The Junior Hockey Podcast has confirmed with two sources that the Jersey Shore Whalers, of the United States Premier Hockey League's Premier Division, have folded after a forfeiting games Saturday and Sunday at Springfield.
Friday night (Oct. 18) the Whalers had 17 skaters on the scoresheet but were blanked 15-0 by the New York Aviators. Last Wednesday the Whalers had 14 skaters in 7-3 home loss against Philadelphia Hockey Club. Last weekend the Whalers and Connecticut Nighthawks exchanged short benches in a weekend series in Cromwell, Conn. -- Friday night Jersey Shore dressed 12 skaters and dropped a 2-1 decision while Saturday night the Whalers claimed a 5-1 win in a game that only saw 26 total skaters (15 for Jersey Shore and 11 for Nighthawks).
There are other teams around the country that are still dressing 15 or fewer skaters, which have been chronicled in our Struggle Bus series, which puts them in the same danger zone as the Whalers were residing.
When a team has only 15 skaters it only takes a player or two to quit, become injured or move to another league to sink a season and drag down all their future league opponents with them.
While the Whalers future games have not yet been removed from the league schedule, the league only has a couple of options: Forfeit all the future Jersey Shore games or attempt to re-work the divisional schedule to make up for these lost contests with the least amount of travel and planning disruption.
What complicates things even more is if a team had a weekend travel plan for two or three days in which a Jersey Shore game was scheduled. That means they pay a full day of bus rental and potentially an extra night of hotel, which is in the $2,000 range for both, to not play a game. Any hotel contracts that have been executed for the purpose of playing at Jersey Shore are not likely to be cancelled.
TJHP has reached out to the USPHL and the Whalers organization and will update this story if either entity gets back to us.