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Everything posted by hawkfan89

  1. 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.
  2. This is my first time really posting anything on here but I've been reading and following these forums and this site for several years now. For the past year I've been closely following the AFA project (History of a Fictional Football League, http://boards.sportslogos.net/topic/98092-history-of-a-fictional-football-league-new-orleans-krewe-field/) and it inspired me to create a fictional league of my own for Hockey. Using the site https://www.random.org/lists/ I've been simulating through the seasons and creating logos & uniforms for each team. I've started the league at the 1939-40 season, with nine teams. I have results completed through the 1945-46 season as well as uniform changes so I will post one season every few days until I'm caught up, at which point I will begin posting the seasons as they happen. Because I've already completed a few seasons, the designs for the first few seasons will be pretty much set in stone but I will be accepting feedback as we get into re-branding & expansion in the '50s and '60s. Current Year: 2003 List of champions: 1940 - Toronto 1941 - Windsor 1942 - Chicago 1943 - Boston 1944 - Boston 1945 - Boston 1946 - Boston 1947 - Hamilton 1948 - Chicago 1949 - Buffalo 1950 - Buffalo 1951 - Chicago 1952 - Boston 1953 - Hamilton 1954 - Hamilton 1955 - Chicago 1956 - New York 1957 - New York 1958 - Toronto 1959 - Boston 1960 - Quebec 1961 - Quebec 1962 - Quebec 1963 - Detroit 1964 - Toronto 1965 - Quebec 1966 - Montreal 1967 - Nova Scotia 1968 - Montreal 1969 - Detroit 1970 - Detroit 1971 - Boston 1972 - Minnesota 1973 - Detroit 1974 - Detroit 1975 - New York 1976 - LA 1977 - LA 1978 - LA 1979 - Minnesota 1980 - California 1981 - Calgary 1982 - St. Louis 1983 - Chicago 1984 - St. Louis 1985 - Pittsburgh 1986 - St. Louis 1987 - St. Louis 1988 - Milwaukee 1989 - Milwaukee 1990 - Long Island 1991 - St. Louis 1992 - Montreal 1993 - Boston 1994 - Chicago 1995 - Montreal 1996 - Minnesota 1997 - New York 1998 - Minnesota 1999 - Montreal 2000 - Kansas City 2001 - Philadelphia 2002 - Seattle 2003 - Toronto Here are the uniforms for the 1939-40 season. The template is a modified version of one I found online and will be updated as the series moves along. I wanted to keep the early logos very simple so I mostly used letters & clipart, although I created some (Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia) from scratch. logos will become more original in the future. Standings: 1. Hamilton 2. Detroit 3. Toronto 4. Chicago 5. Montreal 6. Boston 7. Philadelphia 8. Windsor 9. New York For two decades, pro hockey was played in three major leagues; the Southern Ontario Hockey League, the American Professional Hockey Association, and the Quebec Hockey League. After years of fighting between the two leagues it was decided to create a new league made up of the top teams from each league and the Professional Hockey League (PHL) was formed with former Toronto Racers owner Henry Lewis elected as league president. The Hamilton Kings dominated the regular season on a 30-goal effort from 10-year veteran Johnny Williams. The New York Civics finished last place despite a big rookie season from 16-year-old Sam "Skippy" Cleveland. The Toronto Racers caught fire in the playoffs, defeating Chicago before pulling off a huge upset over the rival Kings in the semifinals to face the Montreal Royale in the finals. In the best-of-5 final, Montreal took a 2-0 series lead before the Racers stormed back to win the championship with winger Wally Girard scoring the winner in game 5.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 2003 Playoffs Round 1 Eastern Conference Philadelphia (1) vs Miami (8) The defending Eastern Conference Champions met the 2003 Eastern Conference regular season champs in what many hoped would be one of the best series in the playoffs. The Redshirts outscored the Stingrays 4-0 in the first two games to take a 2-0 series lead before the Rays finally solved Pierre Noel, eking out two overtime wins to tie the series 2-2. Jared Baxter would be the hero in games five and six as Philadelphia advanced in six games. Toronto (2) vs Detroit (7) In one of the most unusual series in PHL history, the Racers and Mustangs skated to overtime in each of the four games. Joe Murdock had the winner in both the first two games at Queen Elizabeth Arena to give Toronto a 2-0 lead. In game three in Detroit, the Mustangs gave up a 2-0 lead late in the third as the Racers sent it to overtime once again, where this time veteran Jason Luna won it to put Detroit on the ropes. In game four, it was captain Randy Fernandez who finally completed the sweep for the Racers in a series that was much closer than it appeared. Atlanta (3) vs Montreal (6) After clinching their first-ever playoff spot in only their second season, the Copperheads were full of confidence entering their series with Montreal. However the Royale put a damper on Atlanta right away with a 3-0 win in game one. The Royale then won the next two to lead the series 3-0, but the Copperheads salvaged the series with a big 4-2 victory, the first post-season win in franchise history, thanks to a hat-trick from rookie Jason Ferland. In Atlanta two nights later, the Copperheads’ run finally came to an end, but the Atlanta crowd gave their team a standing ovation as they left the ice. Boston (4) vs Long Island (5) It had been eleven years since the last time the once-vicious Boston/Long Island rivalry took place in the post-season. Entering the first round of the 2003 playoffs, only the Concorde’s backup goaltender Geoff Larter had appeared in that last series in 1992. It would not take long for the two teams to rediscover their mutual hatred. The teams split the first four games and it game three, a big hit from Long Island’s Riley Gardiner on Boston’s Mikael Larsson resulted in a fight-filled third period which spilled over into game four, where the two captains, Scott Rose and Ryan Shelton squared off to the delight of the Long Island crowd. The Bulldogs went on to win in overtime as Rose completed a “George Allen Hat-trick” of a goal, an assist and a fight. Boston ultimately won the series in six games. Western Conference Dallas (1) vs Edmonton (8) Edmonton made their first playoff appearance in six seasons while Dallas entered the playoffs for the first time as a true contender. The Northern Lights, led by Super Rookie Kris Nazarenko, stunned the Desperados 4-2 in the opener, but Dallas bounced back to take a 2-1 series lead by game three. Edmonton tied the series in game four to set up a pivotal game five in Texas, where AJ Vernon gave Nazarenko all he could handle physically while earning two points in a Dallas win. The Northern Lights forced a seventh game where they finally ran out of gas, as Dallas took the series with a 5-1 victory. Minnesota (2) vs Kansas City (7) After dominating the Western Conference around the turn of the century, the Lumberjacks and Twisters both found themselves struggling to regain their status as top contenders as the 2000s progressed. After a tough season in which they barely made the playoffs, the Twisters stunned the Lumberjacks when they jumped to a 3-1 series lead. The ‘Jacks salvaged the series in game five, but it was too little too late, as the Twisters advanced with a 3-0 win in game six. Seattle (3) vs Vancouver (6) In a matchup PHL fans had been waiting for since the 1970s, Pacific Northwest rivals Vancouver and Seattle finally faced off in the playoffs. The teams skated to a tie in the first four games, then things got out of hand. During the regular season, Vancouver’s Jonathan Adams had avoided a suspension after a nasty hit on Seattle’s Olli Heikkinen. With game five already clinched by Seattle, the Wolves took matters into their own hands. Scott Lindsay challenged Adams to a fight, then went after Vancouver forward Andrei Yegorov with a punch to the face, which immediately drew a crowd. In all, over 80 minutes in penalties were handed out in the final seven minutes of play. Lindsay was suspended for game six and the Bighorns won another slugfest 3-0, but in game seven, the Wolves regained their composure and discipline in time to take the series in game seven with a 4-1 win. Chicago (4) vs Milwaukee (5) After pulling themselves out of a late-season slump, the Shamrocks used the momentum to immediately take a 2-0 series lead against their northern rivals. But Milwaukee came storming back, as the offensively challenged Choppers relied heavily on the play of goaltender Matt Darwin to tie the series. In game five, Chicago’s offense was too much, as Jonathan Wheatley had two goals including the OT winner in a 3-2 win. The Shamrocks finished the Choppers with a 3-1 win in game six to advance. Round 2 Eastern Conference Philadelphia vs Montreal The Philadelphia Redshirts entered the 2003 playoffs heavily favoured to win the Eastern Conference and as a popular pick to take their second Lewis Cup. Meanwhile, the Montreal Royale were seen as a team in transition, now two years removed from the retirement of legend Vincent Ducharme. Embracing their underdog status, Montreal unexpectedly dominated their “original eight” rivals in the first two games, then took games four and five in overtime at home to complete the upset. “It was a fun series” said Royale forward Aaron Duplacy, I think this team has a lot of confidence after that one.” Toronto vs Boston The Boston Bulldogs rebuild appeared to finally be over after advancing to the second round for the second straight year, but the Joe Murdock show awaited them in the second round. After scoring two OT winners in round one against Detroit, Murdock exploded for seven goals including a pair of two-goal performances in a six-game victory over the Bulldogs. There was some controversy after an 8-2 Boston blowout in game five, however. Head coach Rex Hull pulled goaltender Jake Borman after allowing six goals in favour of Jussi Sykko, to which Borman responded by destroying a stick rack in the hallway. Despite speculation that Sykko might start game six, Hull went with Borman, who stopped 42 shots for a shutout. “Jake’s a competitor” said Hull. “He was angrier than anyone about his performance in game five, I had no hesitation putting him back in.” Western Conference Dallas vs Kansas City The Dallas Desperados may have been the best team in the Western Conference during the regular season, but seemed a little tired after a tough 7-game battle with Edmonton. Dallas soon found themselves down 2-1 to Kansas City, before a two-day break due to a concert at KC Sportsplex gave them an opportunity to recharge. The Desperados responded with a pair of wins to lead the series, but disaster struck at the end of game five, when goaltender Alexei Rolonov was injured, forcing backup Jimmy Goren into the net for game six. The Twisters, benefiting from Brett Delaney’s two-goal night forced game seven back in Dallas, where Goren was solid in the net for the home team. Late in the third period, a goal from Shawn Marchinski gave Dallas the lead, and ultimately the win as the Desperados advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their history. Seattle vs Chicago The Chicago Shamrocks seemed to be well past their late-season struggles in their six-game victory over Milwaukee, but the real test would come in the second round, where they faced the defending champion Seattle Grey Wolves. To the surprise of the entire hockey world, Chicago found themselves up 3-1 after four games. Seattle would force a game six, then took a 2-0 lead in game six before the Shamrocks stormed back to win 4-2 to advance to the Western Conference Finals. Conference Finals Toronto vs Montreal Ever since the PHL began in 1939, Toronto and Montreal battled for the title of “Canada’s Team”. The two rivals met in the first-ever league final in 1940. Toronto won the series that year and dominated the rivalry early on. However, the arrival of Vincent Ducharme in Montreal in the 1980s gave Montreal the edge as they took their turn as the most popular team in the country. By 2003, Ducharme had been retired for two years and a new generational talent was emerging in Southern Ontario. Joe Murdock continued to tear through the playoffs, opening the Conference final series with Montreal with a hat-trick, then scored twice again in game three as the two teams entered game five tied 2-2. Jake Borman stood tall for the Racers in game five, earning a shutout to give the Racers an opportunity to close the series out in Montreal. Game six was close, with both teams exchanging leads until overtime, where Andrew Cox proved to be the hero for Toronto, sending them to the Lewis Cup Finals for the first time since 1979. Dallas vs Chicago While the Western Conference Final was packed with historical undertones, the West final may have been the most thrilling series in PHL history. The Chicago Shamrocks, who had been solid throughout the spring, came out flat early on against the Dallas Desperados. Dallas jumped to a commanding 3-0 series lead and the hockey world immediately began preparing for a Lewis Cup Final featuring the Desperados. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram even ran an article speculating on whether the Desperados would face Montreal or Toronto in the next series while analyzing their chances against both. Game four was supposed to be a formality, especially with Dallas up 3-2 with nine seconds left, until Gustav Mattsen tied it, then Martin Vannier won it just 19 seconds into OT. Confident that they would still take the series at home, the Desperados forgot to show up for game five, falling behind 3-0 in the first period. A comeback attempt fell short, as did a desperate attempt to salvage the series in game six. The Chicago Shamrocks had unbelievably brought the series to game seven. Back at TexOil Center for game seven, the Desperados were simply out of gas. With a 6-0 victory, the Shamrocks had pulled off the impossible, becoming the first team in professional sport to win a best-of-seven series after trailing 3-0. “You have to give them credit” said Desperados head coach Willy Rowe. “I think we learned a tough lesson, don’t forget to finish the series before celebrating.”
  16. It seems that way so far. Of course it's no guarantee either. They could also be the Panthers of this universe, but time will tell. They do have some very solid young players. And yes, the Choppers/Shamrocks series should be one of the best in the playoffs. In general, I think the West has the best matchups. I think you're right. Edmonton is building on size and speed. Nazarenko dominated his rookie year primarily on his ability to overpower opponents. Dallas may prove to be just too much for the Northern Lights to handle physically this season. But Edmonton does have a very bright future. So far things seem to be going very well for Atlanta. Of course it helps that they had a very strong first draft. As for the Sound, at this point each time they miss the post-season they are getting closer to disaster. It doesn't look good for hockey in New Orleans beyond the 2000s. I think I said PHL Hockey 94 was the first true "classic" game. I haven't really thought about who developed it though. I would probably like to use fictional gaming companies so if you or anyone else has any suggestions for game developers, maybe I can come up with a list of cover athletes and features from each game. I think that would be a fun thing to add for sure.
  17. 2002-03 Regular Season After an eventful off-season, the PHL saw a few major shifts in power in the 2002-03 season. The Edmonton Northern Lights jumped from the basement to the eighth in the west and their first playoff appearance since 1997. Just as predicted, rookie phenom Kris Nazarenko took the league by storm. Nazarenko used his 219-pound frame to power his way to 52 goals and 111 total points to become the first rookie to win the Cleveland Cup as top scorer since the man the trophy was named after did it in 1939-40. Along with Nazarenko, Ilya Rusakivich finally enjoyed a break out season, scoring 42 goals of his own. Another big story out west was the Dallas Desperados, who finished first overall in the league in only their ninth season. The Desperados were one of the most difficult teams to play against, leading the league by a long shot in penalty minutes with tough young power forward AJ Vernon leading the way with 339, coupled with 32 goals. Dallas battled Chicago all season for the Central Division title, as the Shamrocks benefited from the strong play of another talented rookie, Jonathan Wheatley. The teams traded the top spot in the conference back and forth until a late-season losing skid in Chicago allowed the Desperados to jump ahead and take first overall. The defending champion Seattle Grey Wolves once again took the Pacific Division with the help of a new addition at the trade deadline. The Wolves acquired veteran Scott Lindsay from the Pittsburgh Stingers in exchange for Scott Sherwood and prospect Roman Novatny. Lindsay brought grit and experience to the Wolves as they prepared to try to defend their title. “It’s tough to leave Pittsburgh, this place has become home to myself, my wife and my kids” said an emotional Lindsay. “This is an opportunity, we have a chance to do something really special in Seattle.” The Wolves also got an extra shot of motivation at the end of the regular season when team captain and 21-year veteran Jason Radford announced he would retire after the playoffs. In the East, the Redshirts once again ruled the Conference, but all the attention was on the big turnaround in Toronto, where the Racers returned to the top thanks largely to star forward Joe Murdock and new head coach Rex Hull. Murdock became the second player of the year to break 50 goals with 51 and battled Kris Nazarenko all year for the scoring title. Meanwhile, Randy Fernandez enjoyed his best season in years, leading all defensemen in plus/minus thanks to a new focus on defense led by Hull, who claimed coach of the year honours. “He’s really made a difference in our locker room” said Fernandez. “Everyone is buying in and the game is really fun again.” While the Redshirts and Racers dominated, the defending conference champs from Miami battled the New York Civics and New Orleans Sound for the final playoff spot. New Orleans held it for most of the season, while New York and Miami struggled, until a mid-season surge for the Stingrays bumped the Sound and the Civics out. For New York, a team built to win, the failure to reach the post-season was a huge disappointment, but there was still hope for the Sound. Washington once again plummeted to the bottom of the standings, giving way to a tight battle for the South Division. Miami, New Orleans, and the surprise of the year, Atlanta, all battled for the third seed. The Copperheads, spurred by a big rookie year from Jason Ferland, defeated the Sound in the final game of the season, eliminating New Orleans from playoff contention and putting themselves in the playoffs with the division title in only their second season. “We’re a confident team” said captain Alyn Bryant. “We’ve surprised a lot of people this season and I believe we have a few more surprises in store.” Standings Playoff Tree
  18. I used to do this years ago with NHL 2004 I believe. Unfortunately I don't really have the proper computer for it anymore but it was a lot of fun. Haha that would be cool. The Wizards are considering some changes soon so you never know... The biggest one is New Orleans. The Sound had a breakout year last year but still lost money. They need to keep moving forward on and off the ice or they will soon be playing somewhere else. Apologies for the long wait again, I have finished the '02-03 regular season and was ready to post but decided to wait until I get back from vacation Sunday night so we wouldn't have to wait five days between the season and playoffs. It was an interesting season for sure with big turnarounds for a few teams. It should be up very soon, thanks for your patience everybody!
  19. That's probably what I would do. I would probably post games and highlights and stuff. I used to spend hours on teambuilder. NBA's team creator is incredible, I've just never liked basketball video games that much. I really wish the NHL series could incorporate something like that. The only bad thing about it is I would never get anything important done There actually is a pretty decent team creator in NHL 18, I've actually got a full league of custom teams that I play with and it's fun. The arena options are amazing now. I agree though, the one thing that's missing is a logo upload option. Sometime I'll post my NHL 18 teams, I'm curious to hear feedback about them now.
  20. The seasons? I use Excel and a dice roller function on this site: https://www.random.org/dice/. I use the same site for other things too, such as the draft lottery. Most likely I'll simulate seasons in real time, each game at a time. However I've also heard rumors that EA Sports may incorporate some kind of logo upload to the NHL series in the future. It would be pretty cool to actually be able to play PHL games and show screenshots. We'll see what happens. I use a few different random name generators mainly for last names. Typically I pick first names myself based on what names were common during a specific era (like Dave and Bobby for the 60s and 70s, or Chris and Brad for the 90s), though I get ideas from the generators for those as well. Random occurrences are events during a season that are not expected or "supposed" to happen that can affect how a team fares, such as injuries or perhaps a breakout year for an unlikely player. There is a list with a number next to each event and if I roll that number, there are instructions to either add or subtract wins based on the corresponding event. For example, an injury to a star player means I roll the dice again and subtract the resulting number from the team's wins. A breakout year for a depth player means the opposite. This is what happened for Miami with Eric Moon last year. I rolled a "depth player breakout" that ended up giving the Stingrays 11 extra wins. Who I pick to be that "depth player" for the story is completely my choice and is not random, but I try to make it a realistic pick.
  21. Hey guys, I apologize for my absence this week. I've begun simulating the 2002-03 season so that should be ready hopefully late this weekend or early next week. In the meantime, as requested I've done a write-up on how the simulation process works on the blog. I've even shared screenshots of parts of the spreadsheet I use. It may or may not make much sense but hopefully it explains the basics. https://phlnetwork.blogspot.ca/p/how-it-works.html
  22. 2002 Uniform Updates 2002 saw very little in the way of uniform and logo changes. At the start of training camp, the Quebec Nationale surprised their fans with the reveal of a new home and away uniform set, featuring a return to more classic striping. All the logos remained intact from the look introduced in 1993 as did the black alternate jersey. The team would wear the '93-'02 uniforms throughout the pre-season before officially changing to the new design just in time for the season opener. In other news, the Edmonton Northern Lights introduced a new era in the team's history with a new alternate logo, which would replace the Alberta map logos worn on the shoulders, while the Oakland Nuggets and Milwaukee Choppers both introduced new third jerseys. Oakland's new alternate is gold with the team name spelled diagonally down the front, while Milwaukee's uniforms are Silver with the team name in a stylized font on the front, and a new front-view version of the motorcycle logo on the shoulders.
  23. I may change that, partly because I'm working on filling out the Canadian junior league and I think I'd rather have a team in PEI in that league. Newfoundland could be an option too. McNair is currently seen as the future of that franchise, despite that future still being up in the air. He likely wants to be a major impact player in this league and the long-term contract is reflective of that. I wasn't really planning on it but I may do some primary logos at least if there is enough demand for it.
  24. Yes they have, Though Washer is still a star, he was expendable because Chad Cohen has developed into a more than capable starter and Washer was unlikely to resign next year anyway. This year the 'Dogs had a good draft. Simpkins is the top American forward in this draft and McPherson is a tough, hard-nosed defenseman who should fit in very well in Boston.
  25. Done. I replaced Sacramento with the much more interesting Tiger Sharks. If anyone else has ideas for minor league teams, I can make changes pretty easily.