting an idea of what the outlook for the team was going to be and what not it was existing to see what was being built for the Nationals.

5- After the Nationals disbanded from the FHL, you got a Pro Tryout with the Cape Cod Bluefins. Tell us about your experience there.

After the Nationals I contacted Dave Monteiro who at the time was the head coach of the Bluefins. Who was also at the tryout in Boston scouting for players. We talked for a short amount of time in which after our talk he sent out my PTO to come to training camp for them. After signing my PTO I had the opportunity to speak more with Dave and also with Dan LaCouture who was the GM of the team at the time. I was really existed to see what the outlook was for the team and what type of team and direction the team was going. Unfortunately hockey being the business it is things didn’t work out but as with all the teams in the league I still follow the team and was happy to see the team had a good season and made the post season. 

6 – Overall, what are your general thoughts on the Federal Hockey League? Would you ever like to get back into the Federal Hockey League?

Overall my thoughts on the FHL are great. There is a very big need out there for a single A pro league and I am happy to see that the league is out there and bringing opportunity for hockey players to have a league to play, grow and become better hockey players to hopefully continue their playing career and also bringing hockey to fans that are wanting hockey in their area. Going into the league’s third season I am very much looking forward to seeing where the league goes and how it will continue to grow and become bigger and stronger. I am very much so looking forward to this off season and getting back into the FHL.

Thanks to Shane Potter

I would like to thank Shane for taking the time to speak with me and being more then a good sport about interview. I’d like to congratulate him on his accomplishments so far in his career and wish him the best of luck in his bright future.

       
                            (Photo Above: Shane Potter during the FHL Free Agent Camp)

Corrections

Last week I had a rant about my t-shirts not coming in, well a day after what do you know! I get the FHL t-shirt I’ve been waiting for, for two months! Oh well, at least I have it and I finally got in touch with Herm after displaying my displeasure with him not answering me on the Danbury thread over Facebook. My shirt will be going out tomorrow. I’ll make sure to let everyone know when it comes in! Thanks to both the FHL and Danbury for getting my stuff to me!

                                     

Rumors are flying left and right in the Minor Pro leagues, so I have a lot to cover. First, the other day I was asked my opinion on what I think about the potential of the ECHL, CHL and SPHL merging to form one “AA” league. What I think is that if this was to ever happen the ECHL and CHL would merge but the SPHL stay the same. Why? I personally think that the ECHL and CHL are on almost the same playing field as each other. Look at the success the Colorado Eagles had this year coming over from the CHL to the ECHL this year. Most of their players played in the CHL then the ECHL this year and they had a great year. But I think if the SPHL came over it wouldn’t work as well. I just don’t think the SPHL is on the same level as the CHL. Also, players with history in the NHL cannot play in the SPHL. So if a merge of CHL and ECHL happened I have a feeling that the SPHL will become the rival AA league of the ECHL. 

So now onto the FHL; rumors, rumors, rumors. I’ll start out with the positive rumor for the FHL, the Dayton Gems are apparently coming to the FHL. If this was to happen it would be gold for the FHL. If the Gems come, it will put a team near Danville which will make for an easier travelling schedule, also it would be nice to see a team that has a past come to the FHL and hopefully the fans that follow the Gems now will follow them if they come into the FHL. Dayton had an attendance average of 2228 for the 2011-2012, which is almost 500 more then the Danbury Whalers, who led the FHL in league attendance this season. Although its a long shot, if all those people come out for the Gems when they play in the FHL, they will be one of the most successful teams in the FHL.

Now for one which I seem is kind of up in the air to me. It’s been made public that the Brooklyn Aviators are up for sale, but some people have said that the New Jersey Outlaws are going to move to Brooklyn. Now how this makes any sense at all is beyond me. For one, New Jersey had an average attendance of 942 this season, just shy of 1000 while Brooklyn averaged 572. So why would the Outlaws want to move into Brooklyn and make less money off ticket sales? Also why would they leave New Jersey after just one season and also since being crowned Commissioner Cup Champions. They could use that as a marketing strategy to make a better fan base in New Jersey. What I believe is may be happening is the Owner of the Outlaws bought the Aviators and will keep both put. The identity of the Aviators may be different for next year, or even they could be moved but I just don’t see a logical reason of why the Outlaws would make the move to Brooklyn. 

Time for me to voice my opinion on a couple of things dealing with the FHL. So I’ve volunteered myself to the FHL countless times for graphics. I’ve done the designs for “Ice Chips”, “Inside the Glass”, “Playoff Previews” and “Playoff Results” along with the new “Jr” logo. Now I did not ask for money or anything nor do I expect it I am far from a professional having no training in graphic arts. But when I am promised a thing such as a free FHL t-shirt I think that is a good deal, but here’s the catch. It never happened and more then likely will never happen. I’ve spoke to the person in charge of getting it to me, sent out my address to that person 3-4 times as it happened to be “lost” somehow in email and this was over a month or two ago and still nothing. How nice right? But this one is even worse.

The Danbury Whalers. The team idolized my fans and the team everyone says the other teams should model like. Well personally I hope they don’t. As far as their merchandising goes, I’m pretty mad about. I ordered a t-shirt over a month ago from the Whalers, yet to arrive and I know that’s not a lot of time but there is more. When asking to get a t-shirt I would be replied in literally minutes. Now that the t-shirt is paid for, none of my questions are being answered. I’ve emailed and inboxed Herm as I did before and there is no answer. Although he is quick to answer others and post around on Facebook, he is given me no reply to my message. This just pisses me off. 27 dollars may not seem like a lot to you, but to me as a student working my ass off to make money it takes it toll. And it’s not just me who is having a problem. I spoke with someone earlier who ordered his 130 dollar from the Whalers in October and is YET to receive it. This is absolutely ridiculous. They want you to buy their product to bad, but yet they won’t give it to you when it’s paid for. I will never order anything from the Danbury Whalers ever again in my life.

Again, would like to give a shout out to all my new followers! You guys are great! If you would like my opinion on anything, tweet at me @semipro_blog and let me know! 

                                       

First of all, I would like to mention that today I gained 20+ followers on Twitter! @hadoherty@Cheraso@Melanson25@Marley_Dan@dothehuggy
@HockeyMayhem, @CerinoRoyale@thechez29@TrevorBoardway
@Kylabug27@MorristownVT@A_Class_Act_4U@NewBostonHostel
@CassieMadonia@cccphockey@xthockey@bobbyg08@bre_barksdale10,
@capecodstyles@piathlete@danglemitts_101, @shanepotter31, @lenflack,
@KD2BMU
@SonjaCardinell 

Without these followers I would be absolutely nothing! So here’s a shout out to say thank you!

So, lets begin. The FHL playoffs has wrapped up and the New Jersey Outlaws took the Commissioner Cup (who would have guessed?).  It sucks that Danbury couldn’t catch the Cup because of the fan following they have, but New Jersey was simply the better team on the ice. But there’s always next year; or is there? 

Some people are saying the FHL will be there for a third season, others will beat the FHL down so bad that it seems like there is no point of these so called “fans” to even follow it and these are the ones mostly who believe this league is not going to be there. But with the FHL Press Release made today speaking of a third season then there has to be right? Though some will say the FHL has said things before that are not true, I have a feeling with them saying they’re going to be back, they’re going to be back.

Before this release of “the FHL returning for 2012-2013” there has been one club in the FHL that has been working their tails off for next season; the Danville Dashers. First of all, they reconstructed their website completely now some see this as not a big deal, but if anyone is going to take the FHL seriously, websites need to look like the Dashers one. Teams websites are a way for fans to interact, look and get a feel for the team their rooting for, it the site looks like crap then more then likely the team is somewhat crap (ex: Niagara Falls Nationals) < didn’t even get out of the gate. Anyways, so the sites complete and in my eyes looks absolutely amazing.  But that was just one small steps in what was to come.

Next, the Danville Dashers come out with a “Fan Survey” something that shows the Dashers are seriously looking to make a difference not only in the FHL, but also the community. The Dashers want to know what the FANS want to see on the ice, showing that they are willing to change in any ways possible for the fans to get more people into the rink, and they answered the fans calls.

They have come out with a Season Ticket Plan that is hard NOT to buy. For an Adult season ticket price, it is only $210! As a student (17) with a part time job, even I can afford that compared to the $469 price tag for me to get season tickets for the QMJHL team where I live. Plus what is included with these tickets is so cool, have them delivered by the coach or a player, what other team does that? They are really becoming a force to be reckoned with in the FHL and the latest step they’ve taken just proves that they will be much stronger next season.

On Tuesday, April 10th both the Danville Dashers and the Bloomington Blaze of the Central Hockey League announced an affiliation. Players from the Dashers will have the chance to be called up to a higher league while also potentially receiving players from the Blaze who will improve the Dashers squad. 

Since Matt McIlvane has taken over as General Manager and Head Coach, the Dashers have done a complete 180 and if next season is a resemblance of the changes made, the Dashers will be one of the top teams in the FHL.

It seems as though I favor Danville, but that’s truly not the case, their the only team doing anything right now in the FHL. Other then the Akwesasne Warriors being fined $25,000 for a playoff game with the 1000 Island Privateers a near month ago and the word of Brooklyn being gone next season there isn’t too much in the FHL to talk about!

                                     

It has been established that there is some issues within the FHL, but within the FHL are players who sometimes seem to go unreconized for what they do on and off the ice, and it’s a shame really. Sometimes we get so caught up in all the off ice and on ice drama that has surfaced this year in the FHL, myself included that we don’t think of the players but we should really take a second to look at the bigger picture and thank the people who enterain us night in and night out.

Living in Canada, I began to suport the FHL completely blind this season but after watching a couple games and getting a few players names, it was amazing how friendly they are. People may not think it, but a Facebook acceptance from a FHL to some is really a cool thing, and for myself being a fanatic hockey fan it’s really awesome. It gives you a way to connect with the players and get to know them on a more personal level.

I am a massive fan of Chris Affinati of the Danville Dashers, sure they didn’t come near the top of the league but as a player standing at 5 foot 8 he competed for them night in and night out. So I decided to one day add him to Facebook, and he accepted which to me was really cool! How many professional sports athletes will even consider adding fans to Facebook. But this is where it gets even better, I inboxed him one night just to let him know that I enjoy watching him play and his style of play has helped me improve as a player as well and it doesn’t take much but he answered me with a much respected and polite response. What else could I ask for? It’s not every day that a fan of the FHL from the middle of nowhere in Canada gets to speak to his favortie FHL player, heck I never thought it would ever happen honestly but for him just to take the minute out of his day to even answer me is more then I could ever ask for.

I can’t thank Chris enough for speaking with me over the past few days and he has even gone as far as to help me in getting a Game-Worn Danville Dashers jersey, and this is why if you dislike the FHL, you should look past that and look at the players. These may be some of the only professional athletes to take the time out of there day to have a few words with you, it’s really great!

If you have a favorite player in the FHL, contact them over Facebook or Twitter and have a few kind words for them. They need to hear this as we all know that things can be and are a little rough in the FHL. Let the players know that there are people out there that care about them and their teams and will support them through the best and the worst. This is what the FHL and the players need, the fans support and with this hopefully the FHL will get over the growing pains and be one of the best Single “A” hockey leagues in North America.

Well, it’s great to be have time back to blog! With hockey season and other things in my life that have wrapped up I am finally available to get back to blogging and I could not be more happier. The Federal Hockey League, which is what I like to talk about is in it’s Playoffs Finals which will feature the Danbury Whalers and the New Jersey Outlaws, this will seriously be something you don’t want to miss!

So, like I said I’ve been really busy with stuff lately, one of them being making graphics and writing articles for no other than the FHL! This is seriously such an honor to me, being at 17 and already accomplishing this is something that I never thought would ever happen! For those of you who have read the articles, saw the graphics and gave me feedback, it is much appreciated even though some of the comments may be criticism, I take them all positively so thank you!

Also, I recently began working with the Federal Hockey League as a Sales Executive, another task in my life that I never would have thought in my wildest dreams I would have accomplished. If anyone owning a business is reading this and wanting to promote it, please contact me. The prices are seriously affordable and worth what you get and there are also possibilities for package deals. If anyone is interested in this them please email me at “flannigan55@hotmail.com” or “fhlsalesexecutive@gmail.com” and I will give you all the details you need!

To close, I’d just like to say thank you to whoever reads this, I promise you that I will not take a Leave of Absence and disappear ever again! Stay tuned for graphic changes on Twitter and on here as well! For now, keep supporting Minor Professional Hockey Leagues! My next blog is going to be a dandy one!      

                                                     


Wow! It has been quite some time since I last posted a blog entry. It’s been a hectic week for sure with exams and a road trip this weekend I have not been able to site down and write, but since I found some time to do so I am going to.

First of all, I would like to give a massive thank you to the Cape Cod Bluefins of the Federal Hockey League. For those of you who don’t know what I’ve done for them I’ll fill you in. I’ve created a web site for them featuring pre game and post game articles because the newspaper in Cape Cod (Cape Cod Times) will not give them coverage. The Bluefins have been unbelievably supportive of this and I couldn’t thank them enough. Nearly 400 people have viewed the site which started January 26th and I’d like to thank everyone who has pushed for this site and are supporting it. It’s only going to get better.

So after catching up on some of the things going around in the Minor Pros, I viewed the fight between Ontario and Bakersfield. Holy cow there was some good scraps during that. I liked what I saw, the player sticking up for his player on Ontario but the hit to me was pretty clean. What I didn’t like about it was that Berube for Ontario decide he was going to square off with Bakersfield’s goaltender and he had the right to, but Bryan Pitton has to be a man and take off his helmet. Come on man. It was pretty cheap to fight Berube with a goalie mask off. Personally I believe that the Ontario player should have had his head up coming around the net and been aware of his surroundings. I don’t believe Condors defense men was trying to hurt the player or make a cheap shot to the head.

And once again as everyone cries out to save the Wheeling Nailers a massive amount of 1,200 people show up for the game last night in Johnstown. When is this going to end? Can’t people just realize it’s not longer working and its time to move on. Sure the history is there, but the fans just are not showing up and that’s what drives a team.  

                                                   

It’s a shame really, most people look down upon the Federal Hockey League. Some people gave it half a season existence, some gave it a single season like many other “Class A” leagues that have come and gone, but the FHL is still here and sure there has been some bumps in the road along the way, but what league hasn’t? Most people look at this league as nothing but another come and go league and the sad thing is there is not a person is willing to change that. 

For example, the Cape Cod Bluefins who sit 6th in the standings has no media coverage. On January 21st, the teams twitter account called out the Cape Cod Times “Anyone looking to start up a newspaper??? The @capecodtimes is killing us” and it’s true, the Cape Cod Times has only featured the Cape Cod Bluefins in two very short articles and under the scroll bar titled “Sports” the Cape Cod Bluefins is not listed, but of course you can “Buy a Times Sports Photo” anything to make a buck. This is a prime example, the people who have been behind this league since day one have worked their asses off for this league just so some, not all people can look down upon this as a bush league and what doesn’t help is that the Cape Cods own newspaper will not give a good enough article to make people want to go out and enjoy a Bluefins game and that’s where it all begins. If the media is not going to cover it then who is? How are the Bluefins or even the FHL going to be recognized? It’s not and that is why some leagues fail. Sure the on ice talent has to be judged, but just look at the Bluefins roster. Billy Tibbetts is a huge name who was on their roster and has played all over the world including the NHL.

This league is full of quality players and can only do a certain amount to draw fans to the game. The media has to step in. A newspaper by definition is “A publication, usually issued daily or weekly, containing current news, editorials, feature articles, and usually advertising” that is exactly what Minor League teams like the Bluefins need and the sad thing is they may never get it.

The Bluefins and the Federal Hockey League does not deserve this. They’re a class act and I believe that they will be around for years to come, that is if media sources begin to pick up on the league and it’s team, because without them, who else is going to do it?

The name change is because I’ve decided I would like to look deeper into other leagues and not only the Orlando Solar Bears. I will still be speaking about them when the season approaches.

                                                       

Feels like forever since I’ve posted a blog, well two days is a little bit. Anyways, the past few days have been very busy and lots of stuff to talk about so lets begin.

My most recent blog I discussed the disappointing numbers in Johnstown for the Wheeling Nailers game and I was told by a couple people that the weather was not to good on that night so my apologies. But the next night, I don’t know how the weather was but the fans total improved a little, just reaching over the 1,700 mark. Honestly I know the weather may have been bad or whatever the case may be, but if they are trying to save this team, the attendance rate makes it look somewhat like nobody even wants them there. Now that remark does not go out to everybody, don’t get me wrong because I know many fans still want them in Wheeling but all I’m saying is the more recent turn outs have not helped.

Now, I’ve decided to expand my horizon and focus not only on the Orlando Solar Bears and the ECHL, but look more into all the Minor Pro Leagues. The Federal Hockey League (FHL), Central Hockey League (CHL) and Southern Pro Hockey League (SPHL). What inspired me to write about these leagues happened over the last few days after discovering some things and doing a bit of research.

A few days back I was looking around hockey forums and I stumbled upon a topic named Federal Hockey League, prior to this I had no knowledge of the league so I decided to do some research and looked around there site and I sent an e-mail, one thing led to another and now I’m helping out with some graphics around there site.

But back to hockey, the FHL is a “Class A” hockey league that is in its second season, yes it had its ups and downs but hasn’t every league? After looking through its team roster and other things around the team sites I discovered that I really enjoy this league. I contact Phil DeFranco, Chief Administrator of the league and after hearing what he had to say and hearing the passion about the league in his voice, I knew this is something to keep an eye on.
 

Does the name Pierre Dagenais ring a bell? Selected in the second round, 47th overall, by the New Jersey Devils at the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, spent time with New Jersey, Florida and Montreal of the National Hockey League, yeah well he’s in the FHL playing for Akwesasne Warriorsif that surprises you it should not. This league is full of quality players who have played all around the world and its home to players who are looking to make the step to the ECHL as well as many FHL teams are affiliated with ECHL squads. But there was a surprise when I looked in the Danbury Whalers line up.

I was a massive fan of skateboarding growing up, but my coordination just wasn’t there so I stuck with hockey. But one of my favorite skateboarders growing up was Mike Vallely. When out on the board or in the dressing room I would have an MP3 player (iPods were unheard of at this time) and would listen to Mike V and the Rats so when I was looking around I saw that Mike Vallely has so far played three games with the Danbury Whalers of the FHL, what! I was shocked, I knew Mike Vallely was a hockey fan but I didn’t know he could actually play and the dude is 40 odd years old! In his first game in 2010-2011 with the Whalers and his only, he dropped the gloves and ended his season short by breaking his arm. But at the age of 42 he came back and recently played with them, how cool! He says that it’s a dream come true and to me he is a massive inspiration. He’s showed no matter how old you are, or how unrealistic your goals are, attempt them and there is a massive possibility you can succeed. I hope to see him dress in more games with the Whalers and hopefully capture a couple points with them. 

If you don’t already, follow me on twitter @CanadianSoBear and stop over at the Official Fan Forum of the Orlando Solar Bears www.solarbearforum.com, its worth your time, trust me.