Sitting in second place in the Federal Hockey League behind the Dayton Demonz, the Outlaws shut it down after cancelling their final home game.
If you didn’t know, this Williamsport team played outdoors at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field. The temporary rink was built on the first base line of the baseball field, which the Williamsport Crosscutters call home.
If you read the article in the Williamsport Sun-Times, you’ll see the mayor wanted hockey to work here. It did in the beginning, but once the cold weather hit Middle Pennsylvania, the numbers started to dwindle down.
When the team folded, the Outlaws still owed money and Bowman Field still needs restoring for the baseball team.
After the dust has settled somewhat, the league has decided to fix the schedules, so whoever faced Williamsport would not be out of a home game. The new Outlaws squad, which is a travel team now, will play three games at Danbury, CT. The Outlaws, now named Pennsylvania, lost 7-1 on January 16th at Danville, IL. The Dayton Demonz were supposed to play this Outlaws squad, but the league flip-flopped it around in the 1st Place team’s favor.
This is the second team a team has called it quits. The Cape Cod Bluefins struggled before becoming the New York Bluefins. So far, New York has played one home game after finding a place to skate and play. The only difference is after the Outlaws play these final three road games, that’s it.
Some of the former Williamsport Outlaws have found homes in other leagues or have decided to stay put in the FHL. Trevor Karasiewicz and Tim Recio are the newest members of the Dayton Demonz, for example.
It’s a shame any team folds and when the players truly lose. When the players try to follow their dreams, having a team shutter down can be nerve-wrecking. Hopefully, all these former Outlaws can continue to play hockey.
For the Demonz, there was only one more game at home against Williamsport (not counting the 1/26 game.) That game has now been replaced with the New York Bluefins.
If you look in the Facebook groups for the Federal Hockey League (there’s two that I’m a part of), people are furious and sad about the Outlaw demise. People throw into question about the future of the hockey league.
My personal thoughts are that while while the league is hurting and the act of losing teams mid-season/after the season is nothing new (I spy the Vermont Wild, the Broome County Barons, and the Akwesasne Warriors), I think with the right business plans in place, you can have solid teams play hockey. I believe the Danbury Whalers have been in the league since the inception and the Connecticut town still has hockey. With the right plan in place, this league can be very successful.
Just remember, if the fans and the players lose, the league loses too.
Sources of information the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, News Times (owned by Hearst), and the Federal Hockey League. Picture from the Federal Hockey League.
Until next time,