Local players set to face off against the Danbury Whalers this Friday

Mike Pomichter (left) and R.J. Gates (right) are among several local players to sign with the Delaware Generals (FHL).

When the Delaware Federals take the ice this Friday evening against the Danbury Whalers, there will be a decidedly nutmeg flavor to the team.

In advance of this week’s match-up, the Federals signed several local players to their roster – all with hockey ties to Connecticut. Among those signed were:

Jason Szerszen G > All-State goalie for West Haven High School (1994)
Jim Demaio D > Former Guilford High School player
> Also played for the Danbury Mad Hatters (EPHL)
Greg Cassista F > All-State forward for Notre-Dame West Haven (2000, 2001)
> Attended Salisbury School
David Grimson F > Played Collegiately for Sacred Heart University
Mike Pomichter F > North Haven, CT native
> Former 2nd round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks (1991)
Bob Lachance F > Bristol, CT native
> Former 6th round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues (1992)
R.J. Gates F > Plainville, CT native
> Skated for New Haven Knights (UHL) and and Danbury Mad Hatters (EPHL)
Bryan Leitch F > Played collegiately for Quinnipiac University
> Finalist for the 2009 Hobey Baker Award
Andrew Meyer F > Played collegiately for Quinnipiac University
Jason Michelson F > Previously played for the Danbury Mad Hatters (EPHL)
Bill Newson F > Enfield, CT native
> Skated one season for Fermi High School (1992-93)
> Previously played for the New Haven Knights (UHL)

The backstory here is not uncommon on the well-traveled roads of minor league professional hockey: the Delaware Federals team was borne from the ashes of the Vermont Wild, a Federal Hockey League (FHL) expansion team that folded in December. In order to allow the remaining teams in the league to keep their scheduled home games (and the potential revenue associated with them), the FHL formed the Federals as a road-only team – meaning they play no home games.

The team itself was comprised initially of former Vermont Wild players. To help round out the roster for each game, the Federals sign additional players local to their opponent that week.

Enter this week’s group of newly minted Federals.

“I am really excited to get this chance,” said North Haven native Mike Pomichter. “The hockey community is such a unique, tight group. Many of us playing in the game grew up in Connecticut or played here in college or pro. We have a great group of players and I really look forward to this opportunity. To be able to get one more chance to be able to play in front of all my family and friends, is something you can’t ignore.”

Pomichter’s sentiments were echoed by Plainville’s R.J. Gates: “There are only so many times you get to relive your childhood dream of playing professional hockey. Many of us have families of our own now. So for me, it is about being able to play in front of my two boys, it is a special opportunity and you don’t pass those types of opportunities up.”

The puck drops in Danbury this Friday (2/17) at 7:35PM for what is sure to be an entertaining and memorable game for both players and fans alike.

Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate. Get out and support local hockey!