So after the first two games of the Federal Hockey League finals, you guessed it Danbury and the new addition are on the verge on winning it all with a 2-0 lead going into game three in Danbury Friday.
In Game one former Outlaws (among other teams during the 2012-2013) and current Whalers playerMatt Puntureri had two assists in the 5-3 win. Interestingly enough not one word appears in the league issued game recap about Puntureri.
With the game of hockey a player who scores a hat trick is usually recognized as the “first star”. It was to my surprise and the first time in my experience, that after Puntureri did it in game two it did not not appear in the lead of the Federal Hockey League Game two recap but it is found in the eigth paragraph of the story.
Do you think the league and its leadership know their credibility is gone with the decision to add a player to a team roster on the eve of the finals who has not suited up for that team all season?
Additionally, according to multiple media observers after two games of the FHL finals Matt Puntureri is the odds on favorite to be named Most Outstanding Player of the series.
Now, I know all of the Danbury Whalers fans are all out of sorts over my opinion so let me frame this in a way they can possibly understand.
Federal Hockey League Commissioner Don Kirnan (who also ran the non-profit that operated the rink at Bowman Field) came to Williamsport selling “family friendly” entertainment and developing youth hockey players with programs and open skates.
Take for example two fictitious youth hockey players, Player A is 12-years old and Player B is 13-years old. Player A went to training camp and made his team out of camp and plays all season long. Player A experiences all of the highs and lows with his teammates and makes all the road trips and spills all of his blood, sweat and tears on the ice with his mates.
Player B of course being a bit older wasn’t in camp since he was already playing in another league for another team altogether. During the season he comes into the same league as Player A and plays only a few games for another team before leaving for another team in another league. When Player B is on the other team his former team in the same league as Player A folds and then has a dispersal draft.
In the meantime, Player A continues to work hard everyday for his team and helps them to a playoff berth.
Player B is “claimed” by the team that Player A plays for but Player B continues to play for another team in another league and doesn’t sign.
The regular season ends in the league Player A plays in and he plays in the opening round of the playoffs helping his team to a 3-0 series sweep.
So now, the league and the team the 12-year old Player A plays in head to the finals.
During practice for the finals Player A notices a new kid on the ice, it just so happens to be 13-year old Player B which strikes the players as odd.
After practice on the night before the finals Player A is called into the coaches office and told, by the way since you have given this organization everything this season and helped us get to the finals we need to deactivate you for the finals.
Why coach, he asks?
Well, we got the league to change the rules to allow Player B to finally be on our team even though he has never been on our team all season.
Coach tells Player A, I hope you understand. Player A shakes his head in disbelief and goes back to the locker room where he is greeted by his mates and they don’t understand either.
Let me ask you, how would you feel?
Now up 2-0 in the Federal Hockey League finals Danbury can win the Cup with a win on home ice Friday.
If you are the parent of Player A (who has only dreamed of playing for a championship) what do you tell him?
Hockey is a game that teaches a ton about effort and endurance and overcoming adversity as well as how to conduct yourself in the proper manner and having dignity and class.
What is being demonstrated on a daily basis by the people involved at all levels of the Federal Hockey League is anything but.
The Federal Hockey League joke isn’t funny any more.
Just ask Player A.
Editor’s note: Todd Bartley is an award-winning broadcaster and has served as the play-by-play voice of the Lycoming College Warriors and Williamsport Crosscutters for the past six years. He also has an extensive background in gameday operations, management, sales and marketing.
The opinions expressed within are not necessarily those of the staff, management and ownership of ESPN Williamsport.