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North East Professional Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 2009
Commissioner Kirk McDonough
No. of teams 2
Country(ies)  United States
Most recent champion(s) New York Aviators
Official website nephlhockey.com

The North East Professional Hockey League (NEPHL) is a professional men's ice hockey league that began playing in the 2009–10 season.

Contents

League history

The league was announced on July 12, 2009, via americanprohockey.com and was to consist of teams in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; with the possibility of adding a team in Danbury, Connecticut for the start of the season or the following season.[1][2] The league was originally to consist of four teams, but the New England Pharaohs and Twin City Yeti, were forced into a hiatus due to a founding member having two major heart surgeries prior to the start of the season. The Boston Wings had announced entry into the league in July 2009, but then decided to fold their franchise before the season began. The Rhode Island Storm, the only currently active founding member of the NEPHL, along with the New York Aviators decided to start the season alone and as a result the Connecticut C-Dogs were quickly added as a team prior to the beginning of the 2009-2010 season. Many players have either prior professional playing experience or come from top division 3 or major junior programs.

The inaugural NEPHL season was originally slated for 40 games. This was modified for the first time to 25 games due to financial concerns from the C-Dog and Storm franchises. With money problems mounting daily the Rhode Island Storm franchise demanded the season be shortened again to conclude the first week in January. A bizarre playoff structure was implimented where the winless Connecticut C-Dogs would play the Rhode Island Storm in a best 2 out of 3 playoff series with all three games to be played in Rhode Island because the C-Dogs could no longer afford to pay for ice time at their facility in East Haven, CT.

Game 1 took place at the Boss Arena in Kingston, RI on January 2, 2010 with RI winning 16 - 5. Game 2 scheduled for the following night also in Kingston ended in a more bizarre fashion with a 1 - 0 forfeit win for the Storm. At game time only 2 members of the C-Dogs team (neither of which were goalies) had shown up at the arena ready to play. C-Dogs Owner and Head Coach Phil Esposito (no relation to the NHL Phil Esposito) did not bother to show up either. Esposito maintains he was in contact with Storm Head Coach Dave Monteiro multiple times telling him the chances are pretty good he would not be able to put a team together for game 2. Both Monteiro and Storm President and General Manager Kirk McDonough vehemently deny there was any contact made by Esposito to their club warning them of his intention to not have a complete team available for the second playoff game. McDonough stated "If what Esposito is saying is true and he kept everyone in the loop about not being able to have a complete C-Dogs team available for Game 2 why did two of his players show up ready to play Game 2 and tell us nobody told them there was not going to be a game"?

With excited Rhode Island fans in attendance at the Boss Arena for Game 2, The Storm owner Ed McDonough had no choice but to announce the forfeit. A rain of Boos poured from the stands surely directed at Esposito and his hapless C-Dogs franchise. In absence of a game the Rhode Island fans were treated to a skills type competition by the players and autograph session as well as a free ticket to the following weeks second game of the championship series against the undefeated New York Aviators.

With the series win over Connecticut it meant the Storm would advance to the best 2 out of 3 championship series against Rob Miller's undefeated New York Aviators. Game 1 was played on January 8, 2010 in Brooklyn, NY at the Aviator Arena with New York winning 10 - 2. Game 2 was played on Sunday evening January 10, 2010 at the Boss Arena in Kingston on the Campus of the University of Rhode Island. A must win for the Storm in order to force a third game back in Brooklyn turned out to be an absolute annihilation by New York who won in a laugher 14 - 1. In the first and potentially only season for the NEPHL the Aviators and Storm met in 7 contests. The Aviators outscored the Storm 71 to 8 in those games.

The NEPHL, wrought with financial problems from the day they dropped their first puck, is down to two teams with the Connecticut C-Dogs ceasing operations with the forfeited playoff game vs. Rhode Island. Albeit highly unlikely, should the Rhode Island Storm return to play in 2010-11 in some capacity they will need to find a new arena as the often contentious relationship between the Storm front office and the powers that run the Boss Arena came to a head recently as a lapse of security at the arena wound up in the Storm locker room being burglarised with three players jerseys stolen forcing the Storm starting goalie in the playoffs to wear a white jersey with no logo, number or name sewn on.

The first champions are the New York Aviators who won over the Rhode Island Storm 14:1 on Sunday, January 10th.

As of January 2010, both the league website and Rhode Island Storm websites are inactive and it is unclear if how the league still operates.

Teams

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Current teams

Former teams

  • Connecticut C-Dogs (2009)
  • Twin City Yeti (operations suspended before season began)
  • New England Pharoahs (operations suspended before season began)
  • Boston Wings (folded before season began)

References

External links


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