hawkfan89

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  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: 1996 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 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. The Carolinas apparently were frequently visited by pirates in colonial times. The name "Pirates" is already used by NCAA teams in the state so the team went with Raiders instead. New Orleans owner Sam Bendt encouraged a group of colleagues in Tennessee to apply for a franchise. In this universe, Nashville already has both a basketball team and a baseball team while Memphis does not yet have a pro sports franchise so it seemed like a good fit to the group. With the addition of Burns and Tyler, the Racers are going all out with a veteran team. Burns stands a very good chance of lifting the cup one more time. The Cosmonauts of Cleveland, I like it. This year's draft was very heavy on European talent, which is good because the World Hockey Challenge will serve as a nice preview of some of the young players before the season starts. By the way I am almost finished now with the Raiders and it should be up sometime tomorrow. Thanks guys!
  3. 1996 Off-Season 1996 Entry Draft The 1996 PHL draft was projected to be a very strong one, not unlike the draft a decade earlier. Russian phenom Sergei Gulinov was projected to go first overall after a 112-point season playing pro in Russia. Sure enough, the Cleveland Cosmos took Gulinov with the first pick, hoping the playmaker would mesh nicely with fellow countryman Alexei Stepanov. “Watch out for the Cosmos” said one commentator. “They’re still a few years away but they’ll be a very fun team to watch someday.” With the second pick, the New Orleans Sound picked big center Kris Whittle from the US National team. At number three, the Dallas Desperadoes, needing a goalie, opted to trade down, giving Detroit the next pick. The Mustangs nabbed their new franchise player, Russian sensation Andrei Alexeev at number three, while the Desperadoes selected Alexei Rolonov as their future franchise goalie. Other interesting picks included Washington pick Geoff Collier, son of former Pioneers defenseman Kent Collier, and Minnesota’s Brendan Marlo, who, if he cracks the Lumberjacks’ lineup, will be the shortest player in PHL history at just 5’ 5”. 1. CLE – Sergei Gulinov, F, RUS 2. NOS – Kris Whittle, F, USA 3. DET (From DAL) – Andrei Alexeev, F, RUS 4. SEA – Maxime Chabot, F, CAN 5. CAR – Shane Dutton, F, CAN 6. LI – Riley Gardiner, D, GB 7. STL – Shawn Marchinski, F, CAN 8. DAL (from DET) – Alexei Rolonov, G, RUS 9. MIL – Alex Marin, F, USA 10. WPG – Sergei Bobkov, D, RUS 11. PHI – Jared Baxter, F, CAN 12. VAN – Jason Quint, D, CAN 13. MIA – Trey Bellows, D, USA 14. QUE – Marcel Gamache, D, CAN 15. DEN -- Cam Richardson, F, USA 16. BOS – Mikeal Larsson, F, SWE 17. EDM – Patrick Gill, D, CAN 18. PIT – Alexis Holzer, F, GER 19. WSH – Geoff Collier, F, CAN 20. CAL – Dominik Kovac, D, CZE 21. CGY – Tim Brown, F, USA 22. MIN – Brendan Marlo, F, CAN 23. KC – Timmo Virtanen, F, FIN 24. MTL – Todd Paterson, F, CAN 25. LA – Petr Slavik, F, SLV 26. NYC – Joel McDonald, F, CAN 27. TOR – Joe Murdock, F, CAN 28. CHI – Ben Kerrrigan, G, USA Notable Retirements: Ron Buckner, G, PIT, BOS, DEN, 1983-1996 Drafted late by Pittsburgh in 1980, Ron Buckner never played a game for the Stingers, spending the first two seasons of his career with their minor-league team in Scranton, PA. In 1983 he finally got his big break when the Boston Bulldogs acquired him and gave him the starters’ job. Over the following 11 seasons with the ‘Dogs, Buckner never missed the post-season, eventually backstopping Boston to two division titles in 1991 and ’92. In 1992-93, Buckner played his final season as the Bulldogs’ starter, eventually giving up the number one job to Kevin Washer during the playoffs. Boston went on to win the Lewis Cup that year with Buckner playing the backup role and in 1993-94, he was traded to Denver, where he regained number one status. Buckner would play two more full seasons with the Bulls before retiring. Theo Gill, F, PHI, 1979-1996 When Theo Gill was selected second-overall by the Winnipeg Pioneers in 1979, it was hoped that he would eventually become the franchise player the Pioneers had been hoping for. Though Gill’s play over the following decade was strong, the Pioneers struggled to add additional talent and during Gill’s ten seasons in Winnipeg, the Pioneers won only two playoff rounds. In 1989, Gill signed with Philadelphia, where he got as far as the Eastern Conference Finals in 1995. Antero Parvainen, G, PHI, MIL, 1980-1996 In 1980, Antero Parvainen became the first goaltender in PHL history to be selected first overall. Projected to be Philadelphia’s first great goaltender since David Zimmer, Parvainen did not disappoint. In his first season, Parvainen backstopped the Redshirts into the playoffs after a three-year absence. In the strike-shortened 1984-85 season, he led Philly to first overall in the league and ultimately to the Eastern Conference Finals, where the team was eliminated in the infamous “Ghost Game”. In 1989, Parvainen and the Redshirts finally reached the Lewis Cup Finals, where they lost to the Milwaukee Choppers. Despite his strong play in the 1995 playoffs, Parvainen was not resigned by the Redshirts and spent his final PHL season in Milwaukee, sharing the goaltending duties with rookie Matt Darwin. Glen Childs, F, EDM, 1976-1996 Childs was the first draft pick in the history of the Edmonton Northern Lights and retires as the last remaining original player from the team’s inaugural season. Though he never quite lived up to his high draft billing, Childs proved to be a steady, hard-working winger, eventually helping Edmonton to an appearance in the Lewis Cup finals in 1993, where they lost to the Boston Bulldogs. Olivier Meloche, DAL/MIL, DAL, 1980-1996 The son of first-generation PHL star Didier Meloche, Olivier Meloche joined the Dallas Metros in 1980 and was an instant fan-favorite with his smooth skating and skilled hands. Meloche’s popularity followed him to Milwaukee when the team relocated in 1985, where he played a valuable role in the Choppers’ back-to-back championships in the late ‘80s. In 1994, Meloche returned to Dallas to finish his career, this time as a member of the expansion Dallas Desperadoes. Rex Hull, F, TOR, 1978-1996 Despite his lack of skill, Rex Hull’s toughness made him one of the most popular players ever to don the double blue. Hull led the Racers in penalty minutes every year from 1978 until he finally surrendered the title to Tory Partridge in 1994. Hull was selected by the Cleveland Cosmos in the 1994 expansion draft, but was immediately re-acquired by the Racers so he could finish his career where he was supposed to, in Toronto. Notable Trades Toronto trades F Tory Partridge to Vancouver in exchange for F Joe Tyler and F Brad Kyle. As promised, the Racers begin to shake up their lineup in an attempt to pursue a title. Tyler leaves Vancouver after 17 seasons while the Bighorns land a top-tier power forward in Partridge. New Orleans trades G Brent MacDonald to Los Angeles in exchange for F Aaron Pogue. The Wizards solidify their goaltending with the addition of MacDonald, while New Orleans adds a solid prospect in Pogue. Dallas, Detroit swap 1st round picks, Desperadoes acquire D Luke Ferguson. Dallas moves down in the draft to select goaltender Alexei Rolonov, Detroit gives up Ferguson to move up to third pick. Key Free Agents Vincent Ducharme signs new 10-year deal with Montreal worth $10 Million/year. With the new contract, Ducharme becomes the highest-paid player in PHL history. The deal all but ensures he will retire with the Royale. Jason Crowley signs new 9-year deal with Minnesota worth $8 Million/year. Crowley becomes the second-richest player in league history with a deal that will see him earn over $10 Million if the Lumberjacks return to the Lewis Cup Finals. Stuart Burns (LI) signs three-year deal with Toronto worth $7 Million/year. The Racers win the Stuart Burns sweepstakes as the 35-year-old Mississauga native returns home to try to win a championship after 17 seasons on Long Island. Grant Sibley (DAL) signs five-year deal with New York worth $5 Million/year. After two productive years in Dallas, Sibley earns a big contract and a chance to win a championship with the Civics. Kim Brodie (DET) signs four-year deal with Long Island worth $4 Million/year. The Concordes sign ten-year veteran Brodie to replace Stuart Burns. Trevor Ramsey (MTL) signs three-year deal with Carolina worth $4 Million/year. Ramsey leaves Montreal to serve as a veteran presence in Charlotte. News At the start of the 1995-96 season, the Professional Hockey Players Association and the PHL began negotiations for a new collective agreement. Talks did not progress much during the regular season and in May, both sides agreed to exercise one year of their option for a two year extension. The deadline was set at September 1, 1997 for both sides to come to an agreement to avoid a work stoppage. “We agreed to extend the agreement for another year in order to focus on negotiations.” Said commissioner Darryl Byrd. With player salaries skyrocketing, Byrd and the owners want to institute a salary cap to control spending and level the playing field. Meanwhile, the players wanted a lower minimum age for unrestricted free agency, increases in benefits and pension, and most of all, a financial structure that would not include a salary cap. After a hard round of negotiations in July, things looked ominous. “We’re not there yet, this could be a long road” said PHPA president Brian Hunt. Between negotiations, Darryl Byrd began conversations with potential franchise owners. Though he had yet to make a formal announcement regarding expansion, Byrd had indicated that he would like to expand to thirty teams around the year 2000. “We’ve had some good talks, but no decisions will be made until we get the new contract in place” said Byrd. Houston, Atlanta, Portland, and Memphis are rumoured to be the main cities seeking a franchise. One city looking for a team thought they had one at one point in 1996. Byrd, believing Olivia Poulette would be forced to sell the financially struggling Quebec Nationale, had told Atlanta that they might have an opportunity to acquire the Nationale and move them to Georgia. At the time, the Nats were in the process of a Cinderella run that brought the city together and convinced the local government to assist Poulette in financing a new arena. The new building would likely not be completed until the 2000-01 season, but Byrd insisted a new arena would need to be completed by the end of 1998, a nearly impossible deadline. In August, Byrd made a deal with the city of Atlanta that would give them the franchise if a new arena could not be secured by the deadline. Poulette responded with a lawsuit against Byrd and the PHL for interfering with her business when there was in fact a building on the way. Finally, a settlement was reached. Byrd extended his deadline to 2000, meaning the Nationale would at least survive into the new Millennium. In other news the Ottawa Beavers officially relocated to Charlotte, NC in May after an owner’s vote to ratify the move. The Beavers will now be known as the Carolina Raiders with a logo expected to be unveiled just prior to the start of the season. The Raiders will play in the new Cube Center in downtown Charlotte, which was built in 1994. The Raiders also cleaned out their front office, hiring all new staff. Former USA National Team coach and head scout Bill Powell was hired as the team’s General Manager, while Kurt Hopkins was hired as the new Head Coach a year after being fired from Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Pioneers also overhauled their front office, firing Head Coach Bruce Winter and GM Bob Garnett and replacing them with Craig Neilson and Jacques Fortune respectively. Neilson served as an executive with the Canadian Hockey Association for 13 years from 1983 to 1996, while Fortune coached the Denver Bulls form 1982-1992.
  4. I've decided that there will be a committee for the next expansion, however, I still haven't decided if the committee will select one or both teams. They do and it runs very similar to the AFA expansion council. I'll post the guidelines when the time comes. Saskatchewan came closest to getting a team at the PHL/GHL merger. The GHL's Saskatoon Reapers were in the running to become a PHL team at the merger but ultimately couldn't meet the requirements. Unfortunately, I can't see Saskatchewan getting a team anytime soon, especially at a time when Ottawa and Halifax just lost theirs and Quebec seems to be on the brink, but you never know. Yes, and I apologize for the delay. With a baby in the house it can get pretty busy and it's hard to consistently find time to work on this project, especially since I want to continue to put as much detail into it as I have been. There is also a lot of work to do for this particular off-season with the Raiders branding, two new looks for Vancouver and Washington, and of course the upcoming World Hockey Challenge which is also expanding by two teams. I've devoted my attention to the off-season post for now so I'll have that up soon, then hopefully I'll have Carolina finished shortly after that.
  5. I'm a little torn because I want to do another expansion committee and probably will again at some point, but this time around, like last time, there seems to be two fairly obvious choices. I think it will happen again but there won't be very many city options. The cities in the running for expansion will be included in the off-season news.
  6. So it will take some time to finish the off-season post as well as the Raiders uniforms but I hope to have at least one of those posted by either tomorrow or Monday. In the meantime, here's the updated all-star uniforms for 1997. The biggest change is the colour vs colour concept, which I realize would probably be a confusing disaster with these particular uniforms. These unis will make their only appearance at the 1997 all-star game. There's a whole new concept coming for '98.
  7. Carolina will carry the red and black color scheme over from Ottawa but with a couple of new twists. Silver will be added and the uniforms will be an inversion of the Beavers, with a black jersey and red pants. I've also settled on the name Raiders, it's simple and recognizable and goes with the Pirate theme well. I had planned on using Pirates but forgot about the East Carolina Pirates of the NCAA. In terms of creating a new identity, that's a great question. I would say it depends on the team. Sometimes it's a struggle coming up with an appropriate name, sometimes it's coming up with a logo for the name, though that hasn't usually been the case because I usually name the teams after coming up with a few logo ideas. It's been difficult in the 90s to rebrand some teams though because I came up with the name with the intention of using a certain logo, then the logo became dated and it was difficult to come up with an era-appropriate logo that still represented a team name from a different time. This was the case with the Quebec Nationale, for example. Another hurtle can be coming up with a team name that's original, but recognizable too. For some teams, the name follows a fairly common theme for sports team names and it's hard to come up with a logo that does not in some way resemble an existing real-life team logo. The Pittsburgh Stingers are the best example of this. I worked for a few days on a new Stingers logo for 1994 only to realize a striking similarity to the Charlotte Hornets alternate logo. For the first time ever, I'm going to show an unreleased logo for comparison. I corrected the logo to make it less similar but by that point it began to look out of place for the mid-90s. I ultimately decided to use the more cartoonish logo I had previously created and save the newer one for the 2000s (so the logo you see above is a very slight hint of what is coming for the Stingers). Finally, for some teams the execution of the logo is the biggest hurtle. I've found the 90s to be very challenging because the logos are so intricate, you almost have to be a comic book artist to make them look right. In the 60s and 70s, it's quite easy. The original Lumberjacks logo took less than ten minutes to design from scratch, as of Tuesday I had been picking away at the Bighorns' new identity almost since Christmas. The Northern Lights were another team that took a while and a lot of different logo concepts before I settled on something I liked, and too be honest, it's still not my favorite identity in the league, I just knew the old logo would never survive longer than it did. So that's my long-winded answer. Overall this project has been a fun challenge and has really forced me to think outside the box a lot. At some point I do plan to do a write up on the blog about the real-life history of the project and hopefully share more about the whole process. I'd love to share more unused artwork as well if that's something people want to see.
  8. That's what I'm thinking, maybe even a once-a-year military tribute jersey or something.
  9. It's just for aesthetics. I wanted to do a pattern on the bottom and collar similar to the original Vancouver Grizzlies uniforms and it seemed like using some form of text would be the best way to make it work, particularly on the collar. The same "V" logo that appears on the Inuksuk logo appears at the center of the pattern if you look closely.
  10. So after reading some of the feedback, I decided to make some changes to the Generals uniforms, most notably removing the camo pattern. What do you guys think?
  11. Thanks, glad you like them! Honestly the Bighorns logo was probably one of the most difficult to design in this entire project. I actually started work on it over a year ago when they switched to the "V" logo but could not get it to look right until just now. The gradient look is supposed to be a subtle nod to the Canucks. Some of the original teams, Montreal, Chicago, and Philly won't change at all probably right up until now. Detroit has a very slight logo update coming in the early 2000s but for the most part will stay the same. Winnipeg will have updated jerseys likely in time for 1998-99 but the logo will stay completely unchanged. Aside from third jerseys, the crazy, over the top uniforms will probably slow down now. St. Louis and Seattle are up next year and both are pretty tame, the Spirits' new look is really just an update to what they currently have. eventually you will see some teams return to the classic looks too. Yeah I don't see those jerseys lasting very long for Washington, in fact they may even change again before the decade is out, similar to the Islanders' fishsticks unis.
  12. Generals, Bighorns Unveil New Logos Two more teams unveiled new logos and uniforms in the summer of 1996. In a decade that has already seen many rebrands for PHL clubs the Washington Generals and Vancouver Bighorns are the latest teams to overhaul their look. The Generals' new logo features the head of an eagle wearing an olive green beret, while the uniforms further enhance the Army theme with a camouflage design on the shoulders and arms. The arms also feature the team's new secondary logo, based on the US Army logo on one side and a chevron logo on the other side. "I think the jerseys are pretty cool, I love the camo pattern" said forward Rob Wentzel. "It's a great look, It'll feel like we're going into battle" said goaltender Jake Borman. In Vancouver, the Bighorns revealed the first primary logo in modern franchise history to actually feature a Bighorn Sheep. The logo is a ram's head with a scowl on its face, ready to charge. The secondary mark features an inuksuk-style hockey player with a stick and helmet. The basic theme of the rebrand is based in Pacific indigenous art. The uniforms feature the teams updated color scheme of brick red, black, and orange with a black gradient effect on both jerseys. "We really wanted a uniform that plays into the culture of Vancouver and British Columbia" said David Smythe, the son of Bighorns owner Donald Smythe. David Smythe oversaw the entire rebrand and will soon take over control of the franchise. The logo change will coincide with the teams' move into a new downtown arena in October, 1996. In other uniform news, the Boston Bulldogs will officially make their popular red alternate jerseys the primary road jerseys in 1996-97, while the black uniforms will remain as the team's alternate. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Lumberjacks will retire their black alternates, worn since the 1994-95 season. And finally, three teams unveiled new alternates for 1996. Long Island will wear orange jerseys with a new front-view logo, Quebec will introduce a new black uniform with the "fleur-de-goalie" logo on the front, while Pittsburgh's new alternate will feature the team's insect head secondary logo on a gold jersey with a honeycomb pattern.
  13. I think the run could play a big role in saving the Nationale, even though they didn't get the job done. Olivia Poulette will definitely need help from the city to build a new arena, but unlike Ottawa and Halifax, Quebec City may be much more willing to help out, especially since the team is currently winning on the ice. Simply making the playoffs this upcoming season could be critical in saving the team. Houston is not a lock yet for expansion, though its chances are very good. As for the Beavers, they will open the 1996-97 season in Charlotte. All I've decided so far is that the name and logo will be pirate-themed. I am in the early stages of designing the logo but there's still a fair amount of work to do. I'm almost finished with Vancouver and Washington's new looks so those will probably come first, possibly later today along with the newest third jerseys.
  14. 1996 Lewis Cup Finals For the third year in a row, the Lewis Cup Finals would pit a team from Quebec against a team from the American Midwest. This time, however, it would be the Minnesota Lumberjacks taking on the Quebec Nationale. The Lumberjacks were playing in their second final of the decade and hoped to claim their first title since 1979 after a disappointing loss to Long Island in 1990. Meanwhile, Quebec was hoping to complete one of the greatest Cinderella stories in PHL history. After upsetting New York, Toronto, and Washington, the Nationale had their sights set on winning their first cup in 31 years. Nationale captain Graham Boswell provided some déjà vu in game one. Boswell was famous for scoring “The Goal”, the game seven overtime winner that gave Chicago the Lewis Cup in 1983. With game one in the 1996 final tied at one in the first overtime, Boswell went to the side of the crease and flipped a pass from rookie Marc Ledoux into the net for the winner. “Unbelievable, just like ’83!” said commentator Don Gillis after showing clips of the goals side-by-side. Up 1-0, Quebec once again appeared to have control in a series against a superior opponent, but Minnesota was ready for game two. Superstars Pavel Vana and Jason Crowley each had a goal and two assists in a 4-2 Lumberjacks victory. “Obviously we hoped to win both games at home but we’re happy with the split” said Minnesota head coach Bob Truman. “Hopefully we can get some big wins in Quebec.” Prior to game three, a story appeared in Le Journal de Québec suggesting the Nationale could be headed to Atlanta possibly as soon as the 1997-98 season. Though owner Olivia Poulette shot down the rumour, the team felt that a strong showing at home could be critical. Fan support certainly was not an issue, as thousands of fans gathered at the Jean Lesage International Airport to welcome the team home prior to game three. Inside the Ice Palace for game three, the crowd was so loud that the TV anchors were unable to perform their pre-game interviews at rinkside. The game was close, tied 3-3 after two periods. Midway through the third period, Troy Dowdy had a big opportunity when he was hooked from behind on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, the first one in Lewis Cup Finals history. Dowdy attempted to deke Christian Grayson but Grayson managed to get it with his left pad, keeping the game tied. Just minutes after the penalty shot, Lumberjacks forward Greg Willis finally broke the tie with a shot from the blueline. The goal held up as the winner and Minnesota took back home ice advantage with a 4-3 win. After allowing four goals in game three, the Nats looked to Patrick Lemoine to close the door in game four, and the 29-year-old from Laval, Quebec would not disappoint. While Anders Hendriksson, Marc Ledoux, and Rostislav Stransky each scored, Lemoine made 44 saves, holding the Lumberjacks to a single goal from Stanislav Zykov in the third period. Quebec held on to take game four and tie the series. “If we get a big road win, that will be an enormous opportunity for us” said Graham Boswell after game four. For the ‘Jacks, Jason Crowley wanted to keep his team calm. “We still have the advantage” said Crowley. “We just need to buckle down and get that win at home. I’m confident we’ll get it done.” Crowley would back his words up in game five, scoring the opening goal and assisting on Zykov’s insurance marker, while Christian Grayson earned a 37-save shutout and Minnesota now found themselves one win away from the Lewis Cup. The Nationale remained confident prior to game six, despite the fact that the Lewis Cup would be in their building, but not for them. “This team has a lot of heart” said 15-year veteran Adrian Hubbard. “We have a fantastic crowd out there and they’ll be fueling us the whole game. We know we can win this thing.” Troy Dowdy redeemed himself after missing the penalty shot in game three when he opened the scoring in game six. Quebec led 1-0 and Patrick Lemoine was determined to maintain the lead, making one brilliant save after another. After two periods, the Lumberjacks seemed unable to solve Lemoine, until finally, defenseman Brett Zimmer blasted a hard point shot on net, beating Lemoine to tie the game. Despite losing the lead, the Quebec crowd seemed unfazed, until Greg Willis beat Lemoine again just a minute and a half later to give the ‘Jacks the lead. The building suddenly went silent, as if the fans somehow knew it was over. The Nationale had finally run out of gas. The team pulled Lemoine in a last-minute attempt to tie the game, but Jason Crowley hit the empty net before Quebec could even get another shot. The Lumberjacks piled off the bench and mobbed their captain, as well as Christian Grayson, the 24-year-old goaltender who had been spectacular in only his second playoff as a starter. Grayson even earned high praise from legendary Minnesota goaltender Bobby Sorel, who was in attendance and even joined in the celebration. “The kid was really unbelievable, one of the best performances I’ve ever seen” said Sorel. Jason Crowley accepted the Lewis Cup from Darryl Byrd, who was booed mercilessly by the Quebec crowd. After a big year in which he led the league in goals and won playoff MVP, there was no doubt Crowley had established himself as one of the elite players of his era, while the Minnesota Lumberjacks, now with three championships, had established themselves as one of hockey’s more successful franchises.
  15. I agree that the name might be a little more fitting, but it's hard to say at this point how the team will do. I have a feeling Houston may have a team of their own before Cleveland would even get the chance to move there. Haha, that was a strange series uniform-wise because it was a rematch of the previous year and both teams underwent full rebrands during the off-season, so it looked completely different from one year to the next.
  16. It was intentional. With the momentum going KC's way, the Nuggets just wanted to try to change their luck a little bit. Unlike Boston, however, there are no plans for them to switch full-time to the alts, while the Bulldogs will officially switch to the reds as their full-time away jerseys next season. I think you will see third jerseys used in the playoffs occasionally from this point on, though the league will probably make a rule at some point limiting teams to two jerseys throughout the playoffs. That is a very strong possibility. The chances of the Nuggets leaving the bay area are slim to none simply because they have so many options. If things fall apart in San Francisco, San Jose or Oakland could very easily step up to take the team. Also, unlike the Canadian teams, Darryl Byrd is a little more committed to preserving the big-market American franchises and would probably go to great lengths to keep the Nuggets in Northern California.
  17. 1996 Playoffs One of the top teams during the regular season, the Kansas City Twisters flew under the radar through much of the year, barely getting a mention in the media. “We definitely feel under recognized, maybe even a little disrespected” said captain Scott Drayton. “I think we’re at that point where this team is capable of winning a championship and I think the people who didn’t give us much credit this year will see what this team is really about.” The Twisters faced adversity almost immediately, facing the California Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. After winning game one, the Twisters dropped games two and three to a Nuggets team equally desperate to prove themselves. Game four in San Francisco was a virtual must-win for Kansas City. California took an early 1-0 lead on a goal from Ali Leino, but Jason Lind stood tall in the Twisters’ net, refusing to allow the Nuggets to take a 2-goal lead. Finally, spurred by the performance of their goaltender, the Twisters tied it on a big goal from Brett Delaney. A pair of quick goals in the third from Travis Watson and Blair Horton went on to win the game for Kansas City to tie the series. Heading back to KC for game five, Nuggets captain Kevin Hoyle talked about the pressure he felt to deliver ten years after being selected 6th overall in the stack 1986 draft. “I’ve been in this league for a decade now and I’ve played in eight playoff games, including this series. It’s time for this team to take that next step.” Hoyle backed his words up in game five, scoring what proved to be the winner while Brad Pope made 38 saves to give California a 3-2 lead and a chance to win their first playoff series since 1983. Game six would be a higher-scoring affair than the rest of the series had been, with a six goal explosion in the first period that left the teams tied at 3-3. The scoring slowed down in the second period, with Dave Mack’s goal near the end of the period giving Kansas City a 4-3 lead. The lead held until a minute remaining in the third period, when California pulled Pope for the extra attacker. The tactic worked as Pope’s younger brother Matt tied the game for the Nuggets. After leading throughout the second half of the game, the Twisters were now just one bounce away from elimination. The hero would emerge in the form of a 35-year-old veteran playing his first season in Kansas City. Just seven minutes into the first overtime, Drayton hit Dave Mack with a stretch pass, springing Mack on a breakaway. Mack made no mistake, beating Pope for the winner to send it to game seven. Game seven would go to overtime as well, though this time it would not end near as quickly. Both Jason Lind and Brad Pope were seemingly unbeatable through three extra periods as the game went beyond midnight local time. Three minutes into the fourth overtime, there was a scramble in front of the California net. Brett Delaney dug the puck out and threw a pass to Mack, who buried it for his second consecutive overtime winner to eliminate the Nuggets. The Kansas City crowd erupted, as did a large crowd in downtown Halifax, thrilled to see their former hometown hero play a big role in the playoffs once again. Elsewhere in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Wizards avenged their 1995 loss to the Edmonton Northern Lights, defeating them in six games. The Northern Lights were forced to play without their captain and top defenseman in game six, as Dwayne Ingram was suspended for one game for an elbow to the head of Kay Swafford in game five. “Justice was served if you ask me” said Wizards GM Stuart Holly. “Ingram is a bully, he’s the dirtiest player in the game.” For perhaps the first time in his 16-year career, Ingram did show remorse after the series. “I crossed the line and ultimately cost my team” said the 36-year-old. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Lumberjacks defeated the Calgary Wranglers in six games, while Chicago swept the Denver Bulls. In the east, New York entered their first-round series with Quebec as very heavy favorites. “If they could win this in three straight that would be my prediction” said analyst Ricky Sherman. Game one was a stunner, as the Nationale jumped to a 4-0 lead, ultimately winning 4-1. “We were overconfident” said head coach Bruce Irvine. “we’ll be ready next game.” The Civics certainly looked better in game two, holding Quebec to a 2-2 tie throughout the game while they drastically outplayed them. But Nationale goaltender Patrick Lemoine stood firm, turning away several big scoring chances as the game went into overtime. Overtime lasted just 19 seconds before Troy Dowdy beat New York goalie Jason Wyley for the win to give Quebec a 2-0 lead. The sellout crowd at Broadway house was stunned, the Civics were now in a bad spot, needing to win twice in Quebec to stay alive. After dropping game three on the road, the Civics now faced a 3-0 deficit and a must-win game in Quebec. The Civics put up a valiant effort, at one point leading game four 3-2. Unfortunately for the Civics, Rostislav Stransky tied the game to send it into overtime, where Graham Boswell proved to be the hero, scoring late in the first overtime to complete the sweep and the upset. “I can’t believe we’re done, just like that” said Civics’ defenseman Lamar Jackson. The rest of the Eastern Conference series went as expected. Washington defeated Pittsburgh, Toronto beat Miami, and Montreal eliminated Boston, all in five games. After a first round that went mostly as expected, the post-season spun out of control in round two, as both Chicago and Montreal were upset by Kansas City and Washington respectively to ensure there would be a new matchup for the Finals for the first time since 1993. The team expected to win it all now was the Los Angeles Wizards, who faced a tough series with Minnesota. The Wizards won the first two games at home, but dropped games three and four as the series evened out to a 2-2 split. Game five was pivotal and the Wizards would not let down their home fans, taking a 3-2 win on an OT goal from Jarkko Turunen. LA now had a chance to take the series with a 3-2 lead. Game six would also go to overtime with the Lumberjacks facing elimination. Kay Swafford, playing his first game since suffering a concussion from the Ingram elbow in round one, nearly ended the series when he was sprung on a breakaway, but was turned away by Lumberjacks’ goaltender Christian Grayson. About six minutes later, Pavel Vana finally ended the game with a rebound goal to force game seven. Game seven nearly went into overtime as well, tied 3-3 in the dying seconds, when Greg Willis stunned the Wizards with a big goal to give Minnesota the lead with just four seconds left. It was a devastating loss for Los Angeles while Minnesota advanced to the Western Conference Finals. The biggest upset of the second round was once again the emerging Cinderella story for the ages in Quebec City. The Nationale stunned the Toronto Racers game one with an OT goal from veteran Jeff Nolan and the team never looked back. When Quebec won game two 4-2, suddenly the hockey world had to take notice. The 7th-place Nationale had swept the Civics, and now had the championship-calibre Racers on the ropes. One goal was all that was needed in game three, as Lemoine’s 63-save performance went down as one of the best of all time as Quebec took a stranglehold on the series with a 1-0 win. The Racers never got into game four, as Quebec won 4-1 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 14 years. In Toronto, after yet another disappointment, GM Bobby Kitchen went off on his players. “Absolutely there will be changes, probably big ones” said an irate Kitchen. “I don’t know what the excuse is. We changed the coach, we’ve adjusted things from a front-office perspective, it’s on the players now and I hate to say it but they let us down.” Next up for Quebec would be Jake Borman, Igor Zharkov, and the Washington Generals. The series with Washington would prove to be their toughest yet. After winning game one 4-1, the Nationale sustained their first loss of the playoffs in game two, a 4-2 victory for the Generals. Entering game five, the series was tied 2-2. Washington jumped ahead early, with goals from Zharkov and Rob Wentzel to make it 2-0. But Quebec was unfazed, storming back with four goals in the third period including two from Rostislav Stransky to take a 4-2 win and a 3-2 series lead. With their backs against the wall in game six, Washington played their best game of the series. The Generals managed to stay one step ahead of the Nats all game long, while Zharkov scored two goals including the winner in a 3-2 win to force a seventh and deciding game in DC. The Generals simply seemed to run out of gas in game seven. Stransky, Dowdy, and Tim Craft all scored while Lemoine earned a shutout. The Quebec Nationale were on their way to the Lewis Cup Finals for the first time since 1970. “This is really unbelievable” said team captain Graham Boswell. “This was certainly our goal from the start of the year, but to actually get here feels surreal. We have a lot of work left to do though and we want to stay focused.” For the right to face Quebec for the championship, the Kansas City Twisters faced the Minnesota Lumberjacks in the Western Conference Finals. Though Kansas City were considered to be slight favorites in the series, nobody was willing to count out the Lumberjacks, whose captain, Jason Crowley, was enjoying a career season. Crowley made a strong statement in game one, scoring a hat-trick in a 3-1 Minnesota win. In game two, Travis Watson responded with a two-goal effort as Kansas City tied the series. After a 4-3 overtime win for Minnesota followed by a Jason Lind shutout in game four, the teams were tied 2-2. Kansas City knew game five would be critical. “We can’t go back to their building down like that” said Dave Mack. “Everyone is going to have to dig deep and come up with a big win here tonight.” Mack would attempt to back up his words, scoring the Twisters’ only goal in game five, but it would not be enough as Crowley and Simon Brassard each scored in a 2-1 Lumberjacks victory. Facing elimination in game six, the Twisters came out strong, taking a 2-0 lead early on thanks to goals from Drayton and Delaney, but once again it would not be enough, as the Lumberjacks scored twice in the second period and twice again in the third. Despite the loss, the Twisters in reaching the conference finals had finally proven themselves as legitimate contenders. Meanwhile, The Minnesota Lumberjacks, six years after their disappointing loss to Long Island, would return to the Lewis Cup Finals with an opportunity to claim their third championship in franchise history.
  18. The Eastern Conference has had a lot more storylines the last two years or so with the relocations and everything. I admit I neglected the Twisters a bit this season, I think I may even work a "lack of respect" arc into the playoff storyline for KC. It is for now, but the Bulldogs have a very strong front office so it shouldn't be too long until they're in contention again. The issues are fixed, thanks for the heads up. As for the Beavers, Carolina will be the locator. I do have an idea for a name but I haven't made a final decision on it yet, it will be revealed first thing in the off-season. Quebec is in some trouble, though it's not as bad as it was in Ottawa and Halifax. There are also some issues in San Francisco with the Nuggets. The arena suffered severe damage after the earthquake in 1989 and continues to suffer from some structural issues in addition to issues with the lease. There will be more on both teams in the off-season. The Queen Elizabeth Arena is 40 years old but still in very good shape. The Racers will be doing renovations to add more seating and luxury boxes which should bring it up to league standards for the time being. A new arena will be built at some point but probably not for another decade or so.
  19. The divisions were left alone for this season to see how the Ottawa situation would play out. With the Beavers on their way to Carolina, there will likely be a realignment of some kind in the off-season.
  20. 1995-96 Regular Season The Washington Generals entered 1995-96 with high hopes. The team had just squeezed into the post-season throughout the early 90s and with loads of young talent like Igor Zharkov and Tomas Axelsson, the Generals hoped to finally prove themselves as an elite team in the Eastern Conference. Zharkov and Axelsson certainly played well, but it was goaltenter Jake Borman who blew everyone away with a breakout performance. Borman’s play proved to be record-setting, as the 26-year-old earned 14 shutouts, a PHL record, and 40 of the team’s 41 wins. After his eighth shutout, Borman earned the nickname “Mr. Donut” and the Generals began a promotion where if he earned a shutout, 100 fans would receive a dozen donuts. “This year has been incredible, I feel like we’ve really clicked as a team” said Borman. “As for my play, I have to give credit to my teammates, they’ve played very well and made my job easier.” The Generals finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, their highest finish in over a decade. Another team that enjoyed a breakout in ’95-’96 was the Pittsburgh Stingers, who finally returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1990. Veteran goaltender Jeff Brackley, acquired from Minnesota in the summer, played very well in goal, eventually convincing GM Sam Greer to trade longtime starter Jacob Martensson to Denver in February. Forward Brendan Bittner truly became an elite PHL player in 1995-96. The 6’3”, 228-pound power forward finished third in league scoring with 48 goals and 67 assists while adding 179 penalty minutes. Bittner’s right wing, Chris Cassidy, also enjoyed a strong sophomore year with 32 goals. It was not all good news in the state of Pennsylvania, however. The aging Philadelphia Redshirts, just a year after a thrilling run to the Eastern Conference Finals, missed the post-season for the first time since 1983. The Redshirts’ plummet caused many fans to question the team’s decision over the summer to fire Kurt Hopkins. New coach Clint Allen could hardly be blamed for the disappointing season, however. The Redshirts suffered a slew of injuries in March while in a battle with Miami for the final playoff spot, the worst coming when Jonathan Stafford went down with a sprained ankle and missed two weeks. The Stingrays ultimately finished six points ahead and claimed the final playoff spot. Once again, the East was dominated by Toronto, New York, and Montreal. The Racers once again finished first in the conference, thanks to a big year from Alexei Yolkin, who scored 47 goals. The New York Civics also enjoyed another strong year, winning the Atlantic Division with Aaron Duplacy and Jeremy Kitchen leading the way offensively while Lamar Jackson’s steady play on the blueline earned him defenseman of the year honours. The defending champion Montreal Royale fell to third place, failing to win the Northeast Division in a year when Vincent Ducharme was sidelined for twelve games with a concussion. Just six months after their emotional departure from Halifax, the Claymores began their new life in New Orleans. The Sound won their first game against Miami, but ultimately won only 26 games. Dave Mack, who had long served as the captain in Nova Scotia, had departed for Kansas City in the off-season and the Sound struggled to find offense. The lone bright spot was young goaltender Victor Holmqvist, who won the first seven starts of his career. The Western Conference again belonged to the Chicago Shamrocks, who won 54 games. Vladimir Gaganov led the team in scoring, while Kyle Boone proved to be a valuable addition, adding 44 goals of his own. Once again it was the Los Angeles Wizards chasing the Shamrocks. Viktor Skogg won the league scoring title for the first time in his career, while Jim Cochran was spectacular in goal. Minnesota also enjoyed another strong season thanks to a 51-goal season from Jason Crowley. Crowley also further endeared himself to the Minnesota fans in a tough game in Edmonton January 5th. Northern Lights’ defenseman Dwayne Ingram laid out Pavel Vana with a devastating hit, forcing Vana out of the game. Late in the third period, Crowley fought Ingram to a draw, to the delight of the Lumberjacks fans back home. When the ‘Jacks returned to the Minneapolis Arena, Crowley received a standing ovation. Dallas and Cleveland, the league’s most recent expansion teams, didn’t fare much better in their second season than in their first. Cleveland won just won more game, though Alexei Stepanov showed huge promise. In Dallas, the Desperadoes finished with a nearly identical record to their first year, but continued to win over the fans in Texas. AJ Vernon proved to be a fan favorite, thrilling fans with his hard-nosed play, while rookie Jean-Pierre Balanger dazzled everyone with his rushing style. “We’re getting there, slowly but surely. We just need to continue to be patient” said GM Ross Becker. In Ottawa, the Beavers struggles finally caught up to them. The team was faced with bankruptcy by January and by early February, Terry Goren was forced to sell the team to the PHL. The league wasted no time finding a buyer. On March 31, Darryl Byrd announced he had sold the team to a group of investors from Charlotte, NC. The lead investor, John Millbrook, immediately announced the group’s intention to move the team to Charlotte in time for the 1996-97 season. The owners of the 27 other clubs would need to ratify the move but it appeared that the Beavers were one their last legs. April 6 was their final home game against Toronto, and like the Claymores a year earlier, the team was given an emotional send off from the home crowd. “We want to thank all of you for your support over the years” said team captain Kevin Drake. “Ottawa has the best fans in the PHL and I know there will be a team here again someday.”
  21. Is this better? I agree it was a lot of black. Thanks! and yeah, I personally never really liked the Islanders logo that much. I feel like their best logo is the simple "NY" logo on the black jersey.
  22. Hey guys, the regular season has been simulated and I've begun the playoff simulation. I just need to do the writeup for the regular season and I should be able to post that by at least Monday, if not sometime this weekend. In the meantime, I have three more logos I completely forgot to unveil. Edmonton and Long Island are both celebrating their 20th anniversary in 1996, while the Boston Bulldogs are celebrating their 75th as a franchise, dating back to 18 years before the creation of the PHL. Nothing really special about the logos, I usually keep anniversary logos as simple as possible. the only thing to point out is the eight spikes on the dog collar on Boston's logo, representing their eight Lewis Cups.
  23. Louisville could be a possibility, though they may also pursue an expansion team. I didn't include this yet in the off-season post but Byrd is already beginning to listen to potential expansion team owners. Atlanta is nearly a lock to get a team by the new millennium. For the sake of geographical balance, there will likely be two franchises added in the southeast. currently Miami (and kind of New Orleans) is the only team in the area. Altanta has been in the mix for expansion since the early 70s, but has just always lost out to stronger candidates. Byrd definitely wants Atlanta if for no other reason than it's TV presence, the challenge will be finding an owner. That is correct, the last time Ottawa made it was in 1995, the Metros' final year. It's basically a guarantee that they'll be moving, the question is where at this point. As for the Mack signing, it wouldn't make much sense nowadays, but if you place yourself back in the mid-late 1990s, it's pretty much on par with what was going on in the NHL at the time. Since players could not become UFAs until age 30 (in the NHL and PHL) the bigger contracts were often given to much older players than now. For example Wayne Gretzky signed with the Rangers for $6 Million at age 35, Jaromir Jagr also signed with the Rangers around age 35 for close to $10 Million, while Brett Hull was nearly 40 when he signed a $9 Million deal with Detroit. In Mack's case, he's 34 but still in his prime. He probably won't be worth $6 Million when his contract is up in 2000, though the way player salaries are rising, he certainly won't be the highest paid player by then either. I think KC is hoping for multiple championships in the next five years, we'll see if that actually happens though.
  24. Charlotte seems to be the strongest possibility right now. Atlanta and Norfolk are contenders too. Good catch on LA, I fixed it in the current uniforms section. Washington and Vancouver are up for rebrands next season, as well as a possible Ottawa relocation. After that I have new looks coming for St. Louis, Seattle, and a jersey update for Winnipeg although I'm not sure what order those will appear in yet. there will also be a lot more third jerseys in the coming seasons. As for Mike Hoffman, wow, that is really weird. I use a random name generator for pretty much all the draft picks every year. The fact that that name was generated for Ottawa is crazy. I decided to change it, but that is strange. It reminds me of when I used the Sens for NHL 16 (not my favorite team, just wanted to see what I could do with them) and I drafted Logan Brown, who eventually became my top center. Then the real-life Senators drafted him that spring. Very strange.
  25. 1995 Entry Draft After drafting sixth in their first draft, the Dallas Desperadoes were more than happy to win the lottery and pick number one in 1995. The Desperadoes made a surprising move, passing on the two top forwards in the draft to select defenseman Jean-Pierre Balanger. After taking center AJ Vernon in 1994, the Desperadoes now had a potential top-tier D-man. With the number two pick, Detroit took Swedish star Mikael Forsberg, who had been the youngest player in Swedish league history to score 50 goals in a season with 64. “Along with Igor (Kharitonov), we hope that someday Mikael can be one of the faces of our team” said GM Bob Gill. The Cleveland Cosmos also got another talented forward in Eric White at number three, while struggling Canadian franchises Winnipeg and Ottawa once again hoped their picks, Brendon Dawson for the Pioneers and Mike Hudson for the Beavers, would turn their fortunes around. Just before the ninth pick, a trade was announced. Ottawa had traded one of their younger stars, Todd Becker, to St. Louis in exchange for the ninth pick. The Beavers used the pick to select defenseman Olli Koistinen, who they hoped would become their franchise defenseman. Although the draft lacked a true generational talent, most of the remaining players in the first round were projected to at least be PHL regulars. 1. DAL – Jean-Pierre Balanger, D, CAN 2. DET – Mikael Forsberg, F, SWE 3. CLE – Eric White, F, CAN 4. WPG – Brendon Dawson, F, CAN 5. OTT – Mike Hudson, F, CAN 6. MIL – Matt Darwin, G, USA 7. PIT – Oleg Popov, D, RUS 8. LI – Ryan Shelton, F, USA 9. OTT (From STL) – Olli Koistinen, D, FIN 10. SEA – Scott Sherwood, F, CAN 11. VAN – Sergei Zolotov, F, RUS 12. NOS – Owen Fisher, D, USA 13. DEN – Alex Leblanc, F, CAN 14. EDM – Riley Whitt, D, CAN 15. CAL – Trevor Reuben, F, USA 16. WSH – Jordan O’Reilly, D, USA 17. MIA – Gordon Quincey, D, CAN 18. QUE – Marc Ledoux, F, CAN 19. KC – Nils Sundstrom, F, SWE 20. PHI – Andrew Cox, F, USA 21. BOS – Chris Woods, D, CAN 22. MIN – Jarkko Nurmi, G, FIN 23. CGY – Todd Clayton, F, CAN 24. MTL – Patrice Tessier, D, CAN 25. NYC – Ben Coffin, F, CAN 26. TOR – Trent Cameron, G, CAN 27. CLE (From LA) – Chris Ballard, F, USA 28. DAL (From CHI) – Glenn Holland, D, USA Notable Retirements: David Appleby, F, STL, 1974-1995 Over a spectacular 21-year career, David Appleby established himself as likely the greatest player ever to play the game. He is the only player in PHL history to score over 1000 goals with 1035 and the only one to pass 2000 points with 2218. Appleby arrived in St. Louis just five years after the PHL/GHL merger when the team was still a perennial basement dweller on the verge of relocation. In only his second season, Appleby led St. Louis to their first-ever PHL playoff berth while scoring 55 goals. By the 1980s, the Spirits had become a powerhouse, eventually winning five Lewis Cup titles between 1982 and 1991 with Appleby leading the way. The Pro Hockey Hall of Fame announced it will waive the traditional three-year waiting period to induct Appleby right away. Bruce Gratton, F, DAL/MIL, 1975-1995 After winning only twelve games in their inaugural season, the Dallas Metros selected Bruce Gratton with the first overall pick in 1975. For the following decade, the team struggled mightily in Dallas both on and off the ice before finally relocating to Milwaukee in 1985. It was in Milwaukee that Gratton and the rest of the team finally matured into a contender, eventually winning back-to-back Lewis Cups in 1988 and ’89 as well as a third finals appearance in 1992. Gratton retires as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. Jake Fairbanks, F, SEA, QUE, 1975-1995 Along with Pete Holloway, Jake Fairbanks was one of the faces of the Seattle Grey Wolves franchise throughout the late 1970s and the 1980s. The duo led Seattle to several Western Conference Finals appearances, but only one Lewis Cup Finals appearance, which they lost in 1985. In 1991, Fairbanks left Seattle and joined the Quebec Nationale. He would play four years in Quebec before retiring. Paul Needham, D, STL, 1976-1995 Though he was not as celebrated as teammates David Appleby and Grant Millen, Paul Needham played a huge role in the Spirits’ dynasty, serving as the team’s defensive backbone. Needham had offensive ability as well and proved to be a valuable powerplay quarterback over the course of his 19-year career. Scott Daffney, G, DAL/MIL, 1980-1995 Scott Daffney proved to be the difference maker when he arrived in Dallas in 1980. Soon after he entered the league, the Metros finally began making the playoffs consistently. After a relocation to Milwaukee in 1985, the team became a contender as Daffney backstopped them to two consecutive championships in 1988 and 1989. Hannes Rehnquist, MTL, 1977-1995 Rehnquist surprised everyone when he cracked the lineup of a stacked Montreal team in 1977. However it didn’t take long for the native of Malmo, Sweden to prove he belonged. Rehnquist easily won fans over with his smooth skating and passing. After some tough seasons in Montreal in the 1980s, Rehnquist became an important veteran presence on the blueline as the team once again became a powerhouse in the 1990s. Rehnquist finally hoisted the Lewis Cup in 1992, then again in 1995 before retiring. Notable Trades Boston trades F Kyle Boone to Chicago in exchange for D Steve Mathis. In the blockbuster trade of the year, two young stars and recent Lewis Cup champions are swapped for one another. Boston addresses their need on the blueline by adding top-tier defenseman Mathis, while the Shamrocks add another superstar weapon up front in Boone. Dallas trades D Reijo Rantala to Chicago in exchange for 1st round pick. Chicago completes their load-up by adding a veteran defenseman to replace Mathis, while Dallas adds a second pick in the first round to continue building. The Shamrocks now enter 1995-96 with one of the greatest teams on paper ever assembled in the PHL. Ottawa trades F Todd Becker to St. Louis in exchange for 1st round pick and G Anti Paavola Unable to afford Becker’s contract extension, the Beavers are forced to trade their budding star to the Spirits, where he is expected to take Appleby’s place. In return, Ottawa gets a solid backup goalie who will push Kevin Stroud for the number one job, and second top-ten pick. Key Free Agents Dave Mack (NS) signs five-year deal with Kansas City worth $6 Million/year. The biggest free agent signing of the summer. Mack’s presence immediately turns the Twisters into a top-tier contender as he becomes the league’s highest-paid player. Jeff Brackley (MIN) signs four-year deal with Pittsburgh worth $1 Million/year. With Christian Grayson taking over as the ‘Jack’s number one goaltender, Brackley will now try to take the starter’s job from respected veteran Jacob Martensson in Pittsburgh. Antero Parvainen (PHI) signs one-year deal with Milwaukee worth $1 Million/year. With 1995-96 likely his final PHL season, Parvainen leaves Philly (and the threat of backup Pierre Noel) after 15 seasons in the hopes of starting for the Choppers. Filip Holmgren (OTT) signs one-year deal with Denver worth $900,000/year. Wanting to finish his career with a chance to win a championship, Holmgren leaves the dormant Beavers after 18 years in Ottawa. Kevin Trainor (CHI) signs three-year with New Orleans worth $1.5 Million/year. With Mack gone, Trainor comes in to provide veteran leadership to a team facing big changes in a new location. News Only a month after the PHL said goodbye to the Nova Scotia Claymores, it appeared that their 1959 expansion cousins, the Ottawa Beavers, would meet a similar fate. In May, the Ottawa municipal government voted against funding a new arena for the team. As much as the government fully recognized the importance of the Beavers in the community, the concern was not only the arena cost but the rapidly rising cost of player salaries. There simply was not enough money. David Marriott, who had expressed interest in buying the franchise, ultimately decided against it. “It simply wouldn’t make sense at this time” said Marriott. “If there’s no arena or money for one, I can’t see this team surviving much longer in this market.” League commissioner Darryl Byrd stated that he wanted the team’s arena situation figured out by the following summer. In other arena news, The Vancouver Bighorns hoped to move into their new home by the fall of 1996. Construction had begun in early 1995. “We’re excited to enter a new era in our history” said owner Donald Smythe. “My son will soon take over the team, we’ll have a new arena next year, we’ll have a new logo next year, and hopefully we’ll be able to win a championship very soon.” Vancouver wasn’t the only team about to move to a new arena. In June, the Chicago Shamrocks broke ground for their new arena, which they hoped would be open in time for the start of the 1997-98 season. The Shamrocks have been playing in the Lincoln Sports Arena in downtown Chicago since their inception in 1930. There were a few coaching changes around the league in 1995. Philadelphia fired head coach Kurt Hopkins after seven seasons, replacing him with former Lumberjacks defenseman Clint Allen, while Toronto made a big move after yet another playoff disappointment, firing longtime head coach Dave Mills and replacing him with widely respected junior coach Bob Lacey.