hawkfan89

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  1. The league has to quickly find a buyer who will keep the team in New Orleans but at this point, I think selling them to someone like Cratt may be the only option left, as the team is now out of money. It's possible that the club could play one more year in Louisiana under a new owner but it seems like a relocation is now inevitable if the team is to survive. Houston remains the strongest possibility, as the Ottawa group probably does not have enough money to compete. Sometime I'd love to make a spreadsheet of intro and goal songs for each team. I already have ideas for a few of them. The Raiders have a decent shot at winning at least a series. They're playing Quebec so both teams are back in for the first time in a while. The bad news for Long Island is they're playing Boston, one of the strongest teams this year. However, the Concordes have proven in the past to be a big thorn in the Bulldogs' side so you never know..
  2. 2003-04 Regular Season When the Boston Bulldogs opened their training camp in September, 2003, captain Scott Rose was conspicuously missing. By the time the season opened on October 10, Rose was still without a new deal. Without him, the Bulldogs did manage to go 5-3-0 in their first eight games when on October 27, a blockbuster trade was announced that rocked the hockey world. Rose was dealt to the Minnesota Lumberjacks in exchange for Brendan Marlo. Marlo had proven to be a budding superstar with the ‘Jacks but was growing unhappy with his role on a deep team. Rose, on the other hand, was looking for a new contract in the $10-12 Million range and Boston was unwilling to part with it. With Marlo’s contract gone, the Lumberjacks had the cap room to sign Rose to a six-year deal at $9 Million/year. Rose agreed to a discount when faced with the very real possibility of winning a Lewis Cup in Minnesota. It would be Boston, however, who would come out as the big winners in the deal. One of the oddest things about the deal was that both players wore number 2. In Boston, Marlo essentially just wore Rose’s jersey as it retained the “C” as well. ‘Dogs coach Max St. Beaudoin had seen Marlo play plenty of times in the Maritime Junior league and was impressed with his leadership. Marlo led the team in scoring as the Bulldogs led the division for most of the year, until a late-season surge by their arch-rivals, the Philadelphia Redshirts, pushed them into fourth place. The Redshirts were enjoying another strong season as Jared Baxter and Alexei Ivanov formed one of the deadliest duos in the league, combining for 192 points. Quebec returned to the playoffs, while Montreal, plagued by injuries nearly missed for the first time since 1989. For the second consecutive year, a dramatic playoff race formed in the South Division with three teams chasing the division title and final playoff spot. Throughout the year, Atlanta, Carolina, Miami, and New Orleans all took turns holding down the top spot. The Sound, despite a historically embarrassing off-season, came together to make a strong push for the division lead. 29-year old Kevin Jones, with a lot of help from newly acquired veteran Lamar Jackson, proved to be a surprising success behind the bench, despite no professional coaching experience. However, it would all come crashing down in March of 2004, it was revealed that Sam Bendt, who had been in a rehab facility since September, was broke. The league was forced to take over ownership of the Sound and there was no guarantee the franchise would even survive the remainder of the year without folding. The mandate to GM Bill Draper from the league was to shed salary to keep the team afloat. Since coming over from New York in the summer, Lamar Jackson had handled the entire situation with the Sound with tremendous grace. To thank him, Draper ensured that Jackson went to a contender, sending him to Dallas just days before the trade deadline. The final nail went into the coffin of the Sound’s 2003-04 season on deadline day, March 7, when superstar Brad McNair and his $12 Million salary was dealt to Milwaukee in a blockbuster, three-team deal that saw the Choppers send Peter Lundholm to Atlanta while the Sound received a first-round pick directly from Milwaukee and prospect Alex Andreyev from the Copperheads. In all, New Orleans unloaded $17 Million in payroll, and also knocked themselves out of the playoff race. The disaster in New Orleans opened up the South Division playoff race considerably. Atlanta, now boosted by the addition of Lundholm, Miami, and Carolina were left gunning for the final spot. It would come down to the Copperheads and Raiders in the final days of the season, when it was Atlanta, when disaster struck, this time in Atlanta. With two games to go in the season, Copperheads’ forward Jason Ferland was arrested on assault charges after an incident at a Miami nightclub. The league suspended Ferland, who was not released from custody until the season ended anyway. The Carolina Raiders won their final two games and clinched a playoff spot for the first time in four years. “In the end, the team with the least amount of drama won out” said writer Bill Wentworth. There was not quite as much drama in the Western Conference, where the Holiday Classic was played out west for the first time ever as Minnesota took on St. Louis Christmas Day. The game went to overtime where the Lumberjacks won 3-2, but it was the Spirits who created a stir, choosing to wear their classic white uniforms from the dynasty years. The league announced after the game that special retro jerseys would be worn at each Holiday Classic from that point on. Seattle, generally regarded as the PHL’s deepest team, dominated the league. Former Washington Generals captain Rob Wentzel had taken a huge pay cut to come to Seattle in the hopes of winning a ring, but Wentzel was no passenger, finishing second in Wolves’ scoring. Chicago clinched the Central Division, making it 35 consecutive seasons in the post-season, while Edmonton finally broke out and won the North Division as Kris Nazarenko became the first player in PHL history to begin his career with two straight 50-goal seasons. The Kansas City Twisters and Dallas Desperados both had all but lost the battle for the Central Division to Chicago when the trade deadline arrived on March 7, but both teams were busy as they continued to battle each other for home ice advantage in what appeared to be an inevitable first-round meeting. Dallas rescued Lamar Jackson from the sinking New Orleans Sound, while Kansas City acquired veteran Shannon Michaels from Calgary. Michaels had served as the Wranglers captain since the early 90s and would be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. The Twisters would ultimately edge out the Desperados for fourth place and home-ice advantage in what promised to be a very entertaining series. In Milwaukee, the Choppers struggled throughout the year, hovering around .500, until pulling off a huge three-way deal in March where for the price of Peter Lunholm and a first-round pick, the Choppers received Brad McNair from New Orleans. With the horrible situation in Louisiana behind him, McNair exploded for 12 points in the final ten games as the Choppers won nine out of ten to pull away from Winnipeg and secure the final playoff spot. It spelled the end of a very promising season for Dan Crow, Jamie Moore, and a Winnipeg team that had finally shown signs of life for the first time since reaching the Lewis Cup Final in 1999. “It’s disappointing, but I think we’re on the right track” said Crow. There was also some improvement in Denver and St. Louis, as both teams remained in playoff contention fairly late in the season. Sad news hit St. Louis in February, as long time team owner Frank Wells passed away at 82. Wells was beloved by the Spirits’ players and the fans in St. Louis as he built one of hockey’s all-time greatest dynasties. The Spirits wore a special patch with Wells’ initials on it for the remainder of one of the most eventful seasons in PHL history.
  3. The Bulldogs are still owned by the family that founded them in 1921, the Walton family. They have always had a reputation as good owners, though the current owner, Don Walton, has faced criticism for playing hardball with key free agents, most recently Scott Rose. Looking back I'm not entirely sure why I put the CanaDome in Winnipeg. with the '88 winter games approaching at the time, it would've made more sense for Calgary, who still play in the same arena since 1961. However, that is the reason the Pioneers survived. Despite their on-ice woes, they do have a rabid fanbase, much like the real life Jets. With one of the best arenas in the league, the Pioneers continued to do well at the box office, though it was still difficult in a small market to compete pre-cap.
  4. In all likelihood, yes, they will remain in the east. Houston is not that far from New Orleans and both are in the same time zone. However, Houston would be the first team to move west if necessary. I actually have names in mind for either Houston or Ottawa. The Sound name would indeed stay in New Orleans. After all, I wouldn't want a PHL version of the Utah Jazz. Bendt, aside from being extremely unstable right now (more on that in the 03-04 post), is one of those owners who knows almost nothing about the sport yet wants to have a hand in every decision. He made a few irrational moves since acquiring the franchise (such as offering Brad McNair way too much money, the deal that really led to this mess). The summer of 03 was eye-opening for the league. I can certainly start that, though it may take some time. It's something I've always wanted to do actually. I do have that started already, I just need to finish and update it. I may look at releasing that once the new uniforms are out. There's not much chance of a move back to Halifax for the Sound. There is still no new arena in the area. Barrington Arena has undergone some renovations to make it a suitable home for the Can/Am league's Halifax Schooners, but a new PHL franchise would need a new building. However, there are some interested in bringing the league back to Nova Scotia someday so you never know. It could be a while if it happens though. Byrd's exit is something I've been working on for a while, I feel like it has to be dramatic or it wouldn't do him justice. He is definitely starting to lose the confidence of the owners. the 2007 labour negotiations could be the breaking point, especially if there's another lockout. To answer your other question, Garfield and his son who currently owns the team were certainly abrasive at times and not always liked by the league or the other owners, but the Chicago players have always loved playing for them. The Shamrocks have always been a tight-run ship, for example they are one of those "short hair, no facial hair allowed" teams similar to the Yankees and Leafs, but players love to play in Chicago because ownership stands behind their players and they are committed to winning. As for other owners, some other bad ones would certainly include Bendt, who's behavior in 2003 has alienated him with pretty much the entire hockey world. The Smythe family, Gerald and now his son Donald, have been a pain in the neck for the league since the 1940s. Gerald owned the original Bighorns shortly after WW2 and was largely responsible for starting the rival GHL in the '60s, while Donald has run the current franchise for most of it's history. The Bighorns have been one of the saddest franchises in league history and much of it has to do with the Smythe family treating the franchise as a "status symbol" without actually putting anything into it. John Byford from Washington is one of the more eccentric characters in the league. He is a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars and even spent time as a POW in Korea. He has been known for trying to run his team like a military unit. Like the Shamrocks, the Generals do not allow any long hair or facial hair and were even known for running training camps in the 1970s like basic training. Frank Wells of St. Louis would rank as one of the top owners. Wells, who is now 82, has always treated his players very well, has poured a lot of himself into the Spirits, and has produced a dynasty. Gil McCarthy in Minnesota is up there too, as the Lumberjacks have been one of the league's model franchises since they began. Jerry Drum in Milwaukee is considered one of the best owners in sports, and even though the Nationale haven't been extremely successful during her tenure, Olivia Poulette, the league's only female owner, is extremely well liked by the fans and players. She is seen as somewhat of a hero after standing up to Darryl Byrd when he tried to move the team in the late 90s.
  5. 2003 Off-Season 2003 Entry Draft Though not as deep as the 2002 draft, there were still a few gems in 2003. Big defenseman Noah Brewer went first overall to Cleveland. As a 19-year-old, Brewer had been eligible in 2002 but was passed over. Brewer enrolled at Minnesota State, where he helped the Screaming Eagles to a Frozen Four appearance and the whole league took notice. “I’ve never seen a kid mature so much both physically and mentally” said Cosmos GM Bill Kelly. “He did a lot of growing up this year.” In general, the draft was rich with defensemen, with ten D-men going in the first round. Goaltender Jussi Miettinen went second overall to St. Louis, while another defenseman, Evan Long, went third to Quebec. Pittsburgh took an important step in their rebuild. After selecting Swedish defenseman Tomas Sandberg, the Stingers then dealt veteran defenseman Jared Hawkins to Edmonton in exchange for the 16th pick, which they used to take Cam Reed. 1. CLE – Noah Brewer, D, USA 2. STL – Jussi Miettinen, G, FIN 3. QUE – Evan Long, D, CAN 4. WSH – Ryan Quackenbush, F, CAN 5. PIT – Tomas Sandberg, D, SWE 6. POR – Kris Lukowich, F, CAN 7. CAR – Kyle Weatherby, D, CAN 8. WPG – Jakub Marek, F, CZE 9. CGY – Jordan Goode, F, CAN 10. DEN – Shawn Brooks, F, USA 11. OAK – Ilya Zhinovjev, F, RUS 12. LA – Kris Griffin, F, CAN 13. NOS – Peter Ossler, F, SWE 14. NYC – Adam Stawski, D, CAN 15. MIA – Ryan Dove, F, CAN 16. PIT (From EDM) – Cam Reed, F, CAN 17. KC – Garret Lowendawsky, F, CAN 18. DET – Eric Cooper, F, CAN 19. MTL – Devan Meyer, F, USA 20. LI – Christian Cloutier, F, CAN 21. BOS – Denis Lapointe, G, CAN 22. VAN – Colton Brady, D, CAN 23. MIL – Jonathan Keller, D, USA 24. CHI – Matt Irvin, D, USA 25. ATL - Alex Andreyev, F, RUS 26. SEA - Dominik Kovar, F, CZE 27. MIN – Marc-Andre Lavoie, D, CAN 28. TOR – Alex Thibodeau, F, CAN 29. PHI – Brad Kruek, D, CAN 30. DAL – Roger Whitfield, F, USA Notable Retirements: Jason Radford, F, SEA, 1982-2003 Selected second overall by Seattle in the 1982 entry draft, Jason Radford toiled under the shadow of the Jake Fairbanks/Pete Holloway duo for the first decade of his career. Shortly after Fairbanks and Holloway left, superstars Drake Klausen and Randy McAllen were drafted. The theme of Radford’s career seemed to be that the Grey Wolves would never be his team despite being named captain in 1993. However, McAllen and Klausen struggled to meet their full potential and by the time the team made their big run for the Lewis Cup in 2002, the 39-year-old Radford had put the team on his back and led them to their first-ever title. Radford would play one more season before retiring in 2003. Jeremy Kitchen, F, NYC, KC, 1985-2003 The son of Toronto Racers legend Bobby Kitchen, Jeremy Kitchen enjoyed a successful career of his own. Kitchen spent most of his 18-year career in New York, playing alongside Aaron Duplacy, where he helped the Civics to the Lewis Cup in 1997. A year later, Kitchen left New York and signed with the Kansas City Twisters, where he won his second and final championship in 2000. Teppo Sikkanen, D, DEN, CHI, 1986-2003 Sikkanen was one of the most underappreciated players in league history perhaps because he was overshadowed by all the other talent from the historic 1986 draft. It didn’t help that he also spent most of his career on a very weak Denver team, though he did claim the Tom Cooper Award in 1992 as the league’s top defenseman. In 2001, Sikkanen signed with Chicago, where he finally reached the Lewis Cup Finals in his final year, unfortunately coming just one win short. Jeff Winslow, D, MIN, 1985-2003 While home-grown hero Jason Crowley received much of the credit for Minnesota’s success in the late 1990s, Crowley himself stated in an interview following Jeff Winslow’s retirement announcement that the ‘Jacks two championships in ’96 and ’98 would not have been possible without the steady defenseman’s presence and his ability to kick-start the offence. “Jeff just had that amazing ability to turn the momentum of a game by himself” said Crowley. “He was the reason we won a lot of those big games.” Dwayne Gibbons, D, WPG, 1983-2003 Another underrated player from a weak team, Dwayne Gibbons had opportunity to leave Winnipeg, but chose to stay through some very lean years. He would ultimately be rewarded with an unexpected Cinderella run to the finals in 1999, but came up short against Vincent Ducharme and the Montreal Royale. Gibbons will remain in Winnipeg as an assistant coach, where he continues to hope to bring a championship to the city. Notable Trades New Orleans trades F Darren Reid to Toronto in exchange for F Theo Galvin and a 1st round pick. The blockbuster trade of the summer caps off a tough summer for the Sound, who are forced to trade budding superstar Reid to the Racers to get under the cap. Washington trades F Rob Wentzel to Seattle in exchange for F Nick Spears. The rebuilding Generals trade their longtime captain to Seattle hoping he can win a championship. Pittsburgh trades D Jared Hawkins to Edmonton in exchange for 1st round pick. Stingers use the pick on winger Cam Reed, Northern Lights get a veteran defenseman to provide leadership to a young team. Key Free Agents Resignings: RFAs: D Henrik Soderstrum signs new 6-year deal with Cleveland worth $9 Million/year. D Ricky Wolfe (NOS) signs 6-year deal with Pittsburgh worth $8 Million/year. Pittsburgh signs Wolfe to an offer sheet and New Orleans lacks the cap space to match it. The Sound will receive Pittsburgh’s first-round draft choice in 2004 as compensation. F Alexei Suvorov signs new 7-year deal with Denver worth $9 Million/year. F Brett Reed signs new 5-year deal with Edmonton worth $4 Million/year. F Jordan Rifkin signs new 4-year deal with Oakland worth $5 Million/year. D Travis Tearney signs new 4-year deal with Boston worth $4 Million/year. UFAs: F Brett Delaney signs new 7-year deal with Kansas City worth $9 Million/year. The Twisters’ top forward all but ensures he will retire in KC. D Lamar Jackson (NYC) signs 5-year deal with New Orleans worth $5 Million/year. After 15 seasons as the heart and soul of the Civics’ blueline, the New York native makes the difficult decision to leave as the Civics embark on a rebuild. Jackson hopes to help the Sound back into the playoffs and into contention. D Randy Fernandez signs new 2-year deal with Toronto worth $4 Million/year. After speculation that the 36-year old would sign elsewhere, Fernandez takes a big hometown discount for an opportunity to win more titles with the Racers. D Kevin Drake (CAR) signs 3-year deal with Minnesota worth $3.5 Million/year. The aging Lumberjacks add to their blueline depth in an attempt at one last run. F Kim Brodie (PHI) signs 1-year deal with Kansas City worth $2 Million/year. Nearing the end of a fairly successful career, Brodie moves to KC with the hopes of winning a championship. D Elliot Andrews(VAN) signs 1-year deal with Chicago worth $1 Million/year. Elliot “U-haul” Andrews is on the move again, signing with his 9th PHL team for what could be his final season. News Perhaps no franchise in PHL history completely seemed to come unglued like the New Orleans Sound in the summer of 2003. With rumours of Sam Bendt’s financial struggles and a possible move to either Houston or Ottawa already swirling, disaster struck on July 1. The team was really hoping that emerging star defenseman Ricky Wolfe would accept a hometown discount to save the team cap space, when the Pittsburgh Stingers swooped in, signing Wolfe to an $8 Million offer sheet that the Sound could never hope to match. Infuriated over losing a star player, the increasingly irrational Bendt blamed GM Grant Dunlop, firing him and taking over the position himself. Incredibly, Bendt had Darryl Byrd’s full support in stepping into the role, while others were left scratching their heads. Just 12 hours into his new career as a hockey GM, Bendt excitedly announced the signing of future hall-of-famer Lamar Jackson to a $5 Million deal. The deal was a decent one, the Sound needed to replace Wolfe on their blueline and Jackson like the opportunity to help a young team, But Bendt misunderstood the cap system. Somewhere he had heard a rumour that the cap would increase to $57 Million per team, an absurd notion, given that it had only been $45 Million in ’02-03. In fact, the cap had increased to $48 Million. But Bendt had fired his GM and would not listen to his advisors. Desperate to get under the cap, the Sound were forced to trade budding superstar Darren Reid, dealing him to Toronto for Theo Galvin and a first rounder. After the trade, head coach Garth Collins abruptly quit his job, calling the Sound “the most disorganized, incompetent, bush league organization I’ve ever seen.” Scrambling to find a new coach, Bendt hired head trainer Kevin Jones, who would be the youngest coach in PHL history at age 29. That was when the league stepped in. Deputy commissioner Neil McCormick ordered Bendt to surrender the GM position to somebody with experience and 70-year-old former NCAA coach Bill Draper was hired. Draper had been a golfing buddy of Bendt’s and was the only hockey person he knew outside the Sound organization. After the fiasco cleared up, it was reported that Bendt had been checked into a rehab facility in Florida. “Unbelievable” said commentator Brian McLeod. “I can’t say that I’ve ever seen anything like this in my 30 years covering the sport.” After Bendt checked into rehab, Houston billionaire emailed Darryl Byrd. “I’ve still got that 18,000-seat arena if you need a place for the Sound” read the email. Questions were even raised concerning Byrd’s qualifications for his job as he had allowed the fiasco to happen, and it took his assistant to stop it. The owners were already starting to gear up for another labour battle in 2007 and were uncertain if Byrd was the man for the job. “That Summer” as it would forever be known in hockey circles, proved to be a positive for Grant Dunlop, who returned to coaching as the New York Civics’ new bench boss, as Bruce Irvine focused on the GM duties. “I can’t wait to go back to coaching” said Dunlop. “As crazy as Sam Bendt was, I really do owe him for this.” The bad news only continued into the 2003 pre-season, this time in Boston, where captain Scott Rose refused to report to training camp after being low-balled in contract negotiations. Rose was seen as the ‘Dogs future franchise player but the team had offered him the same salary he had been receiving so they would have the cap space to sign Chris Haines and goaltender Chad Cohen the following summer. “Scotty just wants to be paid what he’s worth, I think he’s earned that” said Rose’s agent. When training camp ended and Rose still had not signed, Boston fans became nervous. “At this point we have to consider what’s best for this team” said GM Bruce McKinnon.
  6. Thanks for the feedback on LA's uniforms everyone! To tell you the truth I've kind of been dreading the mid-late 2000s in a similar way that I looked forward to the 1990s. I've always felt like the 00s were a dark decade (often literally) when it came to uniforms. The comforting thing is knowing at the end of the decade there will be a lot of great retro uniforms coming back. Hashtags will be a lot of fun when the time comes though. That may get worked into the story at some point. In fact I've always wanted to have some kind of logo controversy story arc in the PHL without actually creating a really offensive logo (like native or other ethnic imagery). I didn't even realize until now that this could be that opportunity. I feel old right now. Seriously though, I remember when I finally hit my own lifetime in the PHL story and how much more fun it was to imagine where I was and what I was doing whenever something big happened. One interesting PHL fact is that most of the significant events and moments from the league's history happened on dates that were significant in some way to me or my family. Usually whenever you see a specific date given for something, it marks a significant date from my personal life.
  7. The only team that has so far in the modern era was the Claymores and even they only used it for their first decade as well as their final season. It is a style you will probably see again by the time we get to the 2010s.
  8. The Duke uniforms are very similar to the real-life RBK Edge uniforms. Tighter, lots of piping for some teams (Which I don't like personally but it's realistic) and both the Duke and PHL logos will be featured on every jersey on or close to the collar. One of the biggest things about the new uniform template is it will come with long-overdue equipment updates to the helmets, skates, and gloves.
  9. Wizards Unveil New Logo, League Announces New Uniform Deal Just prior to the 2003 PHL entry draft, the Los Angeles Wizards unveiled a full new identity, featuring all-new logos, colors, and uniforms. The logo features the bearded face of a wizard in a design inspired by the team's original logo used from 1968 to 1995. The uniforms have also been inspired by the original look, featuring Purple, Orange, and Silver trim. Black has been removed entirely from the team's identity. The nod to the team's old look was no coincidence. Team president and GM Stuart Holly was the driving force behind the rebrand. Holly is regarded as the greatest player in Wizards history and spent nearly his entire career wearing the original Purple and Orange uniforms. "We feel that we're entering an exciting new era and we wanted to come up with a look that both brings us into the future and also reminds our fans of the success this franchise had in the past." said Holly. "Purple and Orange were always Wizards colors, we're excited to get back to that." Elsewhere in the league, the Kansas City Twisters unveiled their second alternate uniform in franchise history, a blue jersey in a vintage style with color laces and Black, White, and Silver trim. In Dallas and Cleveland, the Desperados and Cosmos both unveiled new logos commemorating the tenth anniversary of their entry into the league. both teams will feature the logos on the corner of their jerseys. Finally, the league agreed to a ten-year deal that will make Duke Sports the exclusive provider of PHL game uniforms. Duke has promised to "reinvent the hockey uniform" with the development of new tighter-fitting, lightweight jerseys. All 30 teams in the PHL will have new uniforms in the fall of 2005 and a few will take the opportunity to make changes to the designs and introduce new logos. The league has requested that teams who plan to make changes wait until the summer of 2005 to do so, meaning that there will be no changes to any team uniforms for the 2004-05 season. The new uniform system will be seen for the first time at the 2005 all-star game.
  10. Most of the teams play in the downtown core of their cities with a few exceptions. In addition to the teams mentioned, the Calgary Exhibition is located on the outer edge of the city, while the Shamrocks have been playing in the Lincoln Park area for most of their existence. Some teams used to play in different parts of their cities but have since moved downtown. The Bulldogs, for example, played in Brighton for over 70 years before moving to Downtown Boston in 1994. So there's been a change in plans. The Wizards' uniforms are coming next after all as they are now close to being finished. I have been quite sick for a couple of weeks so I just haven't been able to work much on the off-season post.
  11. So the off-season post is on the way, though it could still be a couple of days. In the meantime, part four of the history section is up on the blog: https://phlnetwork.blogspot.ca/p/history_10.html
  12. LA's new look is not entirely throwback, but elements of it will be. Purple and Orange will be the dominant colours again with black removed from the identity. I think the Bulls will be returning to their old colours fairly soon as well. The Nuggets have a pretty strong identity I think right now but they may introduce a retro third jersey at some point. As for New Orleans, they won't be on the move just yet, but there have been new developments. They may make it to Katrina but likely not far beyond that. Yeah Byrd seems like the kind of guy who wears really high boots so he looks taller. Maybe he asked Fernandez to remove his skates so the pics looked better
  13. This year it will just be an announcement of which company gets the deal but next year (2004) the new uniform system will be unveiled and used for the all-star game. Teams will all have new uniforms in time for 2005-06.
  14. LA will have a new look, Long Island will have a new alternate jersey, and the league will announce a new uniform deal. There will also be an update on the New Orleans situation, and the host of the 2004 World Hockey Challenge will be named among other things. I'm still having a tough time getting the Wizards' new logo right though so it'll probably come after the off-season post.
  15. 2003 Lewis Cup Finals In a series filled with history, “Canada’s Team”, the Toronto Racers, faced off against “America’s Team”, the Chicago Shamrocks in the 2003 Lewis Cup Finals. The two teams had met just once before in the championship round, in 1942, the first time the Lewis Cup was awarded. Chicago won in ’42 then went on to become one of the most successful teams in PHL history, claiming six titles and appearing in the playoffs an unprecedented 34 consecutive seasons and counting. Meanwhile, the Racers struggled after the PHL/GHL merger, failing to win the Lewis Cup and appearing in the final only once. But Racers fans were filled with hope after a strong year in 2002-03, as Joe Murdock set playoff scoring records, Randy Fernandez returned to his old form, and Rex Hull proved to be a brilliant motivator behind the bench. The series was fairly high-scoring early on, with each team winning two games. Both Tom Branson and Jake Borman struggled at different times during the first four games, while Murdock and Shamrocks’ rookie Jonathan Wheatley each made a strong case for playoff MVP with three points each. The series was a best-of-three heading into game five. Once again, it was a high-scoring affair. The lead flipped back-and-forth three different times until the third period, when it seemed to settle at a 4-4 tie. Gustav Mattsen nearly put Chicago ahead late but his shot rang off the post. Moments later, Sean MacDonald of the Racers was given a boarding penalty, giving Chicago a powerplay. What followed was perhaps the most spectacular two minutes of Jake Borman’s career, as the 33-year-old stopped 12 shots to preserve the tie. Just as it looked like the game would go to overtime, Andrew Cox beat Branson to give Toronto the lead. As the clock ticked down, the Shamrocks pushed but the lead held up, the Racers now led the series 3-2 with an opportunity to claim the cup in Chicago. At the Garfield Center for game six, Chicago knew they needed a big performance from their top players to keep the series alive, but it would be an unexpected hero that would step up in the end. Unlike the rest of the games, game six was tight, with Borman and Branson both shutting the door in net. A Chris Falkner goal early in the third gave Toronto the lead but it was short-lived. Sergei Krayev tied it and the game went into overtime. Overtime didn’t last long, as Shamrocks’ enforcer Cedric Thibault scored with just a minute left in the first OT to send the series to game seven in Toronto. The Queen Elizabeth Arena was packed on June 10, 2003, as 17000 fans crammed into the 47-year-old building, hoping to see their team end its 39-year drought. Game seven was the closest in the series, as once again, the two goaltenders turned in a solid effort to keep the game scoreless through two periods. In the third, powerplays for each team only resulted in more spectacular play in net. With just 20 seconds left, it appeared that the game would go to overtime when a hard point shot from Randy Fernandez was deflected by Branson high into the air. The puck fell in front of Joe Murdock, who batted it into the net out of mid-air with just 13 seconds left to play. The Racers jumped over the boards and mobbed Murdock as if they forgot there was still time left on the clock. The referee ordered the players back to the bench to drop the puck for the final seconds. The building shook as the crowd remained on their feet, then it went silent for a second when Wheatley had a wide open net but just missed. Ty McInnis cleared it for the Racers and the team once again charged off their bench and mobbed Jake Borman. Joe Murdock was named playoff MVP and then Darryl Byrd handed the Lewis Cup to Randy Fernandez, who had waited 17 seasons to lift it. For the first time since 1964, the Racers were the Lewis Cup Champions.