Watertown Wolves

Last updated
Watertown Wolves
Watertown Wolves logo.png
City Watertown, New York
League Federal Hockey League
Home arena Watertown Municipal Arena
ColorsBlack, blue, white
Owner(s)IDHL, LLC.
Head coachPaul MacLean
Media Watertown Daily Times
Franchise history
2010–20131000 Islands Privateers
2013–2014Watertown Privateers
2014–presentWatertown Wolves
Regular season titles1 (2014–15)
Playoff championships2 (2015, 2018)

The Watertown Wolves are a minor professional hockey team in the Federal Hockey League based in Watertown, New York and play home games at the Watertown Municipal Arena. The team was on hiatus during the 2015–16 season while renovations at the Watertown Municipal Arena were completed and then returned for the 2016–17 season. [1] With a history dating to 2010, the Wolves are the oldest franchise in the FHL.

Federal Hockey League

The Federal Hockey League (FHL) is a professional ice hockey league with teams in the midwestern, southern, and northeastern United States. The FHL began operations in November 2010. Don Kirnan is the league's commissioner. The league has also branded itself as the Federal Professional Hockey League from 2015 to 2018 and the Federal Prospects Hockey League since 2018.

The Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds is a multi-purpose facility in Watertown, New York.



The team was originally known as the 1000 Islands Privateers and played at the Bonnie Castle Recreation Center in Alexandria Bay for two seasons before moving to Watertown for the 2012–13 season. [2] On March 1, 2013, Privateers owner and president Nicole Kirnan served as the team’s coach for the first time, making her the first woman to head coach a professional hockey team in the United States. [3] [4]

Bonnie Castle Recreation Center is an ice rink facility in Alexandria Bay, New York. It features an NHL sized sheet of ice for hockey, figure skating and open skating. Located just three miles from Bonnie Castle Year Round Resort.

Alexandria Bay, New York Village in New York, United States

Alexandria Bay is a village in Jefferson County, New York, United States, within the town of Alexandria. It is located in the Thousand Islands region of northern New York. The population of the village was 1,078 at the 2010 United States Census. It lies near the Thousand Islands Border Crossing of Canada and the United States.

Before the 2013–14 season, the Privateers revamped their identity by changing their name to the Watertown Privateers and redesigning their jerseys and logo. Brad Zangs was brought in as new head coach. [5]

New ownership

Watertown's FHL team returned for the 2014–15 with new ownership after the previous owners decided not to continue. The team rechristened itself as the Watertown Wolves during this season.

In their first season, the Wolves won both the regular season and the playoffs championship. First-year head coach, Brent Clarke, would be named FHL Coach of the Year, but would resign after the season. [6]

The Wolves suspended operations for the 2015–16 season to allow for the Watertown Municipal Arena to be renovated; the team attempted to find another arena in Northern New York to use, but were unable to find an available venue. The renovations were completed on schedule and the Wolves signed a new one-year lease agreement with the city of Watertown in order to return after one season off. [7] [8]

The Wolves returned for the 2016–17 season and hired Phil Esposito as head coach. [9]

The 2016–17 Federal Hockey League season is the seventh season of the Federal Hockey League. The regular season ran from October 28, 2016 to April 2, 2017, with an unbalanced 56-game schedule between the seven teams. The Danville Dashers won their first Commissioner's Cup.

Prior to the 2017–18 season, the franchise was purchased by IDHL, LLC., the a subsidiary of the FHL and an organization that had announced to be operating a developmental league as feeder system for the FHL [10] [11] called the International Developmental Hockey League. [12] The IDHL put off launching the new league and would instead focus solely on operating the Wolves. The shareholders in Top Shelf Hockey eventually left the Wolves organization outright later in the offseason stating they had grown exhausted over the major financial and emotional investments they were making in the franchise. [13] The new owners did not retain Esposito as coach and instead hired Trevor Karasiewicz. [14]

Karasiewicz led the team to a league championship in first season. After his second season, he left for the head coaching position with the Fresno Monsters, a junior team in the Western States Hockey League. Former Danville Dashers coach Paul MacLean was brought in as his replacement. [15]

Season-by-season records

SeasonGPWLOTWOTLSOLPts [lower-alpha 1] FinishPlayoffs
2010–11 44261350573rd of 6Lost Semifinals, 1–3 vs. Akwesasne Warriors
2011–12 492915311952nd of 8Won First Round, 2–1 vs. Akwesasne Warriors
Lost Second Round, 0–2 vs. Danbury Whalers
2012–13 531826522683rd of 6Lost Semifinals, 0–3 vs. Danbury Whalers
2013–14 56153254593rd of 4Lost Semifinals, 1–2 vs. Dayton Demonz
2014–15 543213631111st of 6Won Semifinals, 2–1 vs. Danbury Whalers
Won Finals, 3–2 vs. Danville Dashers
2016–17 56272324894th of 7Lost Semifinals, 1–2 vs. Danville Dashers
2017–18 522912651042nd of 7Won Semifinals, 2–0 vs. Carolina Thunderbirds
Won Finals, 3–1 vs. Port Huron Prowlers
2018–1958241671873rd of 6Lost Semifinals, 0–2 vs. Elmira Enforcers
  1. Except for the 2010–11 season, the FHL awards 3 points for a regulation time win, 2 points for an overtime win, and 1 point for an overtime or shootout loss

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  1. "Wolves Already Planning For 2016-17". FHL. June 24, 2015.
  2. City Council approves Privateers’ move to fairgrounds
  3. "With Kirnan behind bench, Privateers win". Watertown Daily Times. March 2, 2013.
  4. "Nicole Kirnan, first woman to coach men's pro hockey team, faced 'demoralizing' criticism". Yahoo! Sports. March 14, 2013.
  5. "Minnesota native Zangs new man behind Privateers' bench". Watertown Daily Times. October 31, 2013.
  6. "Wolves Bench Boss Clarke Resigns". Federal Hockey League. FHL. April 29, 2015.
  7. "Wolves, city ink new contract for Watertown arena". Watertown Daily Times. May 17, 2016.
  8. "Wolves Fans Give New Arena Warm Reception". WWNY TV. January 17, 2017.
  9. "Watertown Wolves hire Esposito as head coach". Watertown Daily Times. September 8, 2016.
  10. "THE IDHL IS BORN". OurSports Central. February 6, 2017.Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  11. "Introducing the International Developmental Hockey League for players ages 20-23". USA Junior Hockey Magazine. February 9, 2017.
  12. "New Owners Take Over Watertown Wolves Hockey Team". WWNY TV. June 29, 2017.
  13. "Last of local owners depart Watertown Wolves". Watertown Daily Times . September 29, 2017.
  14. "Watertown Wolves hire Karasiewicz as coach". Watertown Daily Times. July 6, 2017.
  15. "Sunday Sports: Watertown Wolves name new coach". WWNY-TV . August 11, 2019.