Delaware… It’s most famous for being the first of the original 13 states to ratify the U.S. Constitution on Dec 7, 1787.
Fast forward over 230 years and the “First State” finally got its first professional ice hockey team in 2019! While Delaware isn’t typically thought of as a hockey state, the team is home to a few high-level ice hockey teams.
In this article, I’ll show you what pro hockey teams are in Delaware and what college and junior teams compete in the state.
Pssssst! Are you curious about hockey teams in other U.S. states? You can learn more by checking out our other posts: What Hockey Team Is in Florida, What Hockey Team Is in Alabama, and What Hockey Team Is in Pennsylvania.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s What Hockey Teams Are In Delaware:
While Delaware doesn’t have an NHL team, they do have one pro hockey team: The Delaware Thunder of the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL). Their top college hockey team is the University of Delaware (ACHA Men’s D1).
Does Delaware Have a Hockey Team?
So, what is Delaware’s top hockey team?
Delaware has several ice hockey teams. However, they don’t have an NHL team as it’s a smaller state (1 million people), and there are too many competing markets nearby (Flyers, Capitals).
The top hockey team in Delaware is a lower-level professional hockey team: Delaware Thunder of the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL).
The top college hockey team in Utah is the University of Delaware (ACHA Men’s D1)
Does Delaware Have an NHL Team?
So, will you find an NHL hockey team in Delaware?
Unfortunately, no. Delaware’s population is just over 1 million people which is simply too small for an NHL team. Plus, they have too many nearby hockey markets like the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals.
What NHL Team Does Delaware Root For?
Delaware doesn’t have its own NHL team. However, The “First State” still has a very active NHL fanbase.
The most popular NHL team for Delawareans is the Philadelphia Flyers. This is primarily due to the fact that the Flyers (in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) are the closest geographical NHL team to Delaware, located just a 1.5 hour drive away from Delaware’s capital city, Dover.
While the Flyers are the most popular NHL team in the state, hockey fans in Delaware also cheer for a few other teams. The “runner up” team would be the Washington Capitals.
What Hockey Teams Are in Delaware?
So, what hockey teams are in Delaware? The “First State” has one professional hockey team and several college teams as listed below:
While Delaware has one professional hockey team, they, unfortunately, don’t have an NHL team.
Delaware doesn’t currently have an American Hockey League (AHL) team. The AHL is a high-level professional sports league just one step below the NHL.
Delaware has one professional ice hockey team in the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL). This is a low-level professional sports league in the eastern United States just one step below the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).
What is the name of the Delaware FPHL team? Delaware Thunder.
So, where do the Delaware Thunder play? The Thunder play their home games at Centre Ice Rink located at 644 Rd 316, Harrington, DE 19952.
D1, D2 College Hockey
While Delaware doesn’t currently have an NHL team, they do have some high-level college hockey. The state has two college hockey teams that compete within the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) in D1 and D2:
- University of Delaware (ACHA Men’s D1)
- University of Delaware (ACHA Men’s D2)
Delaware doesn’t currently have a junior ice hockey team. However, the state was very close to getting its first team in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL) in 2017 called the Lighting Hockey Club.
The Philadelphia Flyers Junior Hockey Club were a Tier III ice hockey team in the USPHL and in 2017 the team was sold to Delaware Hockey, LLC and became the Lightning Hockey Club. Ownership had plans to play the team in the USPHL at the start of the 2017-18 season in Newark, Delaware, but the team never ended up playing a game.
The USPHL removed the team from the league in September 2017, before the season even started.
Is There High School Hockey in Delaware?
Yes, high school hockey in Delaware is called the Delaware Scholastic Hockey Association (DSHA). Unlike other high school sports in Delaware, ice hockey isn’t officially sanctioned by the DelawareInterscholastic Athletic Association.
However, the Delaware Scholastic Hockey Association is sanctioned by USA hockey. In the league, there are 12 varsity ice hockey teams:
In the DSHA, there are 12 teams:
- Alexis I. duPont High School
- Appoquinimink High School
- Archmere Academy
- Caravel Academy
- Concord High School
- Delaware Military Academy
- Hodgson Vo-Tech High School
- Middletown High School
- Newark High School
- St. Elizabeth High School
- St. Mark’s High School
- Tatnall School
Are you curious to know more about hockey in other states across the U.S.? Don’t forget to check out our other full guide: Hockey Teams in Every U.S. State: Complete NHL & College List (2023)