When the Covid-19 pandemic took root on this nation, the Danbury Hat Tips hockey workforce was in pursuit of the Commissioner’s Cup, the crowning achievement of the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL).
“Again in March, we have been going into our playoffs,” mentioned Herb Sorcher, managing accomplice of the Hat Tips. “We have been most likely a month away from ending our season — after which, the shutdown occurred. We have been hopeful to proceed it a month later.”
One month handed and common play didn’t resume. Sorcher glumly admitted that the workforce “noticed the writing on the wall — it was simply inconceivable.”
Not like the Nationwide Hockey League, which scraped collectively the rest of its 2019-20 season after a number of months’ delay to carry the Stanley Cup playoffs inside a so-called “bubble” of arenas with out audiences, the FPHL canceled the rest of its season. No video games have been scheduled but for the league’s 2020-21 season, and Sorcher remains to be hoping for an replace on a possible resumption of play.
“We’re ready to get some excellent news from the state authorities that we are able to play,” he mentioned. “However like the opposite skilled hockey leagues — the Nationwide Hockey League and the American Hockey League — we’re now on maintain.”
Nevertheless, the Danbury Enviornment-based workforce has not suspended its inside operations. Sorcher mentioned the Hat Tips have been “always recruiting and always speaking to gamers” — their most up-to-date acquisition, 24-year-old Brett Gravelle, a ahead who graduated from Minnesota’s College of St. Thomas this previous spring, was signed on Nov. 10. Sorcher mentioned the workforce’s gamers have been practising all through the pandemic.
“The gamers are from all around the world,” he mentioned. “They’re again of their properties and have been coaching on their very own. We’ve had some guys who’ve are available right here and skilled a bit of bit, however for probably the most half, we haven’t actually had any workforce actions.”
Sorcher is grateful that the workforce’s followers have stayed loyal, exhibiting their devotion with regular merchandise gross sales in the course of the pandemic.
“We’ve truly achieved rather well with merchandise gross sales,” he mentioned, claiming that having “among the finest logos” in hockey helps enhance fan curiosity. “The merchandise is one thing that’s fixed.”
The Hat Tips’ FPHL video games should not televised — followers can watch them at no cost on YouTube. However Sorcher is raring to return to the Danbury Enviornment the place attendance at Hat Tips video games ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 and meals and beverage gross sales together with merchandise gross sales assist maintain revenues flowing.
Sorcher can also be anticipating a return to the normalcy that enabled the Hat Tips gamers to serve double-duty as model ambassadors locally.
“We attempt to join with teams and completely different organizations and do varied fundraisers and promotions that can at all times result in holding the group sturdy,” he mentioned.
“For instance, we’ll ship our gamers into the varsity system and do an meeting the place we’ll discuss to the children about by no means giving up and residing your dream, and in regards to the highway to turning into knowledgeable hockey participant.
“From there,” he continued, “we’ll join with the varsity on doing a fundraiser for a mission that they may have. And it’ll result in getting all these children who simply noticed the gamers and their households attending a sport. We get a ton of hockey followers.”
The workforce has constructed a substantial record of native company sponsors, however in the course of the pandemic Sorcher insisted that the workforce not ask for particular favors from these sponsors, a lot of whom have additionally seen disruptions to enterprise in the course of the pandemic.
“It’s a distinct local weather,” he mentioned. “What we’ve been doing is simply staying in entrance of them, speaking to them, seeing if there’s something we are able to do for them, after which simply setting it up for once we do get again that we are going to have some new concepts.”
As for 2021, Sorcher stays optimistic that higher days are forward for the Hat Tips.
“The place will we see ourselves?” he requested. “I believe we shall be enjoying hockey and will probably be an abbreviated season. And I believe it’ll be it’ll be very fast and thrilling although for our followers. Even when we begin enjoying in January and February and we solely play 40 video games, I believe our followers are going to return out they usually’re going to help us huge time.”