With the FHL just wrapping up its eighth season, that means there have been eight champions (duh), and a perfect time to take a look back at all of the teams over FHL history to try to figure out which FHL team is the greatest of all-time.
The rules for this ranking were simple:
- You had to win a championship.
That’s it. If you didn’t win it all in that given season, no matter how great your regular season was, you aren’t in the discussion for the greatest team in league history. It’s that simple.
Without further ado, here are our rankings of the eight teams who have captured the Commissioner’s Cup, with two of them standing out head and shoulders above the rest of the teams.
8. 2010-11 Akwesasne Warriors
Quick Hits: 47 GP, 25-16-5-1, 61 points (81 under 3-2-1 system), 2nd in regular season, +16 GD, highest scoring team 228 total (4.86 GPG), 6-2 in playoffs, +15 playoff GD.
The first-ever FHL Champions come in last on our list, they were a high-scoring team who scored nearly five goals per game in a 47-game regular season, and had 81 points under the new 3-2-1 points system the league uses now. They were arguably the third-best team in the FHL that season, with 1000 Islands finishing 3rd in points, but playing three fewer games. The Warriors were 6-2 in the playoffs, going 3-1 in each round and beating the top-seeded New York Aviators in the final.
7. 2012-13 Danbury Whalers
Quick Hits: 51 GP, 24-17-4-6, 86 points, 2nd in regular season by 37 points, 3rd in goals for, 2nd in goals against, 6-0 in playoffs with no overtime, +22 GD, gave up just 13 goals in 6 games.
One of only two teams to win the Cup and not break 100 points in the regular season (under the 3-2-1 points system along with Akwesasne), the Whalers were a decent team in 2012-13, using defense to win games but finished a whopping 37 points out of first. The Whalers caught fire in the playoffs though, giving up just 13 goals in six games, sweeping both rounds back when both were Best-of-5 rounds. The 6-0 mark, including one overtime win and a league-record +22 playoff goal difference, is what vaults them ahead of Akwesasne on our list.
6. 2015-16 Port Huron Prowlers
Quick Hits: 55 GP, 29-18-7-1, 102 points, 2nd most goals scored, 3rd fewest goals against, +44 GD, 2nd in Win%, 3rd in Points, 5-1 in playoffs, +6 GD.
The Prowlers finished 12 points back of Danbury in two fewer games, and were actually third in points that season, one behind Danville, who played one more game. Port Huron used a blend of defense and hitting to win games, racking up a league-high 1313 penalty minutes that season. The Prowlers then got hot at the right time, going 5-1 in the playoffs, including an impressive sweep of the top-seeded Danbury Titans in the final. The Prowlers scored 21 goals in their six playoff games.
5. 2017-18 Watertown Wolves
Quick Hits: 52 GP, 29-12-6-5, 104 points, 2nd in points 27 behind Port Huron, 2nd in goals scored, 2nd in goals against, 5-1 playoff record 2 OT wins, +2 GD, 3-straight wins in champ series to win cup.
The Wolves were decidedly the second best regular season team this past season, beating Carolina for 2nd by 17 points, but trailing Port Huron by 27 for the regular season crown. Add-in that the Wolves had a number of forfeit wins due to Cornwall folding mid-season, and the record gets a bit inflated. But like Danbury in 2013, the Wolves got hot in the playoffs, sweeping Carolina with two come-from-behind wins, dropping the first game of the final against top-seed Port Huron before rattling off three-straight to take the title on home ice.
4. 2014-15 Watertown Wolves
Quick Hits: 54 GP, 32-13-6-3, 111 points, 3rd most goals scored, 2nd fewest goals against, +62 GD, 1st in regular season based on Win%, 2nd in points, 5-3 in playoffs, +12 GD.
The first Wolves team to take the title finished first in win-percentage, but second in points, two behind Dayton in two fewer games. The Wolves used strong defense, 2nd fewest goals against, and physical play, league-high 1391 penalty minutes, to pick up wins, and also ended the season hot, going 7-3 down the stretch. The Wolves had to battle in the playoffs for that first title, edging Danville in a five-game thriller for the title.
3. 2013-14 Dayton Demonz
Quick Hits: 57 GP, 33-14-7-3, 83 points (116 under 3-2-1 system), Led league in goals scored (278), 2nd fewest goals against, +97 GD, 5-3 record in playoffs, +13 GD.
Dayton went toe-to-toe with Danbury that season for the regular season crown, taking the points title by 1 thanks to an extra game. The Demonz played a crazy-fun brand of hockey, scoring an hitting their way in to the hearts of fans. The Demonz averaged 4.87 goals per game, and picked up an astounding 1518 penalty minutes. The Demonz dropped a game in the opening round, then played a classic series against the Whalers, winning 3-2 in a series that was as even as the regular season chase was between the two teams.
2. 2016-17 Danville Dashers
Quick Hits: 56 GP, 39-9-4-4, 129 points, 2nd most goals, fewest goals (121, 2.16 GAA), +108 GD, won regular season by 35 points, 5-3 in playoffs, +2 GD, 2nd best GD in playoffs.
The Dashers rolled to the regular season crown, posting a +108 goal differential whil winning 43 of its 56 games, taking the regular season crown by 35 points. More impressive was their defense and goaltending, which held teams to an amazingly low 121 goals in 56 games, an amazing 2.16 goals against average in the offense-heavy FHL. But the Dashers had to work the title, needing three games in the opening round, then the full five to top the Berlin River Drivers for the crown. Weirdly, the Dashers did not have the best goal differential in those playoffs, the only team on our list to have that odd distinction.
1. 2011-12 New Jersey Outlaws
Quick Hits: 53 GP, 40-9-3-1, 127 points, 1st in regular season, won regular season title by 32 points, led league in goals for and goals against, +128 GD (league record) 6-0 in playoffs with +19 GD.
You name it, Jersey did it in their first and technically only season in the FHL. The Outlaws rolled to the regular season title by 32 points, led the league in goals scored and goals against, and posted a league-record +128 goal differential. It also helps that they were one of the few teams to have an affiliation, linking up with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals. While the regular season was impressive, so were the playoffs, the Outlaws went 6-0 in the postseason and posted the second best post-season goal differential in league history. The team didn’t last long, but it’s hard to argue there was ever a better team in FHL history than the 2011-12 New Jersey Outlaws.