hawkfan89

Professional Hockey League; A Fictional History: 2003-04 Regular Season

Recommended Posts

2001-02 Regular Season

       

 

                                            SwqjsIQ.png

 

After some key acquisitions over the summer, the New York Civics entered training camp with high hopes. Despite losing Aaron Duplacy in free agency, the Civics had signed superstar defenseman Kevin Hoyle and named veteran Lamar Jackson their new captain. On the morning of September 11, 2001, the coaching staff arrived early at the team’s new practice facility. Just as the staff was sitting down to go over the day’s practice, assistant coach Dave Tobin jumped out of his seat and ran to the window. “We were going over our lineups for training camp when I saw smoke coming from the World Trade Center” said Tobin. “We all just thought it was a bad fire, then we saw the plane hit the second one. At that point we cancelled practice.” The Civics and Concordes both postponed the start of their training camps indefinitely, while a nation picked up the pieces after suffering its most devastating attack in decades. The newest Civic was no stranger to disasters. In 1989, Hoyle was just beginning his fourth season in the league with the California Nuggets when the bay area was hit with a devastating earthquake. At just 22 years old, Hoyle showed his leadership when he, along with several teammates, went into the community to feed people who had lost their homes. Now twelve years later, Hoyle, now 34 and entering his 16th season, started Goals For Heroes initiative. For each goal the Civics scored, the players would each give $100 to New York emergency services. It wasn’t long before the Long Island Concordes joined as well, while the Washington Generals gave to their own local emergency services while also assisting those affected by the Pentagon attack.

 

Opening night saw the Civics take on their usually hated rivals, the Concordes. It was an extremely emotional night as the teams held a tribute for those who had been lost in the attacks. The entire crowd at Broadway House belted out the Star-Spangled Banner as the two rivals lined up together on the same blueline. When it was time to play hockey, the teams played a tight game, going into overtime, where new captain Lamar Jackson scored the winner. The teams then saluted the crowd together as the crowd gave them a nearly 10-minute standing ovation. “It was important to get that win” said Jackson. “Of every game we’ve ever played, we had to win that one for this city.”

 

Teams across the league held tributes for the victims of the September 11th attacks, and in Montreal, the Royale also held a tribute for likely the greatest player ever to wear the double red. Vincent Ducharme’s number 55 was raised to the rafters. “It was my childhood dream to play in Montreal for the Royale.” Said Ducharme. “I never expected it to go the way it did and I feel very lucky to have the career I had.” In their first post-Ducharme season, the Royale played well, taking advantage of a very weak Northeast Division to finish first in the Division with new addition Aaron Duplacy enjoying a strong first season in Montreal. Part of the reason for Montreal’s successful season was the disastrous season in Toronto. The Racers wasted a 46-goal effort from Joe Murdock as well as a 60-point year from Randy Fernandez and plummeted to 13th place in the Eastern Conference with 29 wins. Goaltender Jake Borman struggled after returning from an early injury but most of the blame was placed on the Racers’ depth players, and ultimately, on head coach Bob Lacey. Lacey was dismissed immediately after the season ended. The Washington Generals suffered a horrific season as well, unable to patch the hole in net after losing Jake Borman, the Generals allowed more goals than any other team in the league. Just two years removed from appearing in the Lewis Cup Finals, the Generals dropped all the way to second-last in the East. While the Racers and Generals plummeted, the New Orleans Sound took advantage and finally reached the Lewis Cup playoffs for the first time since their days in Nova Scotia. Brad McNair finished second overall in league scoring, while Darren Reid added a strong season of his own with 90 points. “This is huge for this franchise” said owner Sam Bendt. “I knew we would get there eventually.”

 

UPnkzrM.png

The defending champion Philadelphia Redshirts defended their Conference title on the strength of another big year from new captain Jared Baxter, but the biggest story in the East was the Miami Stingrays, who rose to second place in the Eastern Conference. One of the biggest reasons for the Stingrays’ big year was a stunning season from 27-year-old Eric Moon. Moon’s point totals increased from 69 points in 2000-01 to an incredible 118 points in 2001-02. Moon established himself as the league’s ultimate power forward, becoming the first player since George Allen in the 1950s with over 150 penalty minutes to win the scoring title.

 

For the first time since 1994-95, the league welcomed two new franchises, as the Atlanta Copperheads and Portland Cascades finally made their debut. In Atlanta, Coastal Airlines arena was sold out for the opening game. After an over-the-top pre-game show that even featured a snake charmer, the players finally emerged from a giant snake head to Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road”. When the game finally started, the Copperheads treated their fans to a 2-1 win over the Carolina Raiders. Meanwhile, the Portland Cascades opened their season on the road with a loss to Vancouver, before beating the Bighorns in their first home game by a surprising score of 7-1. Both teams enjoyed strong seasons, both finishing 12th in their respective conferences, with Atlanta finishing with 30 wins, just four points out of a playoff spot. “It’s huge for us to have a big first year” said veteran defenseman Jason Driscoll. Driscoll would not see the end of the year in Atlanta, however. On March 3, just two days prior to the trade deadline, Driscoll was dealt to the contending Kansas City Twisters, who were looking to add to their defensive depth.

 

For the New York teams, it was a tough, emotional season. The Civics dropped a bit in the standings but still made the playoffs. Long Island won fewer games than the previous season, but still finished just two points out of a playoff spot, missing out on the final day of the season. The Boston Bulldogs also finally returned to the post-season thanks to an 11-point improvement. Scott Rose led the team in scoring, while rookie Chris Haines was nominated for Rookie of the Year.

 

 

One of the special moments of the 2001-02 season came on boxing day, when the PHL went outside for the first time in its’ history. It was minus 10 in Chicago as the Shamrocks faced the Toronto Racers at Madison Field. The Racers won a tight game in overtime with Joe Murdock scoring the winner, but the real highlight was the legends game that was played earlier. Legends from both teams took the ice again for the first time in years including Mark Benson, Rex Hull, and Charlie Fisher for Toronto, and Vladimir Gaganov, Don Newman, and even 76-year old Don Saleski for Chicago. Saleski played one short shift and earned a standing ovation from the crowd of 72,000. “What a great event” said Saleski.

 

Minnesota owned the West with 55 wins, as Jason Crowley finished fifth in league scoring. The Lumberjacks at one point went 19 games without a loss and only tied once during that stretch. The Kansas City Twisters also had another big year, winning the Central Division and finishing second in the West, While Seattle defended their Pacific title and took third place in the West. The Grey Wolves also had a new rival in 2001-02, as the Portland Cascades became the third team to reside in the Pacific Northwest. On February 24, the two teams met in Portland, where the Wolves jumped to a 7-0 lead. Portland responded by putting three of their tough guys out to start the third period. After the inevitable line brawl, Seattle responded by sending out 6’3” 246-pound enforcer Scott Sherwood. Sherwood grabbed Cascades’ rookie defenseman Jyrki Rainimak, luring scrappy Portland winger Troy Dowdy. Sherwood and Dowdy fought for nearly two minutes in one of the most entertaining fights ever while the crowd went wild. “That was old-time hockey right there” said Portland coach Rick Camford.

 

The Dallas Desperados also continued to improve, earning 90 points for the first time in their history, while the Milwaukee Choppers returned to the playoffs after a disappointing 2000-01 season. Adam Wyrzykowski enjoyed a terrific sophomore season playing on a line with team captain Brent Zahorsky. Wyrzykowski scored 40 goals and created a buzz throughout Milwaukee. His jersey outsold all the other Choppers while fans struggled to pronounce his name. “He really is developing into a great player” said Zahorsky. “He’s fun to play with.” While Milwaukee returned to the post-season, Oakland dropped out for the first time since 1994. Key losses over the summer took their toll on the Nuggets, especially the loss of captain Kevin Hoyle and goaltender Bradley Pope. The Nuggets battled the LA Wizards and the Vancouver Bighorns all year for the final playoff spot, until an 11-game losing streak put them out of contention by mid-march. There were bright spots though. Greg Willis played well in net, earning five shutouts to lead the league, while young defensemen Jordan Rifkin and Evan Butler both showed promise.

 

By the end of the season, one player had everyone’s attention and that player was not in the PHL. The Prairie Major Junior Hockey League’s Kris Nazerenko set a new league scoring record with 207 points while leading the Lethbridge Tornadoes to a number one ranking across the country. Nazerenko was projected to go first overall in the 2002 PHL draft, and as the playoff teams prepared for a run for the Cup, teams like Edmonton, Denver, and Cleveland hoped to land the player everyone believed could turn a franchise around.

 

           lhSyCkP.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great season for all. My ideal finals matchup would be Miami-Seattle, which really surprises me as to how well the Stingrays did this year. As a shot in the dark, I'm going with Denver picking up Nazerenko in the draft. Maybe by that point they'll rebrand their identity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Shamrocks are just never going to miss the playoffs, are they?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jimmy Lethal said:

Do Something by JimmyLethal

We will make the playoffs eventually....hopefully...someday maybe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Cardinal said:

We will make the playoffs eventually....hopefully...someday maybe

Have the Concordes always been a losing team?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, neo_prankster said:

Have the Concordes always been a losing team?

 

They do have a Cup. They've only made the playoffs once since the '90s brand update, I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Jimmy Lethal said:

 

They do have a Cup. They've only made the playoffs once since the '90s brand update, I think.

 

Yikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, RightGuard said:

Great season for all. My ideal finals matchup would be Miami-Seattle, which really surprises me as to how well the Stingrays did this year. As a shot in the dark, I'm going with Denver picking up Nazerenko in the draft. Maybe by that point they'll rebrand their identity.

Denver was originally slated to rebrand around 2010 or so, but due to the lack of success in the current unis, I think you'll see a new look in the next few seasons, maybe when the new uniform template comes out in the next 3-4 years.

 

15 hours ago, ChicagoOakland said:

The Shamrocks are just never going to miss the playoffs, are they?

It's hard to say when the streak will end. They're like the Red Wings in this universe, they've drafted very well and have become one of the most attractive free agent destinations in the league. I think it will catch up to them at some point though.

 

11 hours ago, Jimmy Lethal said:

 

They do have a Cup. They've only made the playoffs once since the '90s brand update, I think.

1999 where they lost to Montreal. That's one of the reasons for the rebrand this year, the teal and purple have only been associated with losing and the team wanted to reference the glory days. I was actually expecting them to get back to the playoffs this year but they were just squeezed out by other surprising teams in a competitive Eastern Conference. I think they'll be back soon enough.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will the PHL stay at 30 teams for the forseeable future?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, neo_prankster said:

Will the PHL stay at 30 teams for the forseeable future?

Probably for about a decade or so, There may be some relocations during that time though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, hawkfan89 said:

Probably for about a decade or so, There may be some relocations during that time though.

 

As of the 2001-02 season, what are the current venues for each team. I'm interested in who has the oldest or least popular arenas in the league and which teams have expiring leases.

 

It would be a shame, for example, to see the Wizards leave LA even though their back to back cup victories are so far in the rear view mirror now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of the Wizards, I wonder if Warner Bros is still coming out with Harry Potter this year. Maybe the HP theme could inspire a new identity package, or a new entrance at the Staples Center or its fictional equivalent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Wizards, along with the Spirits and Choppers, actually just moved into a new arena this season, I just forgot to mention in in the post. All arenas, past and present, can be found here:

http://phlnetwork.blogspot.ca/p/team-information.html

 

No new arenas next season, but Seattle will have a new one in time for 2003-04, and Calgary is in the final planning stages for theirs, which will likely come around 2005-2006. Toronto is also working towards getting a new building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, hawkfan89 said:

The Wizards, along with the Spirits and Choppers, actually just moved into a new arena this season, I just forgot to mention in in the post. All arenas, past and present, can be found here:

http://phlnetwork.blogspot.ca/p/team-information.html

 

No new arenas next season, but Seattle will have a new one in time for 2003-04, and Calgary is in the final planning stages for theirs, which will likely come around 2005-2006. Toronto is also working towards getting a new building.

 

Thanks for the link.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are some of the hot relocation options? And who are some candidates to relocate within the next few years? Also, as Katrina is in the very near future, what are the chances of the Sound having to play in a different city for a year? Houston, Memphis, OKC or Tulsa seem like good options.

 

The Bulls not changing untill 2010? Damn...I hope you do change them before then. The look isn’t anything special. When I think Denver Bulls, I think green and red. Kind of hope they go back. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, hawkfan89 said:

1999 where they lost to Montreal. That's one of the reasons for the rebrand this year, the teal and purple have only been associated with losing and the team wanted to reference the glory days. I was actually expecting them to get back to the playoffs this year but they were just squeezed out by other surprising teams in a competitive Eastern Conference. I think they'll be back soon enough.

 

You keep saying that... oh, also, how's the signature graphic coming along?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Cardsblues02 said:

What are some of the hot relocation options? And who are some candidates to relocate within the next few years? Also, as Katrina is in the very near future, what are the chances of the Sound having to play in a different city for a year? Houston, Memphis, OKC or Tulsa seem like good options.

 

The Bulls not changing untill 2010? Damn...I hope you do change them before then. The look isn’t anything special. When I think Denver Bulls, I think green and red. Kind of hope they go back. 

 

 

 

 

Houston and Ottawa are probably the top options right now although Memphis isn't far behind. The Sound making the playoffs this season certainly helps delay a possible relocation, but it's still hard to say if the team will even survive Katrina. 

 

The Bulls were originally going to keep the current colours until about 2010, then switch when the retro trend really takes over, but I think now they'll probably at least switch to the old Red and Green colours as early as 2004-2005 if only because the current scheme has become so associated with losing.

 

1 hour ago, Jimmy Lethal said:

 

You keep saying that... oh, also, how's the signature graphic coming along?

 

I should have a chance to work on some sigs tomorrow so hopefully I'll have that one done. I've had a couple requests but I think yours was next so I'll try to have that done tomorrow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great season for the Shamrocks again, and I was hoping for the Nationale to make the playoffs. 

    

Maybe next year??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now