It has been a rough go of it for the Battle Creek Rumble Bees as they start their first year in the Federal Prospects Hockey League.
The team has started their inaugural season by losing their first 17 games and have been outscored 122-27. The team announced their operation in late July and while most FPHL teams wait until the following season to start competing to allow the team to build a brand and gather sponsors, the Rumble Bees decided to jump into things right away with the regular season beginning just three months later.
Since the organization was granted so late in the process, Battle Creek didn’t get some of the same luxuries as the three other expansion franchises. Rumble Bees Vice President, Terry Ficorelli, believes the organization got a late start compared to other new teams around the league.
“A challenge that confronted our organization is that the other three expansion teams participated in an expansion draft that they were able to bring in draft players from other existing teams in the league. The Rumble Bees didn't have the opportunity to do that.” Ficorelli said.
With the leagues top players being spoken for and most of the competitor’s rosters being set, it left Battle Creek scrambling to put a product on the ice. Even though the Bees have sputtered to start the season the team knows it is a project that will take some time to reach its full potential.
“Joining the league a month before the season starts usually is going to be a scramble for everybody involved, so I knew what we were up against. Then again anything that's worth anything does takes time. I know this was going to take time and I knew it was going to be at least a year-long project.” Rumble Bees forward Shea Carey said.
While the team has yet to capture their first victory, the support from the community has been stronger than one may think.
“They're very appreciative that we have hockey here in the greater Battle Creek area again. They're basically pumping us up and saying the next win is coming soon for as short of a time that we've been here we have actually developed a die hard fan base.” Rumble Bees General Manager and Interim Head Coach, Adam Stio said.
The Rumble Bees hopes that the communities support is paid back with wins in the near future.
"We just have to say be patient, we're being patient working our way toward a win. We just hope everybody sticks with us and still believe in us as we do it." Rumble Bee goalie Joel Eisenhower said.