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North American Markball League; A Fictional Sport & A Fictional History: 1966 NAML Season

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1965 Urquhart Cup

Date: September 25, 1963

Location: Arnold Shannon Stadium, Milwaukee, WI

Weather: 79°F (26°C), Clear, Light air

Attendance: 54,172

 

Milwaukee was buzzing with excitement on the last Saturday of September, with the city hosting its second ever Urquhart Cup game. Several Bandits supporter groups made the 6 hour drive to Milwaukee, as well as some Nationals supporters. In the end, the Stadium was mostly Dragons supporters, but each team had supporters on their respective sides of the field. 

 

Despite many analysts predicting Toronto would be the team that would have the better start, it was the opposite, as the Bandits won the opening bounce, held possession for a couple of minutes, then finished a rush, with Hugh Westbrook kicking a long ball past Andy Kappert. On the very next rush, Westbrook kicked another goal from a tight angle. The Nats would respond with two quick points, but couldn't beat Rudy Nicholas otherwise. 8 minutes in, Westbrook kicked another goal from a tough angle, making it 12-2. The Bandits would add a couple points to take a 12-point lead halfway through the quarter. Soon after the second point, Westbrook amazingly deflected a corner kick past Kappert, his fourth of the game only 12 minutes in. After James Jogi kicked a point for the Nats, Westbrook would kick yet another goal, tying the record for most goals by one player in a quarter. In the dying seconds, Daniel Thorn punched a shot past Kappert, making the score 26-3 for Michigan after 1. Toronto had never really gotten a chance to settle into this one, and it showed, as they only had 7 minutes of possession all quarter.

After 1: Michigan 26, Toronto 3

 

Toronto coach Marcel Jannard made statement to start the second, replacing the struggling Kappert with rookie Abraham Jackson who had only 1 game of NAML experience prior. The statement seemed to be taken by the Nats early on, with struggling George Howlack kicking Toronto's first goal of the game 3 minutes in. However, the Bandits would come back strong, with Westbrook scoring his 6th goal of the game, as well as a point. There would be a long period with no scoring, and both goalies came up big, making key saves and not letting anything get past them, until Theo Krakowski wired a shot off the post and past the pointline for Toronto. On the ensuing rush, Westbrook continued his crazy game, volleying his seventh of the game past Jackson. However, the Nats would obtain the momentum for the final few minutes, managing to get some shots directed at Nicholas, but Krakowski was the only one who managed to beat him, punching one in between the middle posts. Nats fans were hoping that maybe this momentum could lead to a breakout in the second half, but they weren't holding their breath. 

At the half: Michigan 36, Toronto 12

 

The first score of the third quarter came only 19 seconds in, with Thorn finishing a quick rush with a chip shot over Jackson. 2 minutes later, Westbrook tried for an 8th goal, but Jackson stood tall, just getting a fingertip to it and deflecting it for a point. After a couple more Bandits points, as well as a missed penalty by Thorn, James Jogi, who was having a surprisingly quiet game, wired a curling shot just beneath the bar, making it 43-16. Toronto hoped that they could turn this spark into a fire, but any potential momentum they had was lost as Westbrook potted his 8th of the match on the very next rush. 2 minutes later, the Stallions looked to finally be hitting a rhythm as Howlack converted a penalty past Nicholas. The final 11 minutes of the quarter were relatively slow, with few shots by both teams. The only scoring for the rest of the quarter were three Bandits points, increasing their lead to 28 heading into the final 21 minutes. 

After 3: Michigan 49, Toronto 21

 

Bandits coach Grad Rox told his players to focus on defense for the final quarter, in case the Nats caught fire. Despite the tight defensive formation by the Bandits, Jogi still managed to break tackles and kick his second of the game 2 mintues in. The two teams traded points over the next few minutes, then Thorn sent Westbrook on a breakaway for the Bandits. Jackson, who was known for being an aggressive goalie, came out to challenge him, catching him off guard. as a result he turned the ball over, giving the Nats a chance to get a goal. However, a shot by Krakowski missed wide only resulting in a point. at the 9-minute mark, Thorn had a good chance to get his third of the game, but he also missed wide. The final score of the game came with 9 minutes left to play, when a Jogi shot deflected off Wally Inger and past the pointline. The rest of the game was slow, with the Bandits basically playing keepaway with the Nats. as the final whistle went, the Bandits once again stormed the field, becoming the first team in NAML history to complete a three-peat, and their 6th Urquhart Cup overall.

Final Score: Michigan 51, Toronto 28

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Final Bracket:

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It was an obvious choice that Hugh Westbrook would receive the Urquhart Cup MVP medal for the second consecutive year, as he smashed the previous record for most goals in the championship game, as well as single-handedly outscoring the opposing team. "I don't remember what my pre-game meal was, but whatever it was, I need to start eating it more often" he joked following the game. 

 

In the annual commisioner's post-game conference, Patrick Urquhart shocked the Markball world by announcing he was stepping down as commissioner. "I am now starting to get to the stage of life where I am unable to keep up with the demands of this job. For the better of this league, I will open my spot up to a motivated person ready to help make markball better than it has ever been". He told reporters following the game. Urquhart also announced that they would announce his successor in the offseason.

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Toronto just can't catch a break, can they? pair that up with the Bandits' success, and you get a good old-fashioned blowout. I think the Bandits can continue this great run and even make it 4 in a row next year.

 

Fun fact about the game: Westbrook score 8.2, or 34 points, 6 more than the entire Nationals team.

 

C&C is appreciated!

 

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1965 NAML Offseason

 

Urquhart Announces his successor as NAML Commissioner

In early December, Patrick Urquhart announced that the NAML's new head of operations would be a man by the name of Peter Merle. Merle is a self-made millionaire, and was head of Merle Architects, an architecture firm responsible for the building of several buildings and stadium in the District. "I will do my best to help promote this great sport and keep it entertaining for years to come." He said to reporters at the league's headquarters. Merle also said that his first couple years as commissioner would see little change in the rules and teams, but after that, he hoped that there would be plenty of expansion options heading into the 70's.

 

Hounds, Guardians exchange young talents

Early in the offseason, two struggling teams traded rookie players with high expectations, hoping that they can solve current issues and be key parts in their franchise's futures. Boston sent goalkeeper Georg Wahlsten to the West Coast, while LA sent forward Virgil Karski to Beantown. Wahlsten is a calm 6'5" keeper who knows almost always exactly what to do under pressure, while Karski is a quiet but talented full forward, who led the CML's Fort Wayne Summits in scoring last year with 36 goals.

 

3 Teams hire new head coaches

After disappointing performances in 1965, three teams decided to send a message to their players by firing their coaches. In Boston, The Hounds replaced 5-year coach Gene Favser with former Hounds player Malcom Bardson, The Guardians replaced inaugural coach Blimpie Tanian with Alexander Lucas, while the St. Louis Gatekeepers announced former superstar Arnold Lejoscasa as former coach Frank Boyd's successor. 

 

League Officials discuss proposal for Markball Hall of Fame

Over the course of the offseason, the NAML's highest executives met several times to discuss the possibility of the league opening a markball hall of fame in the next years. according to commissioner Merle, the meetings went "very well" and that there was a "really good chance" that the idea could become a reality in the near future.

 

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The season will hopefully be up later this week.

 

Any C&C is appreciated!

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+1 on the Hall of Fame

 

Also, I preemptively vote for Tampa, FL (my home city) in the eventual next round of expansion.

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Before I start this season post, I'm trying out a new format for the season post, with shorter summaries of each team's results. That way more of the storyline can take place in the playoffs. Any thoughts on whether I should keep it this way or go back to my old one are appreciated!

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1966 NAML Season

The NAML's 20th season kicked off with a tripleheaders of original 6 matchups, including an upset 46-28 St. Louis win over Chicago, a 49-39 Michigan victory against the Falcons, and a tight 31-29 Toronto win over Washington. The second day saw the expansion teams face off, and included a 49-48 barnburner win for Boston over Los Angeles, a 43-31 road victory in Montreal for the Walleye, and a 42-29 Dragons win against the Knights in New York.

 

Western Division:

  • Looking to win their fourth straight Urquhart Cup, the Bandits came out flying and never looked back, finishing first with a 17-5-0 record. Hugh Westbrook would lead the way for them up front, winning another Len Garey Trophy with 49 goals.
  • The Crusaders posted their best record since the league expanded to 22 games, earning themselves the right to host the first-round game. Their best player was Andy Bonsaigh, who had himself a career year at midfield.
  • The Dragons surprisingly took the final spot, securing it in the final week in front of an energetic home crowd. Frank Schermini continued getting better and better, potting a career high 45 goals, good for third in the league.
  • In fourth were the Minnesota Walleye, who despite having the league's best defense, just missed out on the playoffs, and would've been playing a home game the following week had they been in the eastern conference. Calvin Black had another fantastic year, earning him second straight Chester Harland award.
  • It was a weird year for the 5th-place Guardians, who had a great start, winning 5 of their first seven games. However, they couldn't keep it up, and wound up finishing with 29 points, still a franchise-best. Young keeper Georg Wahlsten played near the end, and shows flashes of brilliance through tough games.
  • In St. Louis, it was another year to forget. An injury to Julius Utimma in week 3 basically sealed their fate early on, Only winning twice all year, and being winless on the road. However, coach Arnold Lejoscasa remained confident that his group could pick up their play in 1967.

Eastern Division:

  • Finishing atop the East were the Philadelphia Falcons, who were also first league-wide. Amazing seasons from nearly all their players gave them their first first-round bye since 1960. Charles Jamison's crazy year in net gave him the Ben Legrand award for best goalkeeper.
  • In the capital, the Warriors proved that their previous two years were flukes and that they were a true playoff team. Jim Gardenar continued his crazy play, and gave new life to some veteran players, helping them finish on a three-game win streak.
  • In Boston, the Hounds finally got their act together, and a year after finishing dead last, were now fighting in the playoffs. Vinnie McClelland and Howard Tremble were the best players for the Hounds during the season.
  • In Toronto, the season that numerous writers had predicted since the start of the decade finally happened, as the Nats fell and fell hard. After a mediocre start, Toronto fell apart in the second half, only winning one of their last 8 games. 
  • For the Knights, it was back to the basement, as they continued costistently being inconsistent after a playoff berth. Despite a great year from Carmelo Dunn, none of the other players seemed to play with 110% effort as New York faltered to a 5-win season.
  • In Montreal, an aging team was too slow compared to the others, and couldn't keep leads or finish comebacks. No player really stood out among the rest as The Paulies faltered to a dissapointing 4-17-1 record, including a 27-point loss to St. Louis.

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The 1966 NAML Awards were given to:

Chester Harland Award (League MVP): Calvin Black, WB, MIN

Len Garey Memorial Trophy (Top Goalkicker)Hugh Westbrook, FF, MCH (49 goals)

Benjamin Legrand Award (Best Goalkeeper): Charles Jamison, PHI

 

Rivalry Cup Winners:

Colonial Trophy: Washingto(Won both games against Philadelphia)

St. Laurent Cup: Montreal (Split series with Toronto, outscored them 69-54)

I-94 Series: Milwaukee (split series with Chicago, outscored them 78-68)

 

Notable Events:

  • Falcons defender Bruce Williams, who laid a vicious hit behind the play on Montreal player Michael Jones the previous year, was kicked off the team during the pre-season.
  • The NAML announced that due to a spike in fouls prior to jump-balls, they would be adding a larger circle around the small one, that only a certain number of players could enter prior to the restarting of play.
  • Minnesota's reserve team was barred from entering the CML postseason after they fielded an ineligible player during the season.

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Once again, any thoughts on this new format are appreciated!

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Wow, my guardians are really not doing well at all in the sixties. At least the Capitals are goo-

 

Oh right. They haven’t won a cup since 1950. 😒

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Definitely loving separating the teams out by bullet point. Makes everything much easier to follow, especially at a glance.

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