Syracuse, NY - The FHL Annual Meeting concluded on Tuesday June 21st on a high note. The FHL will be fielding an 8 team league for the 11-12 campaign. The Frenzy will not be fielding a team this coming season but will remain a member of the FHL in good standing. New for the upcoming season are the “Danville Dashers” from Danville IL, the” New Jersey Outlaws” from Wayne NJ and the “Niagara Falls Nationals” from Niagara Falls ON.
The meeting started promptly at 10 am with all teams present except for Niagara Falls who was delayed. Gene Binda, the Referee-[in]-Chief of the league made a short presentation to the members which included positive feedback from all the officials who worked last season. Gene also reported that he has tapped into some other regional pools to increase the number and quality of the officials. The members also discussed with Gene the new rule changes which were minor in nature. The biggest rule change was the removal of automatic Game Ejections and Game Misconducts on several penalties. This will allow for flexibility by the refs to make the appropriate call. The only other playing rule change was the elimination of the 3 stick foul ejection rule, which was never necessary last season.
The meeting continued with multiple presentations from various vendors to include equipment, insurance and marketing. JP and Rene` from Mattingly Hockey were up first, followed by Jackie Wedley of JLT Canada Insurance Brokers, Ken from Cosmos Sports Marketing and the meeting wrapped up with a visit to McKie Sports in Syracuse where we were greeted by the owner Dave McKie and the Reebok Rep for the area. Other vendors sent informational packages as well. Rich Lisk (Former GM of the NJ Titans and former GM of the Phila. Soul of the Arena Football League) and Herm Sorcher CEO and Head of Marketing for the Danbury Whalers, will be conducting a marketing brain storming session with all teams in the next few weeks at a location TBD. Dave Smolnycki will be holding a Game Day Ops meeting in Syracuse prior to the season for all game day staff from all the teams.
Dave Smolnycki and Phil DeFranco made a presentation regarding Media and the new things coming for next season. All teams will be using Constant Contact to keep their fans in the know. The FHL will be having its own weekly TV Show called “Slap Shouts” on Tuesday’s at 7pm on the FHL Sports Network. The league will also be producing an FHL “Game of the Week” starting on Opening Night. The league has renamed its current publications. The nightly recap will be called “Ice Chips” and the weekly newsletter called ”Inside the Glass”. Pro Hockey News has come onboard to sponsor the “Players of the Month”. More to come.
The three biggest changes for the upcoming season are listed below, with number 2 and 3 having the biggest positive effect on the upcoming season.
- Playing rosters this year will allow for a total of 20 contracted players of which 18 are fully contracted players and 2 players will be on a Reserve per game basis. Teams will be allowed to dress 18 players for each game.
- This season the FHL will be using the Olympic 3 Point System. For those not familiar with this system I will try to be brief but factual. All games are worth 3 points. A WIN in regulation will be worth 3 points. A WIN in OT or a Shootout will be worth 2 points and a LOSS in OT or a Shootout will be worth 1 point. One of the main ideas behind this was to permit all teams to be in the hunt for a playoff spot longer into the season. This will force coaches not to sit back late in a game knowing that they will get at least 1 point if they go into OT or a Shootout. Just think if in the last game of the season a team is 3 points out of a playoff spot where 2 points doesn’t get you in and you are tied with just a few minutes left in the game. How exciting would a 6 on 5 be to get a goal and make the playoffs?
- This season 6 teams will make the Playoffs. Please follow closely as this will not be your normal format. In Series “A” Team 1 will play team 6 in a Best of 5 series with the winner advancing to the Championship Round. In Series “B” Team 2 will play Team 5 in a Best of 3 series and in Series “C” Team 3 will play Team 4 in a Best of 3 series. The winner of Series “B” and Series “C” will play each other in Series “D” which is a Best of 3 series. This will have Series “A” & “D” end within a day or so of each other. The winner of Series “A” will play the winner of series “D” in a best of 7 series.