Danville and Port Huron packed the Annex


WINSTON-SALEM, NC - Federal Hockey League action came to the Triad in March, as the Carolina Thunderbirds get ready to start their first season of play this fall.  

Before their inaugural season, Winston-Salem hosted the Port Huron Prowlers and the Danville Dashers on March 17 and 18, in neutral-site games at the Fairgrounds Annex.  On Friday, they drew a crowd of over 1,600, and Saturday saw an attendance of over 2,600.

Danville stood atop the FHL standings, at a mark of 28-6-4-2, with a chance to surpass their franchise wins record of 33. The Dashers are in their sixth year of FHL play, and had advanced to the Championship game once. Last year, they fell to the Prowlers two games to one in the semi-finals. This was the second neutral-site game for the Dashers in their history. They traveled to Connellsville, PA in March 2014 to play the Watertown Privateers.  

Port Huron found themselves at 16-15-1-8 in their 2016-2017 campaign, their second season of play. The Prowlers were the defending FHL champions, after sweeping the Danbury Titans three games to zero in last year's Championship game. The City of Port Huron hosted a neutral-site game prior to the Prowlers being granted an expansion team.

These two teams faced off at the Winston Salem Annex, and the Danville Dashers won the FHL Commissioner's Cup Championship with a 4-1 win over the Berlin River Drivers before 1,154 fans, for their first championship in team history. 

Like the Carolina Thunderbirds, both Danville and Port Huron are owned by Barry Soskin.

Winston Salem was the second neutral-site event by the FHL. A neutral site game between the Dayton Demonz and Watertown Privateers was played on March 1, 2014, to test the expansion waters. After the neutral site game, which Commissioner Donald Kirnan told the Winston-Salem Journal drew double or triple what they expected, Commissioner Kirman said he was very interested in securing a lease with the Annex.  Three years later, the Carolina Thunderbirds are looking forward to their first season this fall.