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Everything posted by hawkfan89

  1. 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: 1998 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 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.
  2. Technically, Montreal is older, but there is debate about whether their first decade counts as the team was associated with McGill University and did not play as an independent hockey club until 1911.
  3. Before I finish simulating the next season, there's a logo I forgot to unveil. The Philadelphia Redshirts are celebrating their centennial anniversary this season. Here's the logo, I've posted a story with it on the blog: Redshirts Prepare For Centennial Celebration
  4. Boston may suffer a bit for a few years. Nokavich could prove to be their new franchise player and Scott Rose and Mikael Larsson are solid young players as well. What they need to do now is rebuild their defense. Steve Mathis is currently their top defenseman but after him it's pretty thin. It will take a few years but Boston will be back. Oakland will undergo a rebrand, but I'm not sure yet if it will happen right away. I'm not entirely satisfied with the new logo, but the uniforms and new colour scheme look good. Not sure how good their chances are but I felt they should get a shot since they are a four-sport town in real life. Could give some cool naming options too. I actually did start a list of awards a while back but never really finished it. Here's what I had and I will add to it and maybe include award winners each season. League MVP: Ridley Memorial Trophy, named after Ben Ridley, a former star defenseman who was killed while serving in WW2. Top Goaltender: Whyte Trophy, named after James Whyte, the former Buffalo goaltender who many believe could've become the greatest of all-time. Scoring Champion: Cleveland Cup. The trophy went unnamed until 1975 when it was named after the late Skippy Cleveland, the all-time leading PHL scorer at the time. Top Defenseman: Cooper Award, named after Tommy Cooper, one of the greatest defenseman in league history who was also the first black player in PHL history. I haven't come up with a name for the playoff MVP yet or any other awards. I'll see what I can do and I am also open to suggestions for names.
  5. 1998 Off-Season 1998 Entry Draft The 1998 Entry Draft was historical for a few reasons. Fewer Canadians were selected in the first round than ever before in the PHL draft. Only nine were picked, while Americans outnumbered their Northern neighbors in the first round for the first time ever. Mikael Malmberg was selected first overall out of the Swedish Elite League. Malmberg, a late 1979 birthday, was able to play pro a year early. Big forward Kyle Mathis went second to Edmonton, his hometown team, while Plattsburgh, NY native and former high school star Darren Reid was selected third by New Orleans. Other interesting pics included Anders Almgren, whose father was one of the greatest coaches in Swedish Elite league history, and goaltender Mark Davis, selected 26th by Toronto. Davis had suffered two broken legs at age 13 and was told he would never play competitive sports again. After two years of intense rehab, Davis returned in time to dominate in high school, then play a year in the NCAA, where he shot up the draft rankings. 1. DEN – Mikael Malmberg, D, SWE 2. EDM – Kyle Mathis, F, CAN 3. NOS – Darren Reid, F, USA 4. BOS – Igor Nokavich, D, RUS 5. DAL – Shawn Marchinski, F, CAN 6. MIL – Riko Nokalainen, F, FIN 7. VAN – Pascal Lemaire, F, CAN 8. CGY – Justin Timmins, F, CAN 9. LI – Trevor Keller, F, USA 10. CHI (From MIA) – Alan Morrow, D, USA 11. QUE – Todd McDonald, F, CAN 12. DET – Kevin Smith, D, USA 13. KC – Paul Hrlac, F, CZE 14. STL – Anders Almgren, F, SWE 15. PHI – Brett Zink, D, CAN 16. WPG – Joni Kita, F, FIN 17. CAR – Chris May, D, CAN 18. SEA – Sergei Kruev, F, RUS 19. PIT – Adam Tanzer, F, GER 20. CLE – Ryan Hardy, G, USA 21. LA – Patrick Gaines, F, USA 22. MTL – Jean Pierre Cote, D, CAN 23. WSH – Luke Moyer, D, CAN 24. MIN – Jozef Banik, F, SVK 25. CAL – Ted Brown, D, USA 26. TOR – Mark Davis, G, USA 27. NYC – Alexei Bobarov, F, RUS 28. CHI – Jared Young, F, USA Notable Retirements: Niklas Ekberg, F, STL, 1979-1998 Though he was largely overshadowed by David Appleby and Grant Millen, Ekberg still played an important depth role in the St. Louis dynasty of the 1980s, even scoring the winning goals in the 1984 and 86 finals. After other key parts of the dynasty left during the 1990s, Ekberg remained in St. Louis for the remainder of his career, seriving as an important leader and mentor to the younger players on the team. Jakob Martensson, G, PIT, DEN, 1982-1998 Martensson backstopped one of the more powerful franchises through the 1980s. The Pittsburgh Stingers appeared in four Lewis Cup finals through the decade and won it all in 1985 with Martensson playing an important role each time. In 1996, Martensson left Pittsburgh and signed with the Denver Bulls, where he would finish his career. Magnus Swedberg, F, PHI, TOR, KC, 1982-1998 One of the most talented European players in PHL history, Magnus Swedberg played a big role on all three teams he played for. Swedberg helped Philadelphia to a Lewis Cup finals appearance in 1989, but never returned to the championship, playing nine more seasons in Toronto and Kansas City before retiring. Notable Trades Chicago trades D Theo Sprouse to Miami in exchange for 1st round pick. The Shamrocks make the first in a slew of cap-related trades over the summer. Sprouse’s departure gets Chicago under the new salary cap while the Stingrays hope his arrival in Florida will mean a return to the playoffs. Washington trades F Maxime Trepanier to Calgary in exchange for D Ben Parsons. Parsons’ entry-level cap hit is more manageable for the Generals than Trepanier’s $2 Million. Trepanier will give the Wranglers some much-needed depth. Los Angeles trades F Gustav Mattsen to Philadelphia in exchange for F Owen Betts. In another cap move, the Wizards are forced to part ways with one of their star forwards. Betts adds size and grit to the LA offense, while Mattsen brings speed and a natural scoring ability to Philly. Seattle trades D Olle Ragnarsson to Dallas in exchange for D Luke Ferguson. In a last-minute move to get under the cap, the Wolves move Ragnarsson to Dallas at the conclusion of the pre-season. Ragnarsson is expected to significantly improve the Desperadoes defense. Key Free Agents AJ Vernon signs new 10-year deal with Dallas worth $8 Million/year. Igor Zharkov signs new 6-year deal with Washington worth $7 Million/year. AJ Devries signs new 12-year deal with Vancouver worth $6 Million/year. Jeremy Kitchen (NYC) signs 4-year deal with Kansas City worth $5 Million/year. The Twisters replace Magnus Swedberg with star veteran Kitchen, who was forced out of New York when the Civics couldn’t afford to re-sign him. Ali Leino (CAL) signs 7-year deal with Calgary worth $5 Million/year. The Wranglers continue to improve their roster with the addition of Leino, who will be looked at as a leader on the Calgary blueline. Scott Whitmore (TOR) signs 3-year deal with Washington worth $4 Million/year. Whitmore is released by the Racers, and will now face immense pressure in Washington after the Generals had to move key pieces to fit Whitmore under the cap. News The biggest news item in 1998 was the announcement of six cities applying for expansion. Houston, Phoenix, Portland, Atlanta, Tampa, and Baltimore would all be reviewed by an expansion committee beginning in the summer of 1999. Byrd stated that preferably, one western city and one eastern city would be chosen. Among the rejected cities were Las Vegas, San Antonio, Anaheim, Orlando, Memphis, Newark, and Ottawa, where a new arena will finally be built in 2002. Tampa expressed interest at the last minute but submitted a bid that was too impressive for Byrd to turn down. “I believe any of these six markets would serve our league well” said Byrd. “We’ll let the expansion committee decide it from here.” In California the Nuggets finally secured a new arena in the Bay area. The team announced it would be relocating to Oakland in time for the 2000-01 season. The city of Oakland agreed to pay for 60 percent of the construction costs with several conditions, most notably that the team be renamed the Oakland Nuggets. In other arena news two teams announced plans for new buildings. Los Angeles Wizards President Stuart Holly announced plans for a new arena to be built across the parking lot from Inglewood Colosseum. The arena would open in the spring of 2001 with the Wizards moving in in time for the 2001-02 season. The St. Louis Spirits also secured financing for a new arena with the hope it would be built in time for 2001-02. When the 1998-99 schedule was released, the league announced six regular season games to take place in Europe early in the regular season. The Toronto Racers and Chicago Shamrocks would play two games in Moscow, the Montreal Royale would play the New York Civics twice in Stockholm, and the Los Angeles Wizards and Minnesota Lumberjacks would play two games in Prague. “These games will play a big role in expanding our global footprint” said commissioner Darryl Byrd. There was also sad news out of Minnesota, as Bobby Sorel, the legendary Lumberjacks goaltender, was diagnosed with Cancer. In July, doctors determined that Sorel was terminally ill and likely had less than two years to live. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Bobby and his family during this time. Bobby has meant a lot to this organization and this community over the years.” said Lumberjacks owner Gil McCarthy. Sorel stated that he would continue as the team’s goaltending coach as long as he could.
  6. Interesting you should ask, 1998-99 will be the first time that the PHL will play games in Europe. Expansion outside of North America is unlikely for at least the next 20 years though.
  7. Thanks man! I really do appreciate that, especially since one of the goals of this project was to improve my skills. I think the accountability that comes with posting on these boards has definitely helped me raise my standards. I'm glad you're enjoying my work! With the realignment, I really wanted to make the Pacific Division a truly "Pacific" division, so the Alberta teams joined the North Division. It's still a little awkward with Denver in there but depending on who gets the expansion team in the west, Denver could move back to the central. The main reason I did not name the South Division the "Southeast" Division was because of New Orleans. The Sound would probably make more sense in the Central Division, but with at least one of the expansion teams likely headed to the Western Conference, It will probably work better to keep them in the East for now.
  8. 1998 Realignment In the summer of 1998, the PHL finally underwent a divisional realignment to properly accommodate franchise relocation and expansion through 1990s as well as future expansion. In the new configuration, each conference will now feature three divisions. Four divisions will include five teams while two will include four teams. The Western Conference will feature the North Division, Pacific Division, and Central Division, while the Eastern Conference will feature the Northeast Division, the Atlantic Division, and the South Division.
  9. Yes, there will be some more tertiary marks coming. Typically they're introduced when a new alternate comes out.
  10. I completely forgot about the caveman thing. Dang it now I miss the Beavers! Thanks guys! I think the black works well for now. I can see them keeping at least some black permanently even when they eventually return to a more classic look.
  11. 2001-02 is the target season for the two new teams to start. The bids will be announced this off-season, the expansion committee will take place in the summer of 1999, the cities will likely be announced just prior to the 1999-00 season. That will give the winning cities two years to come up with names and logos. Also, realignment will happen this off-season. I've already settled on the new divisions, I just need to finish the graphic.
  12. Haha that was a last-minute addition after all the talk of them being this league's Thrashers. We'll see what happens, these next two or three seasons will be critical for this team.
  13. Grey Wolves, Twisters Unveil New Uniforms Since taking over as General Manager of the Seattle Grey Wolves in 1991, Bobby Vail had always wanted to update the team's look. The opportunity finally came in 1998 as Seattle unveiled a new logo and new uniforms for the first time in franchise history. The new logo features a snarling wolf while the uniforms retain the Grey and Green color scheme with Black added. "The new look is definitely more aggressive and intimidating, I think it suits the group we have very well" said Vail. Kansas City also updated their uniforms as part of their tenth anniversary celebration. The logo remains similar to the original with the colors rearranged and the text removed. The uniforms have been updated to feature a unique striping pattern on each shoulder meant to resemble a tornado. The Twisters also unveiled a tenth anniversary logo, which will be worn on the front corner of the jersey. The Miami Stingrays also unveiled their tenth anniversary logo, which will also be worn on the front corner of the uniform. Finally, three more teams unveiled third jerseys for the 1998-99. The Toronto Racers, Dallas Desperadoes, and Edmonton Northern Lights all added alternate uniforms. Meanwhile, the California Nuggets retired their black road uniforms, making their popular teal alternates the new road jerseys.
  14. The Wolves are another team that will more than likely go back to the classic look eventually, probably around the early 2010s. Thanks man! the 90s have been one of my favorite decades to design uniforms for. I'm glad you're enjoying the series!
  15. Dallas is not doing great financially, but the difference is their current owner, Clint Love, is one of the wealthiest men in the United States so he can basically keep the team afloat on his own. Whether or not he'll always want to is the big question. Right now he is committed to making it work in Dallas but they'll need to make a push for the playoffs very soon. I'm fairly happy with Seattle's new look. The colours will be mostly the same with black added. Besides the colours though it will be a completely different look. KC is only making slight changes to the logo and getting updated jerseys in part to mark their 10th anniversary. Colours will remain the same except for a larger emphasis on blue. The basic look won't be all that different though.
  16. I think realignment will come right after the Grey Wolves and Twisters unveil their new uniforms, just before the off-season post. This way I can use Seattle's new logo in the graphic. There will be more on expansion in the off-season news including an updated list of cities. Minnesota has a very good chance to really become the next great dynasty. Their core will be in their prime for at least another five to seven years (Crowley is still only 30, Vana is only 28), and, unlike some other top-tier teams, like Chicago and New York, the Jacks' payroll is relatively low so they won't have to make too many adjustments to get under the cap.
  17. I agree, I like the red helmet. I remember having this problem in the old Madden games, the logos were so simple with only two or three colours and didn't always have outlines so they would bleed into the helmet. I was normally not a fan of white helmets so I'd always have to choose what looked better.
  18. 1998 Lewis Cup Finals Deep into June, 1998, the Lewis Cup Finals were set to begin later than ever before. The Minnesota Lumberjacks were making their third appearance of the decade, while the Generals appeared in their first final since making it to two consecutive finals in 1980 and ’81. Game one took place on June 16 at JFK Arena. Tomas Axelsson opened the scoring for Washington before Minnesota scored three in the second period and held on for a 3-1 win to steal home ice advantage. In game two, it was Washington who exploded offensively with four goals from Axelsson, Igor Zharkov, Rob Wentzel, and Geoff Collier. The series was now tied heading to Minnesota. Game three was very close. The teams skated to a 3-3 tie and the game went into overtime. About two minutes into overtime, Geoff Collier took a penalty and Minnesota went on the powerplay. With the top unit of Crowley, Vana, and Greg Willis peppering the Generals with shots, Jake Borman had to play at the top of his game, meeting every challenge. After killing the penalty, the Generals began to make a push themselves. They would finally be rewarded when Rob Wentzel beat Christian Grayson to give Washington a 4-3 win and a 2-1 series lead. Game four would be the first-ever PHL game played in the summer and the Lumberjacks badly needed a win. “We know what we need to do, it’s just a matter of executing” said Jason Crowley. Crowley himself would step up in game four, scoring a goal and assisting on Pavel Vana’s winning goal as the Lumberjacks tied the series. Washington had an opportunity at home in game five to regain the series lead. It seemed like the momentum shifted when tough defenseman Dwayne Ingram caught star Lumberjacks forward Stanislav Zykov with his head down and laid him out with a devastating hit. Zykov laid on the ice for several minutes before being helped off. Washington then scored two goals just minutes later. Halfway through the game, Greg Willis challenged Ingram and fought him, shifting the momentum in Minnesota’s favour. Shortly after the fight, Pavel Vana scored two goals at the end of the second period. Two minutes into the third period, Vana scored again to complete the hat-trick. With the ‘Jacks leading 3-2, Washington pulled Borman. After Grayson made several big saves in the dying seconds, Brendan Marlo scored on the empty net to seal a 4-2 Lumberjacks win and give them an opportunity to win the Lewis Cup at home in game six. Prior to game six in Minnesota, the twin cities were buzzing with anticipation. The Lumberjacks were just one win away from winning another championship, but Washington had plans of their own. Game six would go on to be a classic. The Generals jumped to a 2-0 lead on goals from Maxime Trepanier and Brendan O’Connor. At the end of the first period, Vana scored to bring Minnesota to within one. Just three minutes into the second period, Crowley scored to tie the game, but the Generals were quick to respond, re-taking the lead on a goal from Igor Zharkov. It appeared that the series was destined to go to a seventh game, until Stanislav Zykov, who returned despite still feeling the effects of a concussion, scored to tie the game. Washington nearly took the lead again late in the third period, but Trepanier’s shot hit the post. The game went into overtime, where Christian Grayson and Jake Borman both played very well, until finally, early in the second OT, Pavel Vana beat Borman to end the game. Vana threw his gloves off as the Minnesota players spilled off the bench. The Lumberjacks were Lewis Cup Champions for the second time in three years. Vana, who had scored the first overtime Lewis Cup winner since 1984, was named playoff MVP. One of the most bizarre seasons in PHL history was over as the league entered a new era.
  19. 1998 Playoffs Just three days after clinching a playoff spot in dramatic fashion, the Philadelphia Redshirts faced the New York Civics in the first round. Riding on the momentum of the regular season, the Redshirts managed to bring the Civics to a 2-2 tie after dropping the first two games on the road. In a pivotal game five, Jared Baxter’s late-third period goal eventually proved to be the winner in a 4-2 victory and Philadelphia had a chance to upset the defending champions in six games. In game six, Aaron Duplacy scored twice as the Civics forced game seven with a 5-2 win. In game seven, back at Broadway House, the game went into overtime, where Nathan Bowman and Jason Wyley both played spectacularly in net. Nearing the end of the first overtime, Jeremy Kitchen scored to give the Civics the win and send them to the second round. Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, The Toronto Racers defeated the Carolina Raiders in six games, Washington eliminated Pittsburgh for the third straight year, while the Montreal Royale never really allowed the Cleveland Cosmos into the series, wining in five games. Out west, The Los Angeles Wizards faced a scrappy Seattle Grey Wolves team on the rise. Seattle won the first game, with Drake Klausen scoring the winner in OT. LA tied it before Seattle moved ahead with a win at home. Suddenly feeling desperate, the Wizards eked out a win in game four. The series was now tied 2-2. In Los Angeles for game five, the Grey Wolves played a strong road game, with 37-year-old Craig Bush proving to be the hero, scoring the winner early in the third period. Facing elimination in game six, the Wizards were in desperation mode. Gustav Mattsen scored twice in a 4-3 win to force game seven back home at Inglewood Coliseum. Game seven would be a classic. Both Jim Cochran for LA and Sean Harrington for Seattle stood on their heads in a 0-0 tie that went into overtime with no score. After nearly five periods with no scoring, Drake Klausen ended the game and the upset for Seattle. In other Western Conference action, Minnesota swept their expansion cousins, the Winnipeg Pioneers, while California spoiled the St. Louis Spirits’ return to the post-season in five games. The Chicago Shamrocks, led by the new-look Russian Connection Line with Sergei Krayev taking the place of Alexander Orlov, jumped to a 2-0 series lead over Kansas City, only to lose the next four as the Twisters redeemed themselves after a tough regular season and advanced to the second round. Two of the top teams in the league would clash in the second round as the New York Civics met the Montreal Royale. The series was evenly matched, as the teams skated to a 2-2 series tie after the first four games. In game five, the Royale completely fell apart late in the third period of a 0-0 game. Lamar Jackson, Tobias Krause, and Darian Higgins all scored within seven minutes in what would be a 3-0 win for the Civics. Jonathan Bouret would bounce back in game six with the Royale facing elimination, stopping 39 shots in a 4-2 Montreal win to force game seven. In game seven, Vincent Ducharme turned in one of his famous clutch performances, scoring two goals and two assists as Montreal won the game 5-3 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the west, California would face Kansas City for the third straight year in the playoffs. The Twisters had been the monkey on the Nuggets backs since 1996, knocking them out of the playoffs in the first round the previous two years. The Nuggets got off to a bad start, going down 2-1 in the series, then 3-2. Once again, the Twisters were on the brink of ending the Nuggets’ season. Game six was in Kansas City, where the Twisters came out strong, opening the scoring, then peppering Bradley Pope with shots, but the 29-year-old was up to the challenge. Pope stopped 42 shots while Kevin Hoyle and Teppo Saari each scored in a 2-1 win to force a seventh game. In game seven, the teams were tied 2-2 entering the third period, when Ryan Lockhart scored to break the tie and give California the lead. Pope would turn in another strong performance as the Nuggets held on to win and finally eliminate the Twisters and advance to the Western Conference Finals. “It’s a relief to finally reach this point” said Hoyle. “We still have a few steps to go.” In other second-round action, Jason Crowley scored six goals in five games as Minnesota ended Seattle’s run in five games, while Washington continued to roll, beating the Toronto Racers in six games. In the Western Conference Finals, the red-hot California Nuggets clashed with Jason Crowley and the Minnesota Lumberjacks. Minnesota appeared to be the better team, winning the first two games on the road. The Nuggets responded, winning two games in Minnesota to tie the series. After four games, the road team had won every game. Game five would finally break that trend when the Nuggets earned a 6-1 win to take a 3-2 series lead with an opportunity to advance to the Lewis Cup Finals for the first time since winning the title in 1980. In Minnesota for game six, California played hard, leading the game twice, but Pavel Vana and Greg Willis each scored to tie the game, before Vana scored again midway through the third period to put the ‘Jacks ahead. Ultimately, Minnesota hung on for a 4-2 win to force game seven. In the deciding game, Jason Crowley and Pavel Vana each scored to make it 2-0 while goaltender Christian Grayson closed the door on the Nuggets right through to the final minutes, when Ulf Linden scored to bring the game to within a goal. Grayson then had to stand tall as the Nuggets pressed hard for the tying goal. The Nuggets failed to score and Minnesota returned to the Lewis Cup Finals for the second time in three years. Meanwhile, the Montreal Royale found themselves down 2-0 against Washington. At home for games three and four, Vincent Ducharme continued his strong play again in game three, scoring twice in a 3-1 win. In game four, veteran Sylvain Landry scored the winner as the Royale tied the series. Washington, having given up the series lead, was determined not to let the opportunity slip away this time. “We need to step up our play in game five” said Rob Wentzel. The Generals would indeed step up their game. Maxime Trepanier beat Bouret just two minutes into overtime to give Washington a 3-2 win and a 3-2 series lead. Game six in Montreal was all Washington. Checked tightly by Dwayne Ingram and Justin Hill, Ducharme and the Montreal offence was completely shut down. Jake Borman earned a shutout as the Generals advanced to the Lewis Cup Finals for the first time since 1981.
  20. Thanks for the heads up on the standings graphic. And you'll be happy to know that the old Wizards logo (a more modern version) will return at some point, as will the original colours. I probably will do conference logos at some point. It should be easier to do that kind of stuff from now on because the rebrands every year will start slowing down now. I currently have just two teams slated for rebrands next season and so far just one fairly minor change for 1999. The league will undergo a major facelift sometime in the mid 2000s, at which point the entire league will switch to a new unifrom provider (similar to RBK Edge in 2007) which means I will be introducing a whole new template. There will probably be a new league logo at that time too so that might be a good time to introduce conference logos. Yeah, they had it coming though with such an aging roster in recent years. Time for some fresh legs, which they will get with a high pick this year. There will definitely be more on the effect of the lockout in the coming years, but basically the arc here is that what Garcia started with expansion, Byrd may have taken just a little too far. I won't say anything now but there is a twist coming with Byrd. As far as how the PHL is perceived in this universe, it's very similar to real life. The PHL is very popular here in Canada, Toronto and Montreal have never had problems selling out their buildings even during rebuilding years. In the States, I think it may even be more popular than in real life in some places. Boston and Chicago are two of the most successful teams in the league's history and both teams compete very well with the other sports for attention. New Orleans had a "honeymoon phase" at first but attendance dropped dramatically in '97-98, partly due to the lockout and partly due to a poor on-ice product. Also Dallas may be starting to turn into the Atlanta of this universe. They will need to find way into the playoffs soon as interest in the Desperadoes is already dwindling. New Orleans does have some promising young players, most notably Mike Bidden, they're just taking a while to really break out. I can see the Sound being similar to the Pittsburgh Stingers of the '70s, several last place finishes followed by a sudden division title. We'll see what happens. Honestly that wasn't a big surprise as the East is just so competitive. Luckily for them they're playing a team known for choking, so their chances for an upset are good. KC likely won't be swept, in fact they stand a very good chance of pulling off an upset. The Twisters do have everyone back for the playoffs so despite the 8th place finish, they'll be seen as legitimate Cup contenders. Also, it's especially weird creating a tenth anniversary logo for a team that was created 7 months ago haha.
  21. 1997-98 Regular Season As 1997 drew to a close, there was a growing concern among hockey fans and players that the 1997-98 PHL season might not happen at all. Games had been cancelled through October and November and by the time Christmas arrived, the season had yet to start. Negotiations had broken down early in December and no further talks were planned, forcing Darryl Byrd to cancel all games in December. With Byrd and PHPA president Brian Hunt unable to find common ground, others began to step in to try to hash out a deal. Deputy Commissioner John Cairns and Union Vice President Dave Mack began talks of their own, but the situation only became more heated. “It seems like they want to lose the season” said an irate Mack. “I don’t know what kind of point they want to make by cancelling games but it’s getting silly.” Byrd responded to Mack’s words “He’s making six million to play a game, I don’t think he’s qualified to talk about what’s silly.” As 1997 turned into 1998, there was still no deal. Games for the month of January were now cancelled and a deadline was finally set. If there was no agreement reached by January 20, the unthinkable would happen and the season would be cancelled. When January 19 arrived with no deal, Darryl Byrd announced a press conference to be held the following day at noon eastern time. It appeared that the 1997-98 season was dead. On the morning of the 20th, a statement came from the league that the press conference had been cancelled and that Byrd and Hunt were back in talks. Finally, at 3:00 AM, January 21, an exhausted and unshaven Byrd announced that a deal had been reached and the season was saved. Later in the day, the details of the deal were released. A salary cap of $45 Million per team would be implemented immediately, then be reduced to $40 Million in time for the 1998-99 season. In addition, entry-level deals were standardized at $700,00. In return for the cap, players could now become unrestricted free agents at age 25, while increases were made to their pensions and health insurance. One issue that was talked about at length was mandatory visors. In the wake of Sergei Krayev’s horrific injury the previous season, the league pushed hard to make visors a requirement. The PHPA ultimately rejected the idea, however, and the issue was put aside. The league also announced that it would expand to 30 teams by the 2001-02 season, and that there would be a league-wide division realignment in time for 1998-99 as well as a few rule changes that would be announced in the off-season. Ultimately, the lockout cost the league 588 games, over half of its schedule. It also brought about the end of a few star players’ careers, who decided to hang up the skates rather than wait out the lockout. Doug MacIntyre, F, LI, 1980-1997 The pride of Summerside, PEI, MacIntyre was a leader for the Concordes from the moment he first stepped on the ice in 1980. Playing alongside Stuart Burns throughout the 1980s and into the 90s, MacIntyre helped lead Long Island to the Lewis Cup Finals three times, including a win in 1990. Among the team’s all-time scoring leaders, only Burns ranks above MacIntyre. Jari Pukki, D, STL, CAL, BOS, 1978-1997 After serving as more of a role player in the Spirits’ dynasty, Pukki was traded to California in 1986, where he truly emerged as one of the league’s top offensive defensemen. Four years later, he was dealt to the Boston Bulldogs in exchange for Ricky Meyer in what would go down as one of the most lopsided deals in PHL history. While Meyer struggled to stay in the Nuggets’ lineup, Pukki put the Bulldogs over the top, playing a big role in their championship run in 1993.During the lockout, Pukki signed with a team in his hometown of Tampere, Finland, where he will finish his career. Joe Tyler, F, VAN, TOR, 1979-1997 Playing alongside Brett Townsend for 16 seasons in Vancouver, Joe Tyler proved to be one of the few bright spots on a struggling franchise. Tyler retires as the teams’ second leading scorer all time. In 1996, he signed with his hometown team, the Toronto Racers, where he played one year. After a ten-day training camp, the 1998 season finally got underway on February 3, 1998. The schedule would be 38 games with each team playing teams from their division four times and teams from the other division in their conference twice. There would be no intra-conference play. There were some surprises throughout the season, with the success of the teams largely hinging on how prepared they were for the unusual season. Edmonton, a team at the start of a major rebuild, stumbled out of the gate and ultimately won only eight games to finish last in the league and miss the playoffs for the first time since 1987. Defending Western Conference champions Kansas City also struggled, dropping to eighth place and barely making the playoffs by just one point after an injury-riddled season. While Chicago predictably took first place in the league, the team that finally emerged as a true contender in the West was the California Nuggets. Amid turmoil surrounding the future of the franchise and their arena, the Nuggets managed to win the Pacific Division for the first time since 1983, just barely edging out Los Angeles when they beat them on the final day of the regular season. Defenseman and team captain Kevin Hoyle played an enormous role in the team’s success. The 29-year-old played over 30 minutes a game throughout the year and became the first defenseman in franchise history to lead the team in scoring. Two Western Conference teams returned to the playoffs in 1998. The St. Louis Spirits returned to the post-season for the first time since 1993, while the Seattle Grey Wolves made it for the first time since 1991 thanks to breakout years from Randy McAllen and Scott Sherwood. The Milwaukee Choppers also came close to ending their post-season drought as Peter Lundholm won rookie-of-the year honors, while Brent Zahorsky scored 48 points. The Chops ultimately fell short, just two points behind eighth place. In the Eastern Conference, the defending Lewis Cup champion New York Civics came out strong, going undefeated through the month of February. By season’s end, the Civics had only lost seven games to take first place in the Eastern Conference. Aaron Duplacy enjoyed his best season yet, nearly winning the league scoring title with 59 points. To win the conference, New York had to fend off their division rivals Washington in a tight race as the Generals also enjoyed a strong season in which they only lost 11 games. Toronto once again took the Northeast Division after having to part with a few depth players to get under the new salary cap, while Montreal had to settle for fourth place despite a league-leading 61 points from Vincent Ducharme. Rookie Zdeno Kadlec also proved to be a pleasant surprise for the Royale. After being selected 21st in the draft, Kadlec scored 36 points and was nominated for rookie of the year. Cleveland continued to move up the standings, finishing fifth, while Boston, hit hard by the departure of key players over the off-season, dropped all the way to 13th, missing the playoffs for the first time since 1981. One of the more exciting storylines of the 1997-98 season featured a race between two original PHL teams who had both been absent from the playoffs in recent years. The Philadelphia Redshirts and Detroit Mustangs faced off against each other on April 29 in the second-last game of the year for both teams, with Detroit sitting two points ahead of the Redshirts. The Redshirts, who had been boosted by a big sophomore year from Jared Baxter, managed to win a dramatic game with just 20 seconds left in regulation. Entering the final day of the regular season on May 1, both teams had identical records while the season series was tied 1-1. Detroit held a very slight advantage with a goal differential of 21 compared to Philly’s 19. the Redshirts now needed to not only beat Pittsburgh, if Detroit beat Cleveland, they would need to beat the Stingers by at least four goals to get into the playoffs. Detroit had all the remaining tie-breakers to their advantage. Things did not get off to a good start for Philly as the Stingers jumped ahead early on a goal from Scott Lindsay. Midway through the second period, the Redshirts finally got on the board. Early in the third period, Baxter scored to give Philly the lead. Seven minutes later, Owen Betts made it 3-1. Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the Mustangs were wrapping up a 2-1 victory, meaning Philadelphia needed two more goals. They would get one from Brendan Carnes with six minutes to go in the game, before the team received word that Detroit had scored an empty-netter against the Cosmos to take that game 3-1. Now Philadelphia needed two more once again. Jonathan Stafford’s goal made it 4-1 with less than three minutes left in the game, leading to one of the most unusual occurrences ever in a PHL game. With a minute left, the Redshirts pulled goaltender Nathan Bowman for the extra attacker despite leading the game 4-1. Philly pushed hard and were finally rewarded with only 13 seconds on the clock when Stafford jambed a loose puck under Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Wilkin’s pad. The Redshirts cleared the bench and mobbed Stafford. Philadelphia was back in the playoffs. An unusual regular season ended in perhaps the most unusual way possible.
  22. I felt the same way during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. I felt it made sense to have a cap after seeing teams like the Red Wings load up on future hall of famers every summer. Then the teams found ways to circumvent the cap they had fought for which eventually led to the 2012 lockout, during which I fully sided with the players. As far as the PHL is concerned, salaries have skyrocketed during the 90s and now you have teams like the Shamrocks who can pretty much afford to contend every year because they can have just about any free agent they want and teams like Calgary and Quebec who are struggling just to keep their teams. I think this is definitely the right time for the league to adopt a cap before spending gets out of control. In return, the players will likely win the right to become UFA's at age 25. As for McAllen, he was a Restricted Free Agent because his three-year rookie deal had expired but he was still under 30 and had not played ten years, therefore, the Wolves automatically had the right to try to match the offer. Had Seattle failed to match the offer, they would've been entitled to compensation, likely a draft pick. The Wranglers losing Krayev was a prime example of why a cap is needed. The Wranglers are not in any great danger of leaving Calgary any time soon, but now they may not even be a playoff team. Chicago, Toronto, New York, Minnesota, and LA seem to have somewhat of a monopoly over the rest of the league right now, the other smaller markets simply can't afford to compete with them. A cap will mean these teams will need to make adjustments immediately, making for a lot more parity, especially early on. This is true, a team could still move despite a cap. Also, it won't necessarily limit what the top players can make, just what the teams can spend. Only the proven superstars will make really large amounts of money, rather than wealthy teams giving obscene amounts to players who probably aren't worth that much simply to fill a need. For example, Toronto gave Stuart Burns, age 35 at the time and well past his prime, $7 Million per year simply because they needed another veteran forward. Under a cap system, Burns would likely never get 7 Million because nobody would want to waste cap space on someone who will retire within three years. The Ducharmes and Crowleys, however, would still get the money they're worth because they are the faces of their respective franchises. Ideally, the league structure may even allow Ottawa, Halifax, and maybe even Hamilton back in some day, provided they get arenas of course. I love that Winnipeg got the Jets back, and I can't wait to see the Nordiques back in the NHL (it will happen someday) so you can bet at least one of those cities will be back in the PHL by 2017. A salary cap may be the first step.
  23. 1997 Off-Season 1996 Entry Draft Though not as strong as the 1996 entry draft, the 1997 draft certainly had no shortage of talent. With the first pick, the Milwaukee Choppers selected big Swedish center Peter Lundholm, then traded for the number five pick, using it to take hard-nosed defenseman Todd Brownlow. Dallas took USA National team star Kyle Clark with the second pick, while the New Orleans Sound rounded out the top three when they selected offensive defenseman Sheldon Harrison. Other interesting picks included Boston’s Isaac Hart, the son of pro football legend Billy Hart, LA selected goaltender Ryan Blank, the league’s first California native who grew up a fan of the Wizards, and finally New York selected the first German player in PHL history, Tobias Krause, who played fairly well as a 17-year-old at the 1996 World Hockey Challenge. 1. MIL – Peter Lundhom, F, SWE 2. DAL – Kyle Clark, F, USA 3. NOS – Sheldon Harrison, D, CAN 4. LI – Patrick Murphy, F, CAN 5. MIL (From DEN) – Todd Brownlow, D, CAN 6. DET – Eric Woods, F, CAN 7. SEA – Olli Heikkinen, F, FIN 8. PHI – Sergei Dyatlov, F, RUS 9. STL – Ben Wagner, D, USA 10. MIA – Derek Snyder, F, CAN 11. QUE – Mikeal Johansson, D, SWE 12. CGY – Dominik Musil, F, CZE 13. BOS – Isaac Hart, F, USA 14. CLE – Dylon White, F, CAN 15. VAN – Andrei Yegorov, F, RUS 16. PIT – Vladimir Rezek, F, SVK 17. WPG – Trent McCulloch, D, CAN 18. EDM – Igor Zhabin, F, RUS 19. CAR – Corey Powell, D, CAN 20. CAL – Jared King, D, USA 21. MTL – Zdeno Kadlec, F, CZE 22. WSH – Brant Brown, F, CAN 23. KC – Jamie Reid, D, USA 24. CHI – Chris Butler, F, CAN 25. LA – Ryan Blank, G, USA 26. TOR – Toivu Niskala, F, FIN 27. MIN – Murray Bennett, D, CAN 28. NYC – Tobias Krause, F, GER Notable Retirements: Travis Curry, F, DAL/MIL, 1981-1997 One of the last great players to have played for the Metros/Choppers franchise in both locations, Curry served as Bruce Gratton’s best sidekick throughout the 1980s. The duo led Milwaukee to back-to-back Lewis Cup championships in 1988 and 1989 with Curry scoring the Cup-winning goal both years. In 1992, Curry once again played a key role in leading the Choppers to their third appearance in the finals, where they would lose to Vincent Ducharme and the Montreal Royale. Curry would play five more years with the Choppers until his contract expired in 1997. With Milwaukee opting not to resign him, Curry retired rather than hit the free agent market. Alexander Orlov, F, CHI, 1991-1997 One of the greatest players in the history of the Soviet national team, Alexander Orlov became a national hero in 1976 at the inaugural World Hockey Challenge when he scored the tournament winning goal against the heavily favoured Canadians. It would be 15 years before Orlov was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union to play in the PHL for the Chicago Shamrocks. Teaming up with countryman Valdimir Gaganov, Orlov helped the Shamrocks to two straight Lewis Cup finals appearances in the mid-90s, where they would win it all in 1994. Clark Pratt, F, NYC, 1978-1997 Though he was never considered a true superstar, Clark Pratt was one of the most popular players ever to wear a Civics uniform thanks to his toughness and work ethic. A broken leg endangered Pratt’s career in 1981, but the tough winger returned the following season. Pratt played 19 years in New York and his longevity was finally rewarded in 1997 when the Civics won the Lewis Cup, the first in Pratt’s career. Brent MacDonald, G, NS/NOS, LA, 1982-1997 A native of Pictou, Nova Scotia, MacDonald grew up a huge fan of the Nova Scotia Claymores and finally realized his lifelong dream of playing for them in 1982. Throughout the 1980s, MacDonald backstopped the Claymores to an incredible seven straight Division titles, as well as an appearance in the Lewis Cup Finals in 1987. Unfortunatly, the Claymores were forced out of Halifax in 1995 and the team relocated to New Orleans that summer. MacDonald played one year in New Orleans before being traded to Los Angeles, where he split the goaltending duties with Jim Cochran before retiring. Magnus Skoglund, F, DET, 1978-1997 Skoglund served as Detroit’s top player during a relatively dark time in the franchise’s history. The Mustangs missed the playoffs during the last five years of Skoglund’s career and made it past the first round only twice during the 19 season Skoglund wore the Blue and Gold. Nevertheless, Skoglund still went on to become one of the greatest players ever to wear a Mustang’s uniform, retiring as the team’s second-leading scorer of all time. Brett Townsend, F, VAN, 1981-1997 Townsend’s accomplishments were largely overlooked as he played for one of the PHL’s weakest franchises for his entire career. Townsend nearly tied the PHL’s “Iron man” record, never missing a game from 1988 until his retirement in 1997. Townsend also retires as Vancouver’s all-time scoring leader and only 1000 point scorer in franchise history. Chris Blythe, F, EDM, 1981-1997 One of the more popular players to wear a Northern Lights sweater, Chris Blythe won fans over with his natural scoring ability. Blythe helped Edmonton to their only Lewis Cup Finals appearance in 1993, where they lost to the Boston Bulldogs. Notable Trades Edmonton trades D Dwayne Ingram to Washington in exchange for D Jordan O’Reilly. Nearing the end of his career, Ingram gets an opportunity to pursue a title with the Generals, the Northern Lights begin their rebuild with the addition of O’Reilly, a similar player to Ingram but at only 20 years old. Milwaukee trades D Jed McKenzie to Denver in exchange for 5th overall draft pick. The Bulls acquire a solid young defenseman, while the Choppers continue their rebuild with two picks in the top five. Key Free Agents Aaron Duplacy signs new 5-year deal with New York worth $9 Million/year. The Civics lock up their franchise player and captain for five years. Randy McAllen signs new 10-year deal with Seattle worth $11 Million/year. Seattle is forced to match a massive offer sheet from Detroit, making the 21-year-old the second-highest paid player currently in the league. Sergei Krayev (CGY) signs 6-year deal with Chicago worth $12 Million/year. After a career-threatening eye injury, Krayev will return to the league as one of its richest players. Chicago gains a replacement for Orlov, while Calgary’s status as a playoff team is now in jeopardy. Craig Bush (BOS) signs 3-year deal with Seattle worth $3.5 Million/year. After 17 years in Boston, Bush leaves the Bulldogs to chase another championship and provide leadership to an up-and-coming Grey Wolves squad. News The summer of 1997 was an ominous one for the PHL. The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ association was set to expire September 1, and little to no progress had been made in negotiations. Darryl Byrd refused to budge on a salary cap, while Brian Hunt and the players vowed they would never allow it. Since retiring from a long playing career with Denver in 1990, Hunt had earned his law degree in order to better serve the PHPA, and now was prepared to take them to war. “If Darryl wants to shut the game down that’s his decision, we will not accept a cap” said Hunt. As fans and players braced for the worst, the summer proved to be quite interesting. Immediately after the draft, the Detroit Mustangs presented budding Seattle superstar Randy McAllen with the largest offer sheet ever seen in the PHL, $11 Million for ten seasons. The problem for the Grey Wolves was that the franchise was in the process of being sold. Original owner John Dyson had found a local buyer, software developer Kevin Emms, but was still processing the transaction when the offer was given. Grey Wolves GM Bobby Vail had been told to wait for the official sale of the franchise before making any big moves, but he only had 48 hours to match the offer. The sale of the franchise was finally completed on June 30 just hours before the deadline and Emms gave Vail his blessing to match the Mustang’s offer. McAllen would be in Seattle for at least a decade. In Chicago, the new Garfield Center was set to open when the season kicked off. In July, the arena was named the host of the 2000 World Hockey Challenge. “We’re very pleased to be able to bring this tournament here to Chicago” said Shamrocks owner Fredrick Garfield Jr. The Shamrocks would play all their pre-season games at Lincoln Sports Arena and make their last exhibition game a final farewell to the old building. Two teams announced new arenas in 1997. The city of Detroit approved a new arena for the Mustangs. A 20,000-seat facility would be built on the outskirts of downtown Detroit as part of a new big league sports development that would also include a new Ballpark and a new outdoor stadium. The arena would open for Mustangs hockey in time for the 2000-01 season. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Lumberjacks announced their plans for a 22,000-seat arena, which will be located just southeast of downtown Minneapolis on the Mississippi river. The arena would open in the fall of 1999. The summer came and went with no collective agreement in place. On the morning of September 1, Darryl Byrd announced the PHL would initiate a labor lockout until an agreement could be reached. “This is a regrettable day to say the least” said Byrd. “I had hoped the players would be willing to work with us on something, especially given that they knew the consequences of no agreement, but it appears that they value their own wealth above the overall health of the game, which is unfortunate.” “The fact that he would try to blame this on the players, when they decided to lock us out, that’s disappointing” said Brian Hunt. Despite their distaste for each other, the two sides did resume talks throughout September in a desperate attempt to salvage the start of the season. Unfortunately, the season start date of October 10 arrived with no deal. Darryl Byrd cancelled all games for the month of October, the first time since 1985 that a work stoppage actually cancelled PHL games. Byrd was asked if he would ever be willing to lose an entire season. “That’s up to the players” he responded. When talks through October also went nowhere, all games in November were also cancelled, leaving fans to wonder if 1997-98 would even take place at all.
  24. I apologize for my absence this week guys, this is the time of year when work begins to ramp up for me so I might be a little slower with posts pretty much from now until Christmas. I am almost finished of the off-season post so that should be up either tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime, as requested, here is an updated list of minor league affiliate teams. I don't really plan on doing much with them for now though logos and uniforms might be a possibility in the future. Pacific Hockey Association (PHA, founded in 1980) Anaheim Magic – LA Wizards Portland Wildcats – California Nuggets Everett Black Bears – Seattle Grey Wolves Victoria Monarchs – Vancouver Bighorns Houston Saturns – Cleveland Cosmos Lethbridge Wranglers – Calgary Wranglers Red Deer Barons – Edmonton Northern Lights Saskatchawan Reapers – Winnipeg Pioneers Utah Mountaineers - Kansas City Twisters Las Vegas Card Sharks – Dallas Desperadoes Kelowna Grizzlies – Milwaukee Choppers Can/Am Hockey League (CAHL, founded in 1954) Hartford Bulldogs – Boston Bulldogs Windsor Wings – Detroit Mustangs New Jersey Civics – New York Civics Indianapolis Speed – Chicago Shamrocks Toronto Junior Racers – Toronto Racers Trois Riveres Couronnes – Montreal Royale Raleigh Raiders – Carolina Raiders Rochester Warriors – Denver Bulls Nashville Stars – St. Louis Spirits Halifax Schooners – Long Island Concordes Scranton Miners – Pittsburgh Stingers Hershey Keystones – Philadelphia Redshirts Norfolk Warships – Washington Generals Cincinnati Eagles – Minnesota Lumberjacks Laval Blanc et Bleu – Quebec Nationale PEI Red Claws - Miami Stingrays Austin Bats – New Orleans Sound
  25. I believe almost half the teams have them now. As for teams getting them in the near future, Dallas, Edmonton, and New Orleans are strong bets to get them next year, Vancouver and Washington are also eligible but I don't currently have anything planned for them. maybe for 1999-00. Winnipeg and St. Louis will also be eligible in 1999, though both teams will probably wait as well. Seattle is the only team getting a full rebrand next year, so they'll probably have a third jersey by the 2000-01 season or so. The Twisters are also getting new jerseys next year for their 10th anniversary and will probably scrap their third for a while. They'll likely have a new one sometime in the early 2000s.