The History of the Short Lived Delaware Federals

The History of the Short Lived Delaware Federals

By James Jackson

January 28, 2019

When you think of the state of Delaware, things like it being the first state, their iconic NASCAR track and it being the home of the former Vice President Joe Biden all come to mind. Delaware has it's fair share of sports teams like the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Carolina League baseball team and the Delaware Blue Coats, an NBA G-League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the thought of a professional hockey team in Delaware most likely hasn’t even crossed your mind.

The Vermont Wild was formed in 2011, being Vermont’s first professional hockey team. The Wild were apart of the Federal Hockey League for the 2011-2012 season. Unfortunately, with an average of only 265 fans per game the team folded. With the Wild now out of the league while the season was still underway, there were vacant stops in the schedule left by the Wild.

The Delaware Federals were formed to fill the void in the schedule left by the Wild. The Federals were a road-only team, after plans to play at the Center Ice Rink at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington fell through. The Federals had different players every game, signing people who were close to the arena they were playing in that weekend.

The Federals didn’t even have a team jersey, they wore a generic white jersey with the FHL logo sewn on the front. The FHL refused to let the Federals continue playing the remainder of the 2011-2012 season due to not having a home arena to play in and the team folded. Tim Thomas was the leading scorer for the Federals, scoring four goals and two assists.The Federals record ended at 3-14-1-1, taking over the record previously recorded by the Vermont Wild before they folded.

There was a junior level hockey club in Delaware known as the Delaware Thunder but they folded in 2008. The Thunder were nowhere near the level of competition the Federals had to play against in the FHL. It’s unknown if another team will be formed in Delaware, but if one does they could look to Todd Mittlemeier, Head Coach of the University of Delaware Blue Hens hockey team. Mittlemeier has led the Blue Hens to an impressive season thus far, even leading the Blue Hens to a No. 4 National Ranking. The location could be the Center Ice Rink in Harrington if they could get things in order or even share the ice with the Blue Hens hockey team. Whether Delaware will attempt to get another shot at a hockey team is unknown, but it could bring in fans looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night.

PHOTOS: Barry Horn