After four games (three regular season and one bonus exhibition game after weather delayed another game), we have reached the end of the road for the Northern Federals of the Federal Hockey League, and what a ride it was.
The Federals end their short-lived time in the FHL with no wins, but also the fewest losses of any team in FHL history, and in my mind, that makes them a success and the REAL champions of the FHL season.
The dropped all three regular season games to the Watertown Wolves, losing them by a combined score of 31-8, falling just short of the playoffs.
In those three games the Federals had 13 different players record a point, including six players who recorded multiple points, showing that the Federals were one of the best teams in FHL history at developing scoring depth.
Forward Trsitan Perault-Gagnon led the team in scoring, netting two goals and two assists for four points in two games, while Davide Asselin, Ryan Alves, and Peter Mott each recorded three points. Liam Morris and Stephen Blundin each chipped in with a pair of points. Just imagine what these stars could have done over a full season and with full practice time like the other teams got? It’s safe to say they would have played so well they would have been promoted to a higher league even though hockey in North America doesn’t have promotion and relegation. That’s how inspiring this team was.
These players are heroes in the opinion of this writer, put together at the last minute to basically serve as a punching bag for the Watertown Wolves, just to they could finish out their home schedule after the Cornwall Nationals folded in the middle of the season. They were put in an impossible situation, with people basically laughing at them as the Wolves racked up goal after goal. But these guys played hard right to the final whistle of every game, all for a shot at earning a permanent spot in a league that pays you that months beer money.
Yes the Wolves may have rolled to three easy wins on those three nights, but who was the winner in the game of life, where all these players are headed after their hockey careers run out? That’s right folks, the Northern Federals.
While we don’t know what the future of the FHL holds (there are talks that they have three expansion teams lined up, but we can almost guarantee that at least one team will fold this off-season), but when history looks back at the league and some of its great stories, the tale of the Northern Federals will be right near the top of the list in my mind.
So here is to you Northern Federals, you may have lost every game badly, but you won over the hearts of the dozens of hockey fans out there who knew you existed. You skated, you hit, you scored, and you won where it mattered: off the ice. We salute you.