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Old 12-06-2015, 07:53 AM   #1
monochameleon
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Premier League of Hockey



This thread is about the history and play of Premier League of Hockey, 1985 onwards, a rival competition to the NHL in North America.

Last edited by monochameleon; 12-22-2015 at 05:55 AM. Reason: Standings post
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:26 PM   #2
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League History

Code:
Year    Champions   Runners Up    Premiers
1986    Manitoba    Calgary       New York

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Old 12-07-2015, 01:49 AM   #3
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December 21st 1984

History of the Atlantic Hockey League


Founded in 1900, the Atlantic Hockey League's founding members were the Halifax Hunters, the New York Players, the Chicago Athletics Club, the Charlottetown Islanders, the Lehigh Valley Hockey Club, and the Toronto Greenshirts. The early seasons were dominated by the Hunters, who won seven championships between 1902 and 1910. Though the Hunters won two more championships after this, they were never as consistently successful again, and the pressure of being a very small market team took its toll, leading to the team being the first to fold in 1942.


The Charlottetown Islanders have won the championship six times, most recently in 1985. Though never a dynastic team, the Islandrs have made the playoffs 39 times and are almost always competitive. The Toronto Greenshirts – now Aces – have had a much more changeable time of it. The Greenshirts have only won three championships and made 24 playoff appearances. Of the Founding Four, the Aces are the least successful, with a 2331/2526 record. But they benefit from good loyalty in a huge market that has always kept them afloat.


The New York Players existed from foundation to 1983 and won 13 championships. They were the home of Zak Miles, the league's leading point scorer, for his most prolific seasons. The Players folded in dramatic circumstances in 1983 as financial mismanagement and the struggles of the league at large to compete with the NHL left them unable to continue despite their obvious on-ice talent which had led them to back-to-back premierships in 1980 and 1981.


Lehigh Valley Hockey Club – known since 1971 as the Phantoms – became the league's second dynasty when they won five premierships between 1930 and 1936. The club have won 11 in total, most recently in 1984.


The Chicago Athletics Club, now the Chicago Cougars, have won 6 premierships over their time in the league, although none since 1966. Due to the destruction of their home building, Heights Arena, the team moved to St. Louis between 1917 and 1926, when the city of Chicago brought them back with the International Amphitheatre. Like the Greenshirts, home fan loyalty has kept the club alive at times when they might otherwise struggle. A team with a strong goaltending tradition, Vaclav Kiriz remains one of the team's all time greats.


The league expanded for the first time in 1906 when it added the Pittsburgh Knights and Ottawa Nationals. The Knights would lead a turbulent existence: they were never successful or attractive at the box office in Pittsburgh, leading to a move in 1913 to Detroit where they became the Michigan Gold. Their first year in Detroit brought them their first championship, however, success was the exception, not the rule, and the Michigan club eventually moved to Oakland though retained the Gold moniker. In Oakland, the club won three further championships in 1929, 1933 and 1950, but fan loyalty fluctuated and eventually, in 1964, the club folded.


The Nationals, however, have won more championships than any other club: 14 in total. They have also been runners-up a further 14 times, a league record. Their most dominant periods were in the 1920s, under the leadership of team all-time scoring leader Austin Couture, and the late-'30s/early-'40s, when they were captained by goalie Kenneth Jensen, who is the team's all time best goalkeeper, holding club records for GAA, save percentage, wins and shutouts.


In 1934, the league expanded again, with two clubs that are completely intertwined: the Vancouver Giants and the Seattle Warriors. The two teams rose quickly through the league, and Vancouver won their first championship in 1940. But the rivalry between these two teams became legendary in the early 1950s when both were consistently among the best in the league: from 1950 to 1964, one or the other was in the final every year except once (1953). The two teams played each other in the playoffs every year except twice (1953 and 1956) during this period, and in the finals four times, splitting these appearances two each. The rivalry cooled slightly in 1968 when the Warriors, seeking better financial climes, moved to Winnipeg and became the Manitoba Warriors, but the two teams are still often though of as a pair and match-ups between the two are always entertaining.


In 1979, the disbanding of the WHA left the Quebec Nordiques and New England Whalers all dressed up with nowhere to go, and the Whalers opted to join the Atlantic League, which had shrunk to eight teams in 1964 with the end of the Oakland Gold franchise. The Whalers are a particularly promising franchise, arriving virtually pre-built as a franchise meaning that they were able to win their first two titles in 1982 and 1983, missing out on a third in 1984 with a finals loss to the Phantoms.


Finally, in 1980, the league added the San Francisco Arrows to give California a team in the league for the first time since Oakland folded. The Arrows are yet to make the playoffs.


In 1985, the league merged with the Mountain Hockey Association to become the Premier Hockey League.


History of the Mountain Hockey Association

The Mountain Hockey Association was formed in 1959 for play in the 1960/61 season by three clubs: the Colorado Eagles, the St. Paul Cardinals and the Michigan Stags. Before play began, the league had expanded to six teams, with the Calgary Mustangs, the Seattle Nightmare and the Los Angeles Sharks joining the league. The Eagles won five of the first six championships, largely thanks to the efforts of Carter Battistelli, who epitomised the Eagles' brutal, physical game and led them in scoring through this period. The Eagles cooled after this, winning again in 1972 but recently going through a renaissance that included four more championships, most notably three back-to-back in 1982, 83 and 84.


The Calgary Mustangs were the other highlight team in the early years. As well as winning the second championship in the league's history, they then appeared in six finals on the trot between 1966 and 1971, winning back-to-back titles in 1967 and 1968. Since their fourth win, in 1974, the Mustangs have been been less successful, appearing only in four further playoff campaigns, despite the efforts of their stalwart team hero Bob Fischer, who is rapidly approaching retirement.


The LA Sharks brightest moment came in 1979 when they finally won the championship in just their second trip to the finals, their first having been in the first ever season of the league. Hopes of further success seem to have been dashed by the departure of star player Jakob Hjerpe, who was traded to the Montreal Victoire in 1981 on the basis that he had started to fade. This didn't stop him from adding a further points award (1982) and goal scorer award (1985) that the Sharks could have sorely used. This phenomenon has been referred to by the Sharks fans as “having been struck down with Hjerpes”.


The St. Paul Cardinals have the second best record in the league, with 6 championships, four of them coming in a dynasty-worthy run 1975-78. Their team's greatest star during this period was unquestionably power-forward Luca Charron, who won MVP twice and playoff MVP three times. The Seattle Nightmare's single championship came in 1969, which was the culmination of a decade of hard work in which they had been one of the unluckiest teams in the league, having played 7 playoffs and reaching the finals only the once. Since that championship, the team quickly faded, reaching only 7 more playoffs and no more finals.


The Michigan Stags were the most consistent team in the league for quite some time, appearing in every post-season between 1964 and 1980 except 1976. They managed only two championships in this time – 1971 and 73 – and five premierships. The Stags best era was anchored by Will Lobban – a star centre who leads the team for points until his trade to the Colorado Eagles in 1974 – and Alexander Hedlund, the team's leading goal scorer.


In 1970, the league expanded to 8 teams, adding sides in New York and Montreal, moving the teams out of the mountains and into the east. The Montreal Champions are yet to encounter any major success, having finished in the bottom three every year from 1971 to 1979, but solid drafting led them to five straight playoff runs between 1980 and 1984, only to drop back to last place in 1985.


The New York Centrals, meanwhile, have had more sporadic success. Only 5 playoff campaigns, spread over their entire lifespan, leading to their first ever championship, and the only Mountain League expansion club victory in 1985. The Centrals star player, Steven Shinault, was their first major success in drafting, having been taken at number 1 in 1972. He went on to win Rookie of the Year in 1974 and finally Playoff MVP and Defenceman of the Year in the Central's 1985 championship season.


In 1979, the Quebec Nordiques joined the league from the WHA, but many players left the side, leading to the Nordiques needing to rebuild during the early 1980s. As yet, they have finished in the playoffs only once, in 1984.


On January 1st 1985, the Mountain Hockey Association confirmed a deal with the Atlantic Hockey League to merge, founding the Premier League Hockey organisation.


NEW YORK, NY: Quinn MacMurray, president of the Atlantic Hockey League, and Jason Walker, president of the Mountain Hockey Association, tonight confirmed that the two leagues have worked out a merger deal that will see them continue as a joint-venture for at least the next five seasons.

Talk of the possible merger began as long ago as 1967, when the NHL expansion threatened the western-oriented Mountain Association, but only truly reached fever pitch two years ago, when the New York Players of the Atlantic League announced that they would be forced to fold despite having one of the most successful teams in the league at the time.

The new league, to be called Premier League Hockey, will use the two existing leagues as conferences. The leagues will remain semi-independent, but will play inter-league games and a mid-season all-star fixture.

MacMurray, a huge champion for the merger since his election to the post of President in 1981, said that the successful negotiations were "a relief."

"I'm glad we can stop worrying as much about the administration and get back to the hockey," he said.

"We've just ensured that a lot of guys - players, coaches, administrators, you name it - still have a job next year, and for a few years after that."

Both leagues have felt the pressure of the National Hockey League since the 1967 expansion put that league on a larger stage. The abortive WHA, from which each league inherited a team, also caused both leagues headaches.

The new league will be administered from New York, as an extension of the older Atlantic League offices. New awards will be issued and the previous individual awards will retire with their leagues, though the top team in each league will still receive their championship trophies: the Harris Shield for the Mountain League and the St. Lawrence Trophy for the Atlantic League. Two new, as yet un-named team awards will also be issued: one for the winner of the playoffs and another for the team with the best regular-season record across the two leagues.

Both leagues will finish out the 1985 season using their current formats, before joining together for the 1985/86 season.

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Old 12-07-2015, 03:08 AM   #4
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6th June 1985

NEW YORK, NY: The Premier League of Hockey has confirmed that their complete new set of awards will be headed by the Cameron Phillips Memorial Trophy, to be awarded to the team that wins the playoff between the Mountain League and the Atlantic League.

Cameron Phillips, owner of the Ottawa Nationals since 1975 having inherited the team from his father James, was a fierce campaigner for the inter-league merger, and celebrated loudly on New Years Day this year when he was at the merger signing.

Sadly, he would not live to see play in the merged league he worked so hard for, as he passed away of a heart attack on February 9th this year. He was 51. The new trophy will be named in his honor.

The other new team trophy will be the Premier's Cup, to be given to the regular season champions.

Trophies:
Phillips Memorial Trophy - League champions
Harris Shield - Mountain League Playoff Champions
St. Lawrence Trophy - Atlantic League Playoff Champions
Premier's Cup - Regular season champions

James Pierce Trophy - League MVP
Austin Couture Award - Playoff MVP
Kenneth Jensen Trophy - Best Goalie, as voted by the league
Mathieu Lorenc Award - Most Goals in a Season
Jakob Hjerpe Trophy - Most Points in a Season
Quinn MacMurray Award - Defenceman of the Year
Bob Fischer Award - Defensive Forward of the Year Award
James Burgess Award - Coach of the Year
Maurice Johnstone Memorial Award - Rookie of the Year
John Rowe Award - Goals Against Award
Matthew Wade Award - Save Percentage Award
Luke Montogomery Award - Plus/minus award

[OUT OF UNIVERSE NOTE: So I played the full histories of both the Mountain League and the Atlantic League and named the Awards after the notable players from both. I had wanted to break down detailed stats for the teams coming into the merger - but the game crashed and wiped the Atlantic League stats, so all I've got is the champions and finalists for each season. Next few posts will cover pre-season and then we'll get into the regular season. I hope someone - anyone - is enjoying this. I wanted to do some writing and this seemed like a fun way to try something new and different.]
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:43 AM   #5
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This look interesting. I'll certainly be following.
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Old 12-07-2015, 06:24 PM   #6
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September 18th 1985



SEASON PREVIEW: 1985/86 Premier League Hockey

The first ever season of the Premier League of Hockey is about to get underway. Today in the Hockey Times, we take a look at the four divisions and see who might win the flags, who might lead the scoring, and what impact interleague play will have on the new merged league.

ATLANTIC LEAGUE EAST


The Atlantic League East Division would appear to be the closest division in the entire league. Four of the five teams have played in the Atlantic League final over the last two years, and even the Ottawa Nationals made back to back finals just a few years ago, in 1980 and 1981. That said, it all may not appear as close as you'd think.

The Ottawa Nationals have gone 6-1 in the pre-season, losing only to interleague rivals the Montreal Victory. The obvious star of the Nationals is new captain Trevor Spivak, first-line left-wing. Former captain Paul Plummer is still with the time, but suggested in an interview after the Montreal game that he would prefer to finish off his career as a player, not a captain. The Nationals will be concerned principally about their lack of depth. Brandon Moore is a promising goalie with a great deal of potential but the best back-up the Nats can muster appears to be Keegan Steiert. The Nationals may take a swipe at the championship this year, but within a few years we will probably be seeing them rebuild. Look for the Nats to finish fourth in the division.

The Charlottetown Islanders would like to defend their St. Lawrence Trophy, and have the line-up to do it. A first three consisting of Matias Malmivaara, Andrey Ostafiyev and Erik Mather will not only give the commentators some concerns but also many of the league's goalies. Star defender Johan Jonsson and young prospect Mikhel Sell, freshly called up from a great season last year with the Novascotia Tridents in the minors, will provide some solid defence. Unlike Ottawa, however, Charlottetown also have the depth to go far: Derek Power is now 32 but shows no signs of slowing, Zak Makin would be a captain and first line centre on many teams in this league, and defenders such as Jeff Fields and Connor Maxwell will back up well in the long stretch of February. One trade the Islanders could stand to make is for a better goaltender: Thomas Talley will start for them but Dan Dubielewicz is back-up at best, if Talley is injured there will be trouble. Charlottetown should trade for the best young goaltender they can find. If the Islanders can get a solid backup tender, they could come first in the division, failing that, look for them to finish second.

After winning back-to-back St. Lawrence Trophies in 1982 and 1983, the New England Whalers are deep in a rebuilding phase. Bob Clemens, now 36, will captain the Whalers for what must be approaching the last time. Players like Clemens and Bill Chaundy will lead one of the youngest teams in the league, with upcoming stars such as right-wing Terry Lowe, left-winger Tyler Wheeler and centre Chris Coats. Goalie Colby Froehlich is still developing. Failing a stunning turn-around, the Whalers will almost certainly finish fifth and last in their division.

The Toronto Aces are seeking to avenge their loss to the Islanders in last year's final. Jakub Vanek is an all-star forward in the making, who any team would kill to have. Lovell DeSerres and Harold McNary provide a great backline in front of goalie Russ Card, who - though aging at 34 - is one of the best in the league. Geoffrey Rielly's captaincy was a hugely underrated element in the team's playoff run last year and in a team with so many potential stars, his ability to keep a check on everyone's egos is invaluable. Expect the Aces to finish first in their division and challenge for the cup - they will never be better positioned to do it.

In Allentown, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms might wear the purple of royalty, but they are a special breed of warrior princes: the Phantoms are shaping up as a steamroller of a club. Knocked out of the playoffs last year by the Islanders en-route to the final, the Phantoms will start this year looking for revenge. Their top 4 players are all, perhaps not surprisingly, defencemen: Ekbom, Zaporzan, Johansson and Vrzacek. Goaltender Matt MacKenzie and centre Juraj Gajdos could be franchise players elsewhere but here play second fiddle to the bruising Phantom defence - and even Gajdos has evolved over the last few seasons to play a tough, physical game. It'll be the second line of Jamie Carrick, John Roberts and Emil Fahlstrom who will be counted on to score the goals after everyone else has roughed the opposition up a bit. Lehigh Valley are a wildcard and could finish anywhere, but odds are they'll end up in the middle and finish third.

Up next, the Atlantic League West.

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Old 12-07-2015, 07:08 PM   #7
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September 18th 1985

ATLANTIC LEAGUE WEST

The Manitoba Vikings will be almost certainly win the Atlantic West this year, although this may be the last hurrah for a Manitoba team whose average age is creeping ever northward. Justin Homer (36) and Jonathan Gagnon (35) are in the twilight of distinguished careers, andthe leading defenceman of the team, Jason Woombill, is 33. More concerningly, the team's pair of Russian goaltenders - Artemy Balabuyev and Igor Poilov are 31 and 34 respectively and neither of them are elite among the league. Though the Vikings will be rebuilding at the end of this year, this may be their last chance at a division title for some time.

The Chicago Cougars, like the Whalers in the East, are deep into rebuilding already. Arthur Whittington and Milan Matz will be happy to lead their team to a better than .5 finish.24-year old goaltender Henrik Jensen has the makings of a star, but will take some time to make it to elite status. The Cougars can be hopeful but are likely to finish last in the Atlantic West.

The San Francisco Arrows, the newest club in either side of the league, have built up a solid played base over the last few years and, with goaltender Jim Biggio - a steal as a prospect and depth player from the now-defunct New York Players in the 1981 expansion draft - building to be one of the league's best. A good balance of veterans (left-winger Ed Ray, another expansion draft win from the Nationals) and rising stars (right winger Philippe Laliberte) give the Arrows the best chance of dislodging the Warriors from the top of their division due to their superior goaltending. A first or second place finish in their division for sure.

Finally, the Vancouver Giants are approaching the end of their rebuilding phase and preparing to run at the cup, though the question must be asked: what has happened to the depth of talent on offer in the goaltending stakes? A rising cup challenger like the Giants can only muster Dewitt Sykes, a high-potential but not-there-yet player who most cup teams would have playing for their affiliate. A good clutch of skaters - Beckman, Stadler, Paulseth and Ketteridge being the standouts - give the Giants a big advantage, but it is all for naught unless Sykes can step up and show himself to be made of sterner stuff than most currently believe he is. If Sykes fires, the Giants will win their division. If he struggles, they will finish third - behind SF and Manitoba, but ahead of Chicago.

Up next: Mountain League East
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:33 AM   #8
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September 18th 1985

MOUNTAIN LEAGUE EAST


Though somewhat lacking in star-power, the Montreal Champions will be able to play a depth game. When added as an expansion team in 1970 the Champions created records in futility in the Mountain League, but in 1983 and 1984 they reached back-to-back finals, losing both to Colorado. The core of that team is still an incredibly competitive unit. Star left-winger Kevin Bowman is now a franchise player, while Etienne Houle is only getting better at centre. Lining up with the two of them is Chris Fox, and the three of them could offer a big front line. No offence to Vojtech Baron, though, but he and Glenn Suiter being the best goalies the Champions could offer may end being the team's weakness. That said, with strong blue-liners like Dylan MacCulloch and Ben Brennan, the team may be able to hold on to their solid record and put them in the top three of Mountain East.

Since leaving the WHA and coming to the Mountain League, the Quebec Nordiques have struggled for impact, having found it difficult to keep their players from drifting away to the more glamorous NHL. Now, Premier League Hockey is making it possible for Quebec to sign some big names - first amongst them being Nate Howard, whose booming slapshot and incredible physicality will set the example at the Nordiques for years to come. He's just 25 and already looks like a star of the future. The front line of Dom St. Croix, Matt Heximer and Wally Aldridge will post some goals this season, but whether or not they will be enough remains to be seen. The Nordiques are rebuilding but they're not there yet: look for Aldridge and Howard to lead this team to cups in the coming years, but this year the Nordiques will have to settle for last in Mountain East.

Since co-founding the league, the Michigan Stags of Grand Rapids have enjoyed an almost rabid fanbase, for whom the high points were Harris Shields in 1971 and 1973. Since then, this has been a team on the wane. The single-star structure that this team made famous with players like centre Will Lobban and goalie Franklin Roberto has made way in recent years to a much more team-oriented style of play. Valeriy Gildeyev will lead the side as first-line centre, with a strong passing game that will assist his less-skilled wingers Thierry Lockett and Michael Bannerman. Perhaps most importantly, where a lot of clubs are struggling for quality goalies, the Stags have announced a 7-year deal with Ethan Ljubicic. With James Bradley backing him up, the Stags can take a swipe at the cup this year - but this may be their only chance. The team is aging fast - Sean Halls is 37, Andy MacAskill is 36, Bannerman is 35, Walton and Magnuson are both 33, and Jakub Kukol is 38. A lot of the depth in this team won't last long, so any run has to be now. The Stags will finish second in the Mountain East.

That prediction is because the New York Centrals will almost certainly finish first. The defending Harris Shield holder last year prevented the Colorado Eagles from making it four in a row and that's because they have one of the best teams in any kind of pro hockey. Nicky Jephcott has evolved from a young up-start left winger to a gifted, patient captain and center who is odds-on favourite to win the Hjerpe Trophy (points) if not the Pierce Award (MVP). Jephcott's team of proteges includes such rising stars as Cedric Rutherford, Andreas Henriksen and Adam Kakegabon. A blue-line staffed by Samuel Brazeau and Bruce Richardson and the goaltending talents of two ever-improving future stars, Burt Magee and Jonny Johansson, means that the Centrals defence is as solid as its offence. The Centrals should finish first in Mountain East and have what it takes to go all the way and etch their names onto the first ever Phillips Memorial Trophy for league champions.

Next time - Mountain League West.
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:16 AM   #9
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September 18th 1985

MOUNTAIN LEAGUE WEST


The Calgary Mustangs, one of the league's most oft-frustrated teams, are playing a new brand of hockey this season: defence, defence, defence. A backline including John Switzer, Bob Haugen, Samuel Annable and Nazib Subayev will bump and bruise opponents. Star left-wingerFilip Petersson will lead the scoring opportunities for Calgary, but the question remains: will he have the support to get the puck on net? If Calgary make a challenge, expect a lot of low-scoring matches and a lot of penalty minutes. The Mustangs should finish fourth in Mountain West.

The Colorado Eagles were curelly denied what would have been a dynasty-worthy fourth Harris Shield in a row last year by the New York Centrals, and have been working hard in the off-season to prove themselves to still be the team to beat. Sebastien Thompson will lead the team in scoring and look to repeat his goal scoring award, though in the new, expanded league this is much less likely. A solid defensive unit led by Joel Fortier and Jordan D'Agostini will give forwards like Gil Blanton and Rhett Elacott the chance to do their work, but with the retirement of Simon Hill in the off-season, the Eagles are faced with the reality of having no top-flight starting goaltender: Marcus Malm will be called up from the Mountain Lions minor league team and will have to face the music. Shocking succession planning could cripple a dynasty in the making here, and the Eagles will be lucky to finish third in the West.

The Seattle Nightmare are the mystery factor of Mountain West. They played the trading game well this year, passing away draft picks and in exchange picking up Alexis Paquette, Thomas White and goalie Matt Wagner. On the other hand, so much of their core team is brand new, and head coach Pavel Salutsin has never coached at this level before and is already seemingly in conflict with owner Regan Rendstlev. The Nightmare could finish anywhere from first - if the players all gel - to last - if the experiments fail and the front office tension gets to be too much. A big question mark.

The St. Paul Cardinals are a lot less uncertain about things. A slightly older team but probably better for it, their experienced and well-gelled group of forwards includes Thorn Tramel, Dominik Dano and Preston Hughes. With a lot of forward power options to choose from, it'll be their blue-line work that may cause them problems: aside from Fred Seawright and Todd Raines, the defensive staff of this side is very by-the-books average. Probably will finish second in Mountain West.

The Los Angeles Sharks came under fire last year for hiring the incredibly young pairing of Nick Larson (31) and Josh O'Moore (35) as their GM and head coach respectively. Larson, a Sharks centre whose career was cruelled by injury, has an incredible hockey mind and O'Moore has risen up as a coach all the way from his youth after he decided he wasn't good enough to play. What these two young men have done at the Sharks is incredible. By Larson's own quote at the draft this year: "The goalie, we feel, should be one of the top three players on the team. The rest of the team can share the workload around, but the goalie has to be outstanding." To that end, the Sharks traded for Matthew Kavanagh and Martin Kurka, giving them not just the best goalie in the league in Kavanagh, but another one of the league's top 10 in Kurka. In a league where goaltending is a recurring weakness, the Sharks have everything in the net well in hand. They are not lacking for talented skaters, either: Reid Cass, Eric Nielsen and Ben Magnus are all stars and should be in the top 20 for points this season. Under captain and star defender Cliff Kattelus, the Sharks are practically a dead lock to take Mountain West, and the only teams who can stop them from hoisting the Phillips Memorial Trophy will be the New York Centrals in their own league, or the Toronto Aces from the Atlantic.

Final Predictions:

League champions/Mountain Champions - Los Angeles Sharks
Runners-up/Atlantic Champions - Toronto Aces

League leaders points: Jakub Vanek (TOR), Filip Petersson (CGY), Nicky Jephcott (NYC)

Goalie of the Year: Matthew Kavanagh (LA), Russ Card (TOR).

Defenceman of the Year: Fred Seawright (STP), William Ekbom (LV)
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Old 12-08-2015, 06:17 AM   #10
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Play begins tomorrow

Play in the league begins tomorrow. Looking forward to bringing you the opening games in the first ever PLH season.

Last edited by monochameleon; 12-08-2015 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 12-08-2015, 05:45 PM   #11
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Really good read, keep it up!
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Old 12-09-2015, 04:25 AM   #12
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September 19th 1985

NB: So, the original game decided to crash out in any attempt to sim past 22nd September. Meaning, I've started it again. The teams all remain the same (with a very few exceptions of player moves) but the results for the first three days have obviously changed.

Before I write anything else: a big, big thank you to Pwal who is creating awesome, awesome uniforms for this league. Thank you so much.

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS: DAY 1 OF THE NEW LEAGUE

7 GAMES AS THE LEAGUE GETS UNDERWAY
FIRST INTERLEAGUE PLAY

The new Premier League of Hockey got underway today in seven matches with all but four of the new league's clubs involved in the action. Here are the game recaps.


Charlottetown Islanders 4 - 5 Michigan Stags
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids (Att: 15,900)

It was a full on shoot-out at Van Andel Arena this afternoon when the Charlottetown Islanders and the Michigan Stags played the first ever interleague contest. The defending-Atlantic Champs took on the Stags in front of a packed house of nearly 16,000 people who got one hell of a show: four goals in the first period alone. Lee Knight and Billy Hodges for the Islanders and Mike Bracher and Jeremy Waller for the Stags all lit the lamp. It was then the turn of the defenders and goalies in the second, with Charlottetown's Dan Dubielewicz stopping 18 shots - but allowing one in, Dax Rolling's shot from the slot at the 18th minute that turned out to be the game winner. Four more goals, split evenly between the teams, lit up the second half, with Larry Walton's powerplay marker and veteran Jakub Kukol's even-strength goal putting Michigan up 5-2. Charlottetown played with increasing desperation to claw it back to 5-4, including a second, shorthanded goal to Billy Hodges at 19:21, but it was all too late and though Hodges was player of the match for two goals and an assist, the Stags ran away with the points.

Chicago Cougars 1 - 3 Calgary Mustangs
Federation Arena, Calgary (Att: 19,150)

The rebuilding Cougars ran straight into the brick wall Mustangs at Federation Arena in downtown Calgary tonight. While Andrew MacAskill's goal at 3:49 of the first would have given the Cougars hope, the brutal - but surprisingly clean - defence of the Mustangs prevented them from getting too close again. The penalty count was a surprising 3-1 against Chicago, and the two powerplay goals for Calgary suggest the Cougars have some work to do on their penalty kill. Juraj Gajdos' pair - one powerplay, one even - was good for player of the match honours.

Los Angeles Sharks 0 - 2 Seattle Nightmare
Key Arena, Seattle (Att: 16,150)

The Sharks will rue a soft penalty - an illegal stick by Claude Milton - that allowed Seattle's Alexis Paquette to score on the powerplay and take the lead and the momentum at the Key Arena. The Nightmare were all over the Sharks like a rash and given the 34-19 shot differential, the fact that the Sharks only lost 2-0 is somewhat flattering to them. The Sharks, perhaps bafflingly, started backup Martin Kurka ahead of favoured tender Matthew Kavanagh for reasons known only to the Sharks bench, and while he performed admirably he received surprisingly little help from his defence, with only Rajbir Johar having a game to be proud of, sakting a remarkable 25:18 of the game - perhaps because his colleagues spent most of their time in the box. The PIM count ended up at a lopsided 20-2 as the Sharks showed seemingly no discipline. As already noted, the Sharks can merely be thankful that the margin wasn't bigger.

Toronto Aces 4 - 3 Vancouver Giants
Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver (Att: 16,750)

Opening day festivities on the far west coast were given a shake-up when the Greenshirts disposed of the Giants in a solid display of all-round skating. The two teams were totally evenly matched for the first two periods, scoring one a piece in the first and going scoreless in the second until 19:59, when Justin Moher of the Giants finally put one on net. But the Aces seemingly had the legs where the Giants didn't, and in a third period where no penalties were drawn, Gene Tupper of Toronto set up first Shayne Lesperance and then Evan McGlennon to put Vancouver away. A consolation goal to Pete Bithery drew the Giants to within one at the 17:06 mark, but it was too little, too late, and the Aces were able to hold off the charge to register first points.

Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2 - 1 St. Paul Cardinals
The Nest, St. Paul (Att: 18,000)

In another interleague showdown, the Phantoms saw off the Cardinals at the Nest. Lehigh Valley outshot the Cards 41-29 and though the Cardinals played the more physical game (they outhit the Phantoms 26-13) they were unable to break up the plays when it counted, and Sebastian Johansson's powerplay goal at the top of the 3rd put the Phantoms ahead, a position they held thanks to the remarkable work of their goaltender Joe Logan, who stopped 10 shots in the last period and 11 in the second to ensure the win.

New England Whalers 3 - 4 Montreal Champions
Mount Royal Arena, Montreal (Att: 16,100)

Opening night for in Montreal saw the home team down the Whalers in an overtime thriller. The physicality of the game - the first period saw seven penalties, 5 to New England and 2 to Montreal - was frankly brutal and unsurprisingly both first period goals were powerplay markers - one to Kevin Bowman of Montreal and the other to Ben Suffa of the Whalers. The second period saw Noah Ness put his Champions ahead with an assist on Bowman's second of the night before scoring an unassisted powerplay goal of his own late in the period, but Chris Coats and Terry Lowe of the Whalers kept it all tied up at 3-3. The final period saw neither team able to break the deadlock, despite seven shots on goal each, and in the end it was a goal to Jamie Carrick at 3:36 of overtime that ended it with the Champions walking away with the points and Ness walking away with the Star of the Game.

Manitoba Vikings 4 - 4 Colorado Eagles
Whitefall Arena, Denver (Att: 16,450)

70 shots on net and 47 hits in a game that was all razzle-dazzle but ended in a 4-4 draw provided the fans at Whitefall Arena one of the best contests of opening day. Manitoba scored twice in the first period, with Justin Homer and Jonathan Gagnon both getting past the Colorado defence, but the second period saw something very special indeed. Colorado captain Gil Blanton scored a natural hat-trick, a 1:11, 2:19 and 13:49 of the second period to put his team up 3-2 in the most dazzling display of hockey for the night. The highlight was the second, a powerplay goal that saw Blanton take the puck deep in his own zone, skate the length of the ice and put it straight through Mantioba tender Ryan McIsaac's five-hole without stopping, eventually allowing his momentum to carry him into the backboards. The third period seemed almost anti-climactic, as Jason Woombill scored at 2:40 and then Blanton made it four for the night at 5:22 to keep things even. Overtime saw neither team able to score, with the Eagles probably disappointed they were unable to capitalise on a penalty against Dale Brenneman. Few games with the points split would ever be considered this exciting.

Tomorrow's games: New York Centrals at San Francisco Arrows; Quebec Nordiques at Ottawa Nationals

[Out of Universe note: This level of detail may or may not continue: this is going to go very slowly if I do it like this, obviously. I may get to day-by-day league-wide wrap ups when/if I get jack of this]

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Old 12-09-2015, 05:39 AM   #13
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September 20th 1985

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

- TRADE DETAILS EMERGE ON CARD DEAL
- JEPHCOTT LEADS CENTRALS TO OPENING WIN
- ALDRIDGE HAUNTS THE NORDIQUES WITH HAT-TRICK


We start today with the blockbuster news that the Toronto Aces have dealt Russel Card (G) to the Montreal Champions. As well as being the first ever interleague trade, the move has rocked the league as Card was being billed as a part of the Aces potential cup run this year. Aces GM Brett Lundberg stated that the move was a long time coming and that the club had been shopping Card around for "the best deal".

"We're wanting to make a cup run but not just this year: we want to remain competitive. In the best interests of the club, we chased the best deal we could get."

The Aces got Randy Reynolds (G), and defender Chris Aldrovandi for the experienced goaltender.

New York Centrals 5 - 2 San Francisco Arrows
Jameson Arena, San Francisco (Att: 20,100)

After the opening day festivities in Montreal, the first game of the season for defending Harris Shield holders the New York Centrals looked fairly workmanlike as they got down to business against the San Francisco Arrows. A SanFran record 20,100 showed up to watch the first ever interleague game for their side. Sadly, they saw a fairly disappointing display as the physical Arrows attempted to outmuscle the skill-driven Centrals to no avail. Despite landing twice as many hits (28-14) there was seemingly nothing the Arrows could do to stop New York. A hat trick to Micah Turner (one even, one powerplay and one empty-net), all on set-ups from Nicky Jephcott, proved the difference between the two teams.

Quebec Nordiques 4 - 6 Ottawa Nationals
Nationals Arena, Ottawa (Att: 17,100)

A third hat-trick in the first two days of the competition saw Walter Aldridge, who left the Nordiques to become a free agent only to be signed by the Nationals days before the beginning of the competition, lead the Nationals to an emphatic 6-4 victory over the visiting Quebecois. Despite the efforts of Eric Woods, who put one on net for the Nords and assisted Justin von Duehren with another, the Nationals were simply miles too good when it counted. The Quebecois outshot the Nationals 39-31, but Brandon Moore was up to the challenge. Michael Pratt ended up getting pulled early in the third after permitting his 6th goal against.

Tomorrow: Charlottetown Islanders at the Seattle Nightmare.

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Old 12-09-2015, 06:54 AM   #14
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September 21st 1985

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

- PRESTON HUGHES SETS UP SEATTLE WIN

Charlottetown Islanders 1 - 2 Seattle Nightmare
Key Arena, Seattle (Att: 16,150)

Desperation in the third period was not enough to save the Charlottetown Islanders from going back-to-back losses on their season-opening road trip. The Islanders put 15 shots on net in the final frame but Seattle had already done the damage, with Stan Duoba in the first and Preston Hughes in the second scoring the Nightmare's two goals. Michael Lazaruk had tied it up for Charlotte in the opening minutes of the second period, but they were never able to get that close again, and desperate play from Matt Wagner kept the puck out in the last and saw the Nightmare cling on for a 2-1 win.

Tomorrow's Games:
WHA @ STP; QUE @ NYC; LAS @ MIC; CHI @ OTT; MTL @ TOR; CGY @ COL; MAN @ LV

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Old 12-09-2015, 06:57 PM   #15
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September 22nd 1985

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

- SAWORSKI OUT FOR THREE WEEKS
- TRADES AROUND THE LEAGUE
- LATEST SCORES AND MATCH REPORTS

We start today with the news that Chicago's Harlan Saworski (C) will miss as many as three weeks with a strained back muscle. Saworski, 31, had initially felt that it was of little concern when he tweaked it during the game against Calgary on Thursday, but team medicos today confirmed that it was more serious than first thought.

In league transaction news, two trades were completed last night: Colorado sent right winger Adam McNeill to Charlottetown in exchange for defender Robby Cantrell. Meanwhile, the LA Sharks offloaded superfluous goaltender David Scopelleti to the New England Whalers, in exchange bolstering their blueline with Tim Andersson.

Now, the games.

New England Whalers 3 - 1 St. Paul Cardinals
The Nest, St. Paul (Att: 18,000)

The Whalers came back from their opening overtime loss to the Champions with a 3-1 trouncing of the Cardinals, who looked overwhelmed by the Whalers play. The men from Hartford outhit their opponents 23-11 and outshot them 44-36. The Whalers front line of Tyler Wheeler, Terry Lowe and Ben Suffa is shaping up as one of the most threatening this year, and tonight racked up 5 points between them. Scopelleti, fresh off the plane from LA, got his first start for the Whalers and stopped 35 shots on net - a good return on investment for New England.

Quebec Nordiques 3 - 6 New York Central
Central Park Rink, New York (Att: 14,500)

The Centrals raised their 1985 Champions banner to the ceiling at Central Park Rink today before getting down to business against the Quebec Nordiques. Once again, it was the exceptional play of Nicky Jephcott that put the Centrals on top, with a goal and a pair of helpers to ensure that his side made it over the visiting Nords. Quebec had few answers and were conclusively outshot 45-19 as they could barely get to their own end of the ice.

Los Angeles Sharks 2 - 3 Michigan Stags
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids (Att: 15,900)

In an incredibly evenly matched showdown, the Stags-Sharks match was a duel of exceptional goalies and defenders that saw the first two periods go scoreless in spite of seven penalties between the two teams. In the third period, Eric Nielsen and Maxym Houde put the Sharks up 2-0 by the halfway point, and they seemed to be cruising to victory with only five minutes left, only to see their lead evaporate with goals to John Hamilton (16:17) and Thierry Lockett (17:38) that sent it to overtime. In the end, the momentum in the extra period was all with Michigan, and Dominik Petak put one past Matt Kavanagh off a one-timer across the face from Dylan MacCulloch.

Chicago Cougars 2 - 2 Ottawa Nationals
Nationals Arena, Ottawa (Att: 17,100)

The Cougars would be quite pleased with their effort to hold Ottawa to a 2-2 draw, but on the other hand, they could have had a win if not for a lapse of concentration that saw them go from 2-0 up at the second intermission to 2-2 at the end of it all. Rick Krause and Anthoni Labonte scored in the first and second periods respectively, only to see Wally Aldridge and Flynn Webb tie it all up at the top of the third. A brain-explosion from Terry Brightman 2 minutes into overtime saw him cop 12 minutes: 2 for hooking and 10 minutes for outrageous behaviour in the wake of the call earning him a game misconduct. But though they played the rest of overtime a man up, the Cougars couldn't break through the Nats defence and had to settle for splitting the points.

Montreal Champions 6 - 3 Toronto Aces
Toronto Entertainment Centre, Toronto (Att: 16,100)

One of the most hotly anticipated interleague showdowns, the Toronto/Montreal clash delivered with an incredibly tense first two periods followed by a blazing finish in the third. Throwing extra fuel on the fire was the rumours surrounding the game that Russel Card, starting in goal for Montreal, had demanded to be traded away from Toronto due to conflict with the front office. If that was the case, then Card had the last laugh, as the Champions were all over the Aces like a cheap suit. The score was 2-1 to Toronto going into the third period, off the back of a brace to the Aces' Emmanuel Desrochers. After the tension and difficulty of scoring in the first two periods, the third appeared to be played on a different rink, as the Champions piled on three goals in the first ten minutes - to which the Aces could only respond with one - as Aces goaltender Randy Reynolds seemingly imploded under the pressure. The ultimate embarassment was when Kevin Bowman and Noah Ness scored back to back shorthanded goals in the 16th minute to put the result beyond doubt at 6-3. Russ Card stopped 34 of 37 shots and would be well pleased with his efforts, while the Toronto powerplay went zero for four and let in two shorthanders - something for Toronto to be very concerned about.

Calgary Mustangs 3 - 1 Colorado Eagles
Whitefall Arena, Denver (Att: 16,450)

Good, solid hockey, rather than incredible heroics, were on offer today in Denver as the Mustangs saw off the Eagles. Goals to David Bodie, Samuel Annable and Emilio Desmond - one per period - kept Calgary in the lead all game, and Colorado only managed to ruin the shutout at 18:47 in the third when Thomas White scored on the powerplay.

Manitoba Vikings 4 - 3 Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Silence Arena, Allentown (Att: 14,599)

The Phantoms' home-opener ended in disappointment as they were unable to complete what had, in the second period, looked like something of a promising comeback. Down 2-1 at the end of the first, Ashton Dillard and Emil Fahlstrom scored at the top of the second to give the Valley the lead. But then the Vikings reasserted control, scoring through John Eyar and Jonathon Gagnon to put themselves up 4-3 before shutting up shop completely in the third, stopping 15 Valley shots to finish the game with a one-goal lead. Joe Logan, in the net for Lehigh Valley, might ask for better commitment from his defenders in the future.

Tomorrow's Games:
SF @ MAN; TOR @ CHT; NYC @ OTT; QUE @ COL; VAN @ SEA
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:02 PM   #16
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September 23rd 1985

[OUT OF UNIVERSE NOTE: From here on, I'm going to do a game of the day, news and scores, otherwise this is going to take longer than an actual season.]

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

- CENTRALS/NATIONALS PLAY OUT BITTER DRAW
- NEW VANCOUVER/SEATTLE RIVALRY BORN

Game of the Day:
Vancouver Giants 5 - 4 Seattle Nightmare

Key Arena, Seattle (Att: 16,150)

The Vancouver Giants' formerly fierce rivalry with the then-Seattle Vikings was such a key part of the 1950s and 1960s in the Atlantic League, an era in which the Vikings won 6 championships and the Giants 5. Since the Vikings moved to Winnipeg, however, that rivalry has cooled. A new Battle of the Georgia Strait has fired up today, however, as the Giants and Nightmare played each other for the first time.

When the leagues announced their merger, this is the kind of game they dreamed of: a new geographical rivalry opening in a thriller, a 5-4 win to the Giants that could have so easily gone the other way until Justin Moher's 3rd period brilliance saw him score twice in just 16 seconds to first level the scores, then take the lead. The whole game swung on a shoestring and as the third period ticked away, the tension in Key Arena mounted. Ed Merritt's goal to bring the Nightmare within 1 at 13:57 of the third lifted hometown hopes but the Nightmare couldn't convert on five further shots in the period and the Giants walked away with the win.

Elsewhere in the league today, the San Francisco Arrows were unable to overcome the Manitoba Vikings in a 2-1 finish; the a goal to Toronto's Chris Myers gave the Aces a 1-0 win over the Islanders in Charlottetown; the Nordiques pipped the Eagles with a 3-2 win in Denver; and the Centrals and the Nationals split 50 minutes worth of penalties between them in a 2-2 draw in Ottawa.
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:12 PM   #17
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September 25th 1985

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

GAME OF THE DAY:
St. Paul 2 - 3 Ottawa Nationals
Nationals Arena, Ottawa (Att: 17,100)

The Nationals recovered well from Monday's brutal 2-2 draw with New York to post a 1-goal win over the St. Paul Cardinals at home last night. St. Paul's insipid offence during the first two periods will take most of the blame: they were outshot in the first forty minutes by 24-9. Mattias Ohman scored his first goal of the season and his third assist, both in the first period, the latter coming on the powerplay as the Cardinals attempted to bully the seemingly exhausted Nationals. The Nats were too good, however, and with Jiri Mrazek out for four consecutive minutes - within four seconds of coming out of the box for slashing, he was back in for roughing Flynn Webb of the Nationals - Ottawa were able to get the momentum, and Trevor Spivak scored the powerplay goal.

A goal to Paul Plummer in the second put the Nats up 3-1 immediately before Plummer and Jake Brantley were sent off for fighting. A powerplay goal to Matthew Heximer in the last period while Spivak was in the box gave the Cardinals some hope of tying things up, but it wasn't to be, and the Nats went 2-0-2 with the Cards still searching for that first win, sitting 0-3-0.

Elsewhere in the league, the Chicago Cougars massively upset the Calgary Mustangs as Hoyt Carson scored 2 and Henrik Jensen saved 37 to give the Cougars a 3-1 win at home. Finally, the LA Sharks and the Michigan Stags played out a 3-3 draw at the Memorial Forum, with Thierry Lockett putting on a goal and assist for the visiting Stags.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:15 PM   #18
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September 26th 1985

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

Game of the Day:
Lehigh Valley Phantoms 1 - 6 Charlottetown Islanders
Elizabeth Arena, Charlottetown (Att: 14,100)

The Islanders finally put some points on the board in front of their home fans with a 6-1 thumping of long-time rivals and fellow Founding Four members the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Phantoms, never popular at the Elizabeth Arena, were jeered as much as their rivals were applauded as the Islanders racked up the score.

Billy Hodges was the star for the home team, scoring three points - a powerplay goal in the first and two assists - but just behind him was the ever improving Dan Dubielewicz, whose 39 saves from 40 shots was remarkable for a player who many - myself included - rated as minor-league at best before the season's start.

The Phantoms only goal came off the stick of Chris Fox, his first for the season. The Islanders found plenty of scorers, though: Matias Malmivaara, Corin Webb and Nikolas Oke joined Hodges as goal scorers, but Adam Trew punctuated things with a brace over the first and second periods.

Elsewhere in the league, Vancouver embarrassed the San Fran Arrows with a 5-1 drubbing in Califronia, 4 points to Ed Blandford giving them an easy win. The Aces and Nightmare traded goals in a 2-2 stalemate that saw stars Alexis Paquette and Ben Magnus split the honours. The Nationals accounted for the Vikings at home with Dewitt Sykes putting in the hard yards to stop 37 shots on goal and give his team a 3-1 win. Finally, Los Angeles were given reason to regret trading their 'depth' goalie, David Scopelleti, who blanked his old club in a 3-0 shutout win for the New England Whalers.

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Old 12-10-2015, 07:37 AM   #19
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September 27th 1985

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

- Injuries hit Aces, Islanders
- Four games - scores and analysis

Charlottetown will be without defender Johan Jonsson for as many as three weeks after it was revealed he strained his triceps in last night's game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Coach Emmanuel Jobin admitted it was a blow, but that the team would strive to continue to come back from their poor start to the season: "It's the kind of thing that can kill your momentum," the coach said, "but we hope that we can keep it up without Johan and welcome him back to a team in a strong position come the quarter mark."

The Greenshirts, meanwhile, will miss centre Jakub Vanek for a similar timeframe after he sprained his wrist against the Nightmare. The all-star centre was clearly bitterly disappointed but the Aces had no official comment other than to say they felt he would recover quickly.

Game of the Day

Michigan Stags 5 - 4 Chicago Cougars
International Amphitheatre, Chicago (Att: 19,150)

The Cougars, fresh from their giant killing against Calgary, came perilously close to repeating their success when they met the Stags, who are 2-0-1 after three this season. The Chicago fans, given cause to hope, turned out in numbers for this encounter and definitely got their money's worth.

A tense first period saw the two teams exchange goals as first Arthur Whittington registered for Chicago and then Valeriy Gildeyev got it back for Michigan on the powerplay. He backed this up with a second goal in the second period - one of three the Stags put on in a display of all-out aggression as Larry Walton and Thierry Lockett both found the back of the net and piled on the pressure.

In the third period, however, it was like the Cougars were suddenly a different team. Hoyt Carson scored twice and Melvin Preston once, all within the first ten minutes. The team who had given up three penalties and two powerplay goals suddenly drew two penalties (though both were successfully killed by the Stags). Unfortunately for Chicago, they were outfoxed once again by Gildeyev, who completed his hat trick by interrupting the Chicago comeback and leaving the score at 5-4 when time wound down.

For a team rebuilding as Chicago are, the development this team is showing is remarkable. The promise of good things in the future will keep the fans coming night after night. The Stags, meanwhile, make it four without a loss and carry the momentum into Week 3.

Elsewhere in the league, the hapless Arrows made it four losses in a row as the Nordiques gave them a 7-2 drubbing lead by Jason Chatenay's inspirational hat-trick. St. Paul are also starting to feel the heat, going to 0-4-0 as they were shut-out by the rampaging Vancouver Giants, 3-0. And the New York Centrals travelled to Charlottetown where the Islanders accounted for them with a 4-3 win in overtime, though not before Nicky Jephcott's two assists put him in the lead for points scored.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:45 PM   #20
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September 28th 1985

PREMIER LEAGUE HOCKEY NEWS

- LEAGUE PRESIDENT SPEAKS: EXPANSION, TV DEAL, "FOR THE FANS"
- GAME OF THE DAY: SEATTLE AT COLORADO

Game of the Day
Seattle Nightmare 6 - 1 Colorado Eagles
Whitefall Arena, Denver (Att. 16,450)

The Colorado Eagles looked baffled and bemused as the Seattle Nightmare ran over them like a locomotive last night. Despite winning the shots on net - 36-28 - the Eagles were woefully poor and the goaltending of Matt Wagner for the Nightmare was exemplary. The same could not be said for Derek Kelly, who didn't look like he could stop a beachball out there, much less a hockey puck.

A fairly tame opening period - one goal, on the powerplay to Alexis Paquette, his fourth in five games - gave way to chaos. Thomas White scored just 30 seconds into the second to even it up, a one-timer right in front of the net set up by Gil Blanton. But then the floodgates opened: Mattias Rosell, Stan Duoba and Nick Henderson all scored for the visitors before the second intermission. In the final period, all the fight had gone out of the Eagles, and there was none of the fight and physicality that they had shown in the first. Morgan Jonsson and Matt Jobke scored in plays that looked simply inevitable: Jonsson on a breakaway that the hapless Kelly never saw whistle past his blocker, and Jobke on a set up pass from Stan Duoba behind the net.

The Nightmare's third win of the season is good enough to give them the early lead in Mountain West. The Eagles are saved only from the bottom of that same division by the even worse play of the St. Paul Cardinals.

---

Tonight on Center Ice on Saturday, commentator and former player Jack Simms spoke with league president Quinn MacMurray. MacMurray was previous president of the Atlantic League and spearheaded the merger between the two leagues. Prior to that, he was a 5-season player, general manager and briefly owner of the Toronto Greenshirts, now Aces. Here are some highlights.

Simms: Do you think the merger is a success?

MacMurray: I don't know that I'd call it an unreserved success as yet - we've only just started - but I do know that from a business standpoint neither league has ever been healthier, so I think in that regard it's been quite successful.

Simms: You've brought a lot of ambitious policies with you from the Atlantic League - massive discounts for families with kids, freebies for kids like trading cards and drinks, making players available for signature sessions after games, rescheduling games for earlier times - have the Mountain League or the TV people balked at any of this?

MacMurray: When we brought in things like the trading cards and the discounts for families and the earlier start times - all that, what we were doing was trying to grow the game - and we've succeeded. In 1984/85, Atlantic League Hockey reached a peak attendance, and more importantly, the attendance of kids at our games was up something like 40%. That's an important figure. We need to get more and more kids involved with hockey - watching it, playing it, enjoying it, loving it. We will no longer be the little brother sport: the PLH and the NHL must become proper, major players in the North American sports market.

Simms: Both of them?

MacMurray: If possible.

Simms: If I can turn to the new TV deal, you've said that it's the biggest ever signed by a hockey league, but the NHL have stated that it's with a bunch of nobodies. Do you feel that by going with RKO, you've sold out when you could have held off for a major deal with one of the more established networks?

MacMurray: The deal we got for radio and TV rights was excellent, and immediate. Also, it's worth noting that since RKO was bought from Genco by Radio House Entertainment, it's really starting again from scratch. We're proud to be part - a lynchpin - of that network's line-up. The last season of Atlantic Hockey was part of that, and now Premier League Hockey will be as well.

Simms: Were there any major caveats on the deal?

MacMurray: Yes, we will be expanding the league to 22 teams by 1990.

Simms: Four teams in four years?

MacMurray: Yes. The Mountain League had planned to expand for the current season but delayed due to the merger. Next year we will welcome two new franchises - one in Atlantic West, one in Mountain East.

Simms: Where will these franchises be based?

MacMurray: One in Cleveland, the other is yet to be decided.

Simms: St. Louis?

MacMurray: We are unlikely to expand into an NHL market at this time.

Simms: Do you think the league can support 22 teams, given the 21 in the rival NHL?

MacMurray: The worldwide depth of talent is huge and the draft this year suggests that a lot of that talent wants to come and play with us. A great crop of young players are coming up through our junior affiliate leagues, and we hope to see that continue. But that's also why it's vital that we get young people to our games: everything we do, it's got to be to make sure that hockey's fanbase includes plenty of kids, who will come to the game, who will love the game, and who will pass the game on.

Simms: Director MacMurray, thanks for your time.

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