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  1. Season 10: GHL 1st place: 47-5-7-21 4th Conference Title in 4 seasons. I Virtually the following day, the inquisition is on. Reporters queue up as Mineyev is asked point blank: “What happened?”. “Did you lose your focus?” “Were you injured?” “Were you cursed?” “Is this the team’s fault?” “Is this Alexander’s fault?” He doesn’t answer. No one, not even Rasputin, not even with threats and throwing chairs, is able to identify the reason for the astonishing collapse of the Russian star goaltender. “I will do better. I have to. There is no path except toward redemption.” Mineyev repeats this in interviews like a mantra. And indeed, he has to. He owes it to this team and this city. “He fucking owes it to ME,” says Rasputin. “I won’t lie, I had the paperwork to transfer list him filled out, brought to my office, ready to sign. Bullshit of this magnitude, no explanation, I was this close to cutting him out of our project.” He sighs. “But Pavel told me he goes if Nikita goes. And he was right. Nik has given us a lot, and despite the question about why exactly he bombed, we don’t shut the door on our brothers here. Nik is sincere about winning my trust back. I will give him that chance.” The morale around the normally stone-cold Black Devils staff and squad has never been lower. The morale among the fanbase, used to success at any cost, is abysmal. Whispers begin to roil insidiously that Alexander and his project may not be right for Vermilion. Laughable, given that he is the only reason Vermilion is even on the hockey map - but abject, sudden failure often turns people into beasts and buries logic in a lightless oubliette six feet underground. There are reports of violent confrontations with fans by unnamed Vermilion players, but these are quickly handled by the team’s media and Alexander himself. Two players are fined and one unnamed player is reported to have been locked in a closet for 24 hours by Alexander to “gain some humility as he shits in a corner”. Through a huge effort of will, clearly still enormously angry, Rasputin stands in front of the media and deflects blame onto himself. “Ultimately, this is my project, and this loss is my responsibility. No one gets to enjoy the wins but step away when the losses inevitably follow. The boys out there did what I asked and followed my plan. Mineyev followed my plan. Hockey is a fickle game. A brutal game. It is a game that grinds up teams used to winning, and pits them in a battle against themselves. This is the new low for us, together. This is part of the experience of being a winner. You’re going to hate me. That’s fine. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the emotion. This is why we’re here, to make you feel human.” He starts to walk away from the stadium, then stops and returns. “One of the greatest players to ever play this sport said once ‘We will not be suck this year’.” There are laughs in the audience. Rasputin holds his hand up. “You and I made a pact. We have one more season to deliver it. I fully fucking intend to fulfill that obligation. All of us do.” He points at the audience, sweeps his arm. “So you decide. Will you be suck? Or will you not be suck?” More laughs. Rasputin grins. “Are you part of this ride - or are you standing on the sidelines?” The offseason finds Vermilion a team struggling to contain the fallout of the tumultuous playoff exit in a contract year. Davin Coronado, the team’s star defenceman, is demanding a massive raise, citing a promise to win the Cup when he signed. Unfazed at being called a mercenary, Coronado stands his ground, up until free agency. Knowing that the team can’t afford to lose its top defensive asset during THE key year, Rasputin agrees to the terms. The contract is 10.8M, at the time the highest in the league. The negotiation leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Shockingly, it is team captain Sylvain Monciau-Desormeaux’s contract negotiation that poses the most serious issue. For one of its best and most influential players, the team has a financially rewarding contract on the table, but Sylvain sees the need for a rebuild and does not want to burden the team with his contract, at the age of 36. Negotiations stall. With Fogelberg, Berch, and Koch, there are plenty of candidates for Sylvain’s top line role, but Rasputin clearly wants his leader back for this one last run. Ultimately, shockingly, the two parties cannot agree, and Sylvain writes a passionate parting letter to the club, taking the blame for not leading them to a cup and professing his love for the team. He will go to free agency and ultimately sign with promoted upstart Frost Giants. Rasputin now has a very difficult choice on his hands - to rebuild the forward corps while remaining one of the favourites for the league and Cup. The hard hitting, heavy approach did not stand the playoff test, and he chooses to shed some weight in favour of speed and finesse. In yet another high risk, high reward move, Vermilion ships fan favourite Matej Stuk, on an expiring contract and demanding 7+M next season, plus other assets, for veteran superstar Matei Mitchel, a GHL legend and Cup winner with dynastic, but now relegating Nighthawks. Mitchel, a 40-goal, 80 point scorer with no weak spots and ability to play every forward role, is a direct replacement for Sylvain on the ice. “An opportunistic move” says Rasputin. “When you have the chance to get a top-10 player like this, you go for it. We have a plan, and while no one can replace Sylvain directly, Mitchel is a hell of a choice. He will mentor Hauk and I expect they will make beautiful music together. It’s a shame to lose Matej (Stuk), as he was in many ways the perfect Devils player and a fan favourite. But salary considerations and his deserved request for a 1st line role played into this. That bastard is tough as nails and he will be the star on another team this season, you watch.” As the final, extremely positive piece to a complicated off-season, Rasputin acquires the rights to prospect winger and 1st round pick Dmitry Mandrykin from New Haven Ramblers in a deal worked out before the draft. Mandrykin, shortlisted by Alexander since age 15, is one of the fastest players on the ice, agile and tireless - a fighter with a beautiful shot. Impressing in his junior seasons and setting RUJHL records in consecutive years, ambitious and hard-working, Dmitry will be the injection of new blood into the Devils lineup and will keep the top 6 forwards fighting for their places in the lineup. “He is a perfect fit, a perfect fit,” says Alexander. “We don’t draft unless we really love a player, and we loved Dmitry. He will be a success here. What a player.” The Black Devils lines to start the season are as follows: El Madkouri - Hauk - Mitchel Fogelberg - Gadsby - Koch Mandrykin - Mackreth - Berch Peloso - Mackreth - Dugdale Coronado - Drougge Kokko - Lanz Drozd - Kyer Mineyev Isabelle With the Vermilion lineup set, next up is the final, crucial Season 10.
  2. Some fantastic fixes here - thanks for putting the Team Records request in, Anders!
  3. Congratulations to everyone on an epic Season 11! Here come the season awards! NOTE: I am making a judgement call on a couple of the awards and attempted to be transparent as to formulas - but feel free to discuss. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ GOLDEN CUP CHAMPION: WARMAN FIGHTERS (Wick Schozen) Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP): Ulric Kristensen (Warman Fighters) - 14GP / 5G / 8A / +7 GHL East Champion: VERMILION BLACK DEVILS (Alexander Rasputin) GHL West Champion: WARMAN FIGHTERS (Wick Schozen) Manager of the Year: Alexander Rasputin (Black Devils) - Hate to do this, but my team did tie the all-time points record in GHL, and set the GF record ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ART ROSS TROPHY (Most League Points) MATEI MITCHEL (Black Devils) - 95 points *tied record (Kyrylo Voloshyn) Ulrik Kristensen (Fighters) Aaron Mallard (Fighters) OVECHKIN TROPHY (Top Goalscorer) Ulrik Kristensen (Fighters) - 47 goals Yego Siyankov (Black Devils) Jindrich Kuhnsman (Buccaneers) GRETZKY TROPHY (Best Playmaker) ANTON VERESCHAGIN (Frost Giants) - 63 assists *New league record Sven Keller (Black Devils) Kyrylo Voloshyn (Lynx) VEZINA TROPHY (Best Goaltender) NIKITA MINEYEV (Black Devils) *New league record: 57 wins Zikmund Bowman (Movement) Ahto Knuutila (Fighters) ORR TROPHY (Best Offensive Defenceman) SVEN KELLER (Black Devils) - 81 points *New league defenseman record NORRIS TROPHY (Best Defensive Defenceman) YURY NIZAMUTDINOV (Black Devils) / JUAN FELIPE GODARD-LAPOINTE (Sea Warriors) ORR - Points leader among defencemen NORRIS - Calculated with the following formula among D-men [+/- + BKS - GVA + TKA], PER also taken into consideration SELKE TROPHY (Best Defensive Forward) CLIFFORD SPIERS (Blazers/Doom) Ulrik Kristensen (Fighters) Matei Mitchel (Black Devils) Calculated with the following formula among F: [PTS + BKS - GVA + TKA] Hits and +/- also relevant. LADY BYNG TROPHY (Most Gentlemanly Player) PAVEL STATNIK (Fairford Frost Giants) - 86 points / 2 PIM *Retains trophy Calculated with the following formula [PTS - PIM] HART TROPHY (League MVP) MATEI MITCHEL (Black Devils) Aaron Mallard (Fighters) Nikita Mineyev (Black Devils) CALDER TROPHY (Best Rookie) AMIR ASAY (Sea Warriors) - 52 points Emilio Kain (Nightmares) Paul Deane (Razorbacks) GOOD SAMARITAN AWARD (Most Giveaways) ROCCO PENNELLE (River Eagles) - 48 giveaways NEWTON AWARD (Highest Plus/Minus) YURY NIZAMUTDINOV (Vermilion Black Devils) + 67 *New record ANTI-NEWTON AWARD (Lowest Plus/Minus) NIKOLAY NIKISHIN (River Eagles) - -90 ROID RAGE TROPHY AMIT GOIN (River Eagles) (Most Hits + PIM + MP) LATE-BLOOMER AWARD ZIKMUND BOWMAN (Mississauga Movement) - 41 years old, 45W, 2.74 GAA, 90.5 SV% *Retained trophy
  4. These are super useful. Thanks for putting in all this work, the insight into the national teams is something that’s definitely missing in this game. Maybe Anders can look at this and finally implement national teams since you’ve done half the work here. May be worth asking him about it. Having a World Cup in the off-season would be extremely cool.
  5. Haha, no worries, I just had a bit of fun there. I know that some players don’t show up and I have no idea why. Happens - thanks for changing it!
  6. Fantastic. Some thoughts on the teams: CZECH - Very good traits for the squad. They have good teamwork and are stable in terms of their winner instinct - a dirty team though, which may help them destabilize stronger opponents. The definition of winning via a strong group rather than individual performance. Wildcard: F Kuhnsman. He had a breakout season this year with 42 goals and can be the go-to scorer for this team. SWEDEN - Pleasantly surprised how accurate GPHM's algorithm at predicting player personalities - Swedes are known to be friendly, and this team is so friendly and respectful, they probably have trouble deciding who goes on the ice first. But at least they're enthusiastic about saying "you first")). The Nervousness will be a problem, but their extremely good and mostly Heroic defence should cover it up. Wildcard: D Josefsson. If anyone can pull this team together via leading by example, it's this very strong veteran defenceman. FINLAND - Like the common perception of Finns, the team is quite reserved and has a leadership void, as mentioned before. However, much of the team are incredibly ambitious, and they have plenty of high performers. Will likely rely on a few key players stepping up, as, from a basic knowledge of the players, this is a very offensive team, and will likely need to win plenty of high-scoring games. Wildcard: G Kanerva. Determined and will have plenty of game-saving saves to make to win those one-goal games. RUSSIA - What a team. Obviously I am somewhat biased, but even looking at the traits, this squad looks fantastic. Only two Nervous players, only one Arrogant player, and not a key one - rarity for Russian teams. With the Black Devils contingent of Siyankov, Mineyev, Nizamutdinov leading the way, elite offensive talent, out of this world top D pair and goaltending, and a surprisingly good balance between offensive and defensive players - what's not to like? The only significant weakness for this team is defensive depth, but an offensive focus and the Mineyev/Alenin tandem should more than address that small deficiency. Wildcard: F Siyankov. Legendary veteran captain, cup winner, 43 goal scorer, and leader embodying the Russian win-at-all-costs offensive mentality. The team will follow behind him. CANADA - I'm guessing the team is trying to use dark arts to sneak in GHL MVP and 95-point scorer Matei Mitchel without officially declaring him a roster player, but even without him, this Canadian team is the clear favourite in the tournament. Insane defence. Even with the anxious goaltending, I would be surprised to see them concede more than a couple of goals a game. And no one should question their ability to put the puck in the net. Top, top team - I would love to see a series simmed between them and Russia. Wildcard: F Mitchel. Will he or won't he make the team is the question on everyone's lips!
  7. Keller and Hauk have an epic bet going on which of them can drag their mediocre squad further. US is quite stacked - but as they have no Black Devils players, they are clearly below par and will be eliminated ;). Also - the trait spread is eerily accurate to the real life US hockey team. GPHM is a solid predictor of real life, it appears!
  8. PART II The now-experienced Devils squad shapes up for another lengthy playoff run. After the difficult run-in at the end of the season, and yet another 1st place finish in a tough, and getting tougher, Eastern conference, the team feels battle-tested, calm, and ready. There is a feeling of inevitability around the squad, and confidence is sky-high. A big part of this elation is the consistency once again found by starting goaltender Nikita Mineyev, with 43 wins. The team captains and Rasputin himself know that the Vermilion attack can only be “freed” if there is confidence in the man protecting the team’s goal. The opponent in the first round is a familiar one - Batchawana Tornadoes, a tough, defensively organized conference opponent. Almost immediately, the Tornadoes demonstrate what they can do, as they grind out a 2-1 win at the Chasm, stopping the overexcited Vermilion attack time and time again. In the locker room, frustration does not set in. “We can’t always play at 11,” explains Drougge, standing in front of the squad. “Play at 10, and know when to turn it up.” Calmed, Vermilion delivers, taking the next game 5-0 behind a superb performance by Mineyev, and winning two more easily, advancing to the next round. Waiting for them is another familiar foe, Bellmore Golden Flyers, managed by Zac Zinn. The two managers and their teams enjoy good camaraderie, and always play tough but fair and good-spirited matches. The Golden Flyers’ offensive style and plethora of scoring options has the potential to pose a threat to the Black Devils - but the aura of inevitability is only strengthened as Vermilion steamrolls the series in three games by a combined score of 15-4. Emerging as a leader from the first two rounds is playmaker Sandro Koch, taking centre stage and leading the team in points. In the West, the perennial favourite Warman Fighters loom, easily making their way into the semi-finals - and much of the press is openly beginning to salivate for a finals showdown between the two best teams in the league. But before any of this, through fate or design, the Black Devils must once again go through their arch-rival. The Harrow Hawks, 2nd in the East and seething from the end of the season takedown by Vermilion, are ready to face the Black Devils once again. This post-season, among netminders, Mineyev is unquestionably the star of the show. With a 1.68 GAA and a 0.960 SV%, he is looking like the first superstar goaltender in Black Devils postseason history, the one goaltender Rasputin always knew they needed to go all the way. Now, he faces his first serious test. The Hawks, despite having plenty of offensive weaponry, play a heavy, defence-first style, wearing down the opposition and relying on their top-tier defensive corps to both shut down and give momentum to counterattacks. Playmaking defenceman Nickolas McCullough and Russian dynamo Alexander Huber have been absolutely dominant in both the regular season and the playoffs, operating with a nearly 60% CF and devouring offences. Strong Russian goaltender Mikhail Yermushin guards their net. In every way that matters, the two teams are polar opposites of one another. Pure offence vs pure defence, a lightning-fast vertical vs a possession-based horizontal playstyle, an incredible surge to the top rather than a slow boil in the GHL, a reliance on blockbuster trades vs free agents and draft picks - this is as much a battle of ideologies as between hockey squads. In the regular season, Vermilion has been king, but the Black Devils had seen two playoff runs ended by the Hawks already, and so a measure of wariness is certainly visible within the squad. Mineyev is his usual impeccable self the first three games. Vermilion easily takes the two home games 4-1 and 3-1, showing no signs of weakness or frustration, the Russian goaltender 1st star in both wins, and Koch pacing the Devils with 4 points. The Hawks rebound at home, winning a tight shootout game, scoring in the 7th round after weathering a Vermilion assault in the 3rd. Going back to Harrow, Devils can close out the series. The Hawks are a strong opponent, but they seem to be easily handled by a dominant, calm Devils team, who have controlled the play the vast majority of the first three games. A path to the final seems clear. But a collapse so total, so unthinkable awaits the Devils, that their identity will change forever. During warmups in Game 4, in Harrow, the Hawks fans release a trained falcon to lap the arena for good luck, just as fireworks go off, spooking the bird, which breaks free of its tether and refuses to land. After a fruitless 10 minutes attempting to corral the falcon, the animal circles around the Vermilion net. Mineyev, a known animal lover, calls the bird over. After a few moments, the falcon lands on the Russian goaltender’s outstretched arm - and gives it a gentle peck. Disaster strikes quickly. Within the first few minutes, it is clear that Mineyev is not himself. He concedes a Barcham floater from the opening faceoff. With barely any time to regroup, another harmless looking shot from the point generates a massive rebound, which the Hawks again put away just 30 seconds later. Gritting their teeth, Vermilion attacks again, outshooting their opponents 5-2 in the next minute 5 minutes of play. But, on a 2 on 2 rush, on their very next shot, the Hawks score their third. It is 3-0 Harrow with 3 minutes gone. Mineyev simply cannot make a save. Rasputin motions to Yohan Isabelle for his first playoff appearance and motions to Bure. “Test that fucking bird for everything, every disease known to man. I want to know what the hell happened.” Mineyev makes way and, despite a late push, the Devils lose 5-2, their biggest loss of the playoffs. The tests come back negative. The falcon, by all accounts, is just a bird. “I just didn’t feel good out there,” says Nikita. “One thing led to another, bad luck, loss of concentration. I cannot explain it.” The series, tied 2-2, will go to a decisive Game 5, back at the Chasm, where the Devils have dominated the Hawks this season. Showing faith in his star goaltender, and mindful of the example of Moller a few seasons back, Rasputin is adamant that Mineyev will start again. Raucously cheered on by the Golden Horde of Vermilion fans inside a packed arena, the Black Devils line up to take a chokehold on their destiny. The game is rough, and both teams show no affection for one another. After two minutes, with a Hawks player in the box for roughing, Matej Stuk deflects a Hauk pointshot into the net. “STUK STUK!” roars the crowd. The Devils continue to push, with the Hawks sitting back, and minutes later, the 4th line delivers, with legend Hasan Peloso powering the puck, and his checker, into the net. The Devils relax their frenetic pace with a 2-0 lead - the right move strategically, but a mistake that would cost them. The Hawks star pair of McCullough and Huber combine to create 2 goals for the away team within 2 minutes, capitalizing on misplays, and the 1st period ends in a stalemate. In the 2nd, it becomes evident that the reserves of energy are far from empty for Vermilion. The team steps up to the physical playstyle of the Hawks, outhitting and outshooting the Harrow team, when, at the 10-minute mark, in a stunning display of poor judgement first, and poor luck second, Vermilion defenceman Akseli Kokko takes two straight slashing penalties, the second one on his way out of the box. The Hawks, with special teams the only area of dominance they have enjoyed, capitalize on both, Huber and Tino Willis hammering in point shots to give the visiting arch-nemesis a 4-2 lead. Despite Kokko’s clear fault, the shots are eminently stoppable, both clean and going high glove. Mineyev is too slow on one, inaccurate on the other - completely unlike himself. Once again, needing to take drastic action to fire up his team, Rasputin benches Kokko, pulls Mineyev from the game and brings in Isabelle. Outshooting the Hawks 14-9 and backed by an immeasurably loud crowd, Fogelberg scores on the powerplay at the end of the period to bring Vermilion within one. Hauk and Monciau-Desormeaux take the players into a closed-door break between periods. Rasputin and Bure stay on the bench. They know whatever happens in there will decide their season. As the grim and determined players file back onto the ice, the sullen figure of Mineyev, head down, is visible in the locker room. Rasputin switches lines. The Devils’ young stars of Hauk, Koch, and El Madkouri will play on line 1, and be trusted in this key moment to bring Vermilion back into the game. As the clock ticks, it becomes increasingly obvious that, although this was the right choice, the Devils are having trouble finishing. Hauk, spinning away from a Harrow defenceman, threads a pass to a streaking Koch, who, all alone, attempts to undress the goaltender - and is pokechecked. Seconds later, in a 3 on 2 rush, Koch carries the puck in again behind the net, and drops a shadow pass to the near post. El Madkouri leans into a point-blank slapshot - only to have it rebound from the bar, throwing the puck metres into the air. After some rudimentary saves by Isabelle, the goaltender throws the puck on the boards, where it is picked up by Drougge, who enters the zone, fakes a slapshot, and delivers a cross-crease pass to Hauk at the left point onto his favoured right side. The German center’s wrister is true, but a diving, flying Huber manages to direct the puck just wide of the goal. The Viking thunderclap rebounds through the stadium, as Rasputin screams at his players, motivating them to give everything. And in the end, the atmosphere clearly affects the bewildered Hawks, who overcommit and get caught up ice on a 3-on-1 rush. Coronado sends away Hauk for the hundredth time. The lightning-fast German centre attacks and undresses the Harrow defender, cuts in on the goalie, looks him in the eye, and slides the puck through his legs to an onrushing El Madkouri, who deposits it into the net with a Datsyukian deke. In the erupting chaos inside the stadium, the one thing the Vermilion players and fans do not see is the same grim determination in the faces of the Harrow Hawks. As the puck drops, and the Devils, now playing looser and supported by the cheering home crowd, begin to make inroads toward the last goal, disaster strikes. In a shocking display of bad luck and lack of focus, under the effective Harrow forecheck, first defenceman Bruno Lanz and, 30 seconds later, star C Loukas Gadsby, put the puck over the boards for identical delay-of-game penalties. Furious, Rasputin kicks bottles and spits out black dozens of Russian expletives in the direction of the penalty box as the Hawks set up a 5-on-3. There is quiet inside the Chasm. There is quiet as the Devils win the faceoff and ice the puck for the first time, then a second. The game is balanced on a knife edge, and the Hawks, 3 for 5 on the powerplay in this game already, are growing in confidence. Rasputin and Bure can only watch as Harrow sets up blast after blast from the point. Isabelle stands tall, but he is no Mineyev and is limited in what he can do. There is quiet in the stadium as, with 2 minutes remaining in the game, Huber loads up another shell from the left point. And there is quiet in the stadium as it is tipped in front by Karacan, camped in the crease, and the puck slowly revolves in the blue paint, where a charging Barcham buries it into the net from a metre out. Despite a scrum following the goal, and two more shots by the Devils, there is no running from the final horn. Harrow, resilient as always, eliminates Vermilion once again, and advances to the GHL Cup final against the underdog Culdesac Danger. The other favourite, Wick Schozen’s Fighters, likewise drop at the semifinal hurdle. To add insult to injury, and despite the valiant effort of the Danger, Harrow sweeps the series 3-0 and takes home the Golden Cup.
  9. Stuk is elite, can drag a team to a win all on his own. Zabka is also an extremely underrated scorer, he would be a huge threat with a good playmaker in the top 6. Slovakia would definitely be a challenging team to play against.
  10. ^That. Discord communication adds a LOT to this game. Don't overlook it and join us!
  11. El Madkouri was a 70 point player in the GHL in his rookie year and the CF% leader on my team that season. Hope to see him back soon, and eclipsing those numbers, great player.
  12. I like that you're moving through some of the smaller nations - interesting to see. Can't wait for Russia .
  13. Season 9: GHL 1st place: 51-4-4-21 3rd Conference Title in 3 seasons. I Months later, when recounting the events of the statistically greatest and yet the most fundamentally disappointing season in the team’s history, Rasputin and Bure would share a look of disgust. “It was the bird”, firmly says Bure. “It was the goddamn bird.” Rasputin nods, still visibly angry. With the fourth season of the Five-Year Plan approaching, the rivalry with fellow East superpower Harrow Hawks is in full swing. Both teams realize that their path to the Cup is likely to run through each other, and so their regular-season meetings take the form of heavyweight bouts of two boxers feinting, testing each other out for the final battle to come. The teams are also competing in the FA. With a wave of high-profile forwards retiring and high-end attackers at a premium, Devils and Hawks target the same two young free agent forwards, Karacan and Willis. With 6 teams bidding and Vermilion low on cap space, ultimately Harrow gets both and beats Devils in the window. The teams are clearly operating with a similar squad building approach, targeting young, fast, physical players. Top among these is last year’s 2nd overall pick El Madkouri, who has publicly expressed his discontent on the bottom of the table Foxes and a desire to move to a contender. El Madkouri flirts with the Devils, calling out Rasputin’s project as emblematic of the kind of organization he wants to join. Rasputin, never one to turn down players that fit the Vermilion philosophy, responds in kind. Hawks, always quick to follow Vermilion’s lead, also enter the race, throwing offers at the Foxes. At first glance, El Madkouri is exactly what Vermilion needs. A young, hungry, extremely skilled powerforward with elite size and power, with a fair amount of speed and good hands, he is also a YouTube/Instagram sensation due to his flair and ability to engage his fans. Off the ice, there is a friendly rivalry between him and Hauk, already a social media darling. Tongue in cheek, El Madkouri challenges Hauk to a set of shooting and puckhandling drills, promising to join the team if Hauk beats his time. Hauk, confident as ever, stakes his Vermilion mansion on his victory. Rasputin only smirks. He welcomes the media attention. The planned event, billed as the Battle for the Frozen Throne, is a massive social media hit, with more than 200,000 viewers tuning into Twitch to watch it live. Foxes management does not object to the deal, especially after Rasputin promises to divert all the funds from the event as compensation for the breaches in league policy that are bound to occur. Black Devils staff build out a massive and imposing throne of ice at The Chasm. Sponsorships from Red Bull, Nike, and other media companies roll in. The attendee list at the live event grows. And, in front of a full house and hundreds of thousands of virtual viewers, Dieter Hauk overcomes El Madkouri by 3/4s of a second to claim the Frozen Throne. A deal is quick to be achieved, Vermilion shipping out a slew of picks and promising dman Eaglesham to the Foxes in return for their star. Welcomed quickly, shirts with El Madkouri’s name are a hit and crowds gather to watch his first skate with the Devils. After the first few practices, Rasputin announced that the young star will indeed play with Hauk and Monciau-Desormeaux on the Black Devils first line. To the surprise of many, though, Alexander plans to utilize El Madkouri as a playmaker. And the young star repays his confidence, operating with an unheard of CF% of 70, miles ahead of anyone else in the league. Using his physique and puckhandling to the greatest advantage, El Madkouri makes winning the puck along the boards, and cutting toward the net in a power move his trademark, equally comfortable finishing and setting up his linemates for tap-ins. With nearly a point per game pace on the Black Devils, El Madkouri will easily take the Rookie of the Year title at the end of the season. In the meantime, tensions are high between Vermilion and Harrow after their continuous playoff and top of the table clashes. Vermilion takes the first meeting of the season 4-3, and takes a comfortable 8-point lead at the top of the conference after 15 games, but the Hawks keep coming. They take both of the teams’ next two meetings, fiery, violent affairs. After a 3-6 home loss in which two Vermilion players exit with injuries after borderline hits, the Hawks’ bus is attacked by unruly Devils fans on its way out of the city. The Hawks retaliate the next game, clearing the benches, Kokko and Monciau-Desormeaux ejected after taking on Harrow players and knocking them to the ice in another comprehensive 4-1 away loss. Despite the absence of top playmaker Sandro Koch and top defenceman Davin Coronado, Vermilion keeps its hold on 1st place in the conference through the rollercoaster last quarter of the season. With 6 lead changes between Harrow and Vermilion at the top of the East, far and away beyond the competition with 20 point leads, this is the hottest title race the GHL has seen for some time. On the other side, the West-leading Highland Blazers see their previously unassailable 30 point lead over Vermilion midway into the season decrease to just 6 with a few games to go. With 7 games remaining and the Black Devils top again after a 20-3-4 run, it is clear that the East title will be decided in Game 75 at The Chasm. With Hawks one point behind, a win here for the Black Devils would put them a step ahead of their pursuers, leaving some margin for error in the run-up. A heavy-hitting, but surprisingly low-scoring title bout is decided by Peloso and who else but Monciau-Desormeaux scoring the Vermilion goals in a dominant home performance - the captains leading by example to give the Black Devils their 3rd straight GHL East title and first seed for the playoffs. This is a breakout season for Vermilion star C Hauk as well, leading the team with 33 goals and 76 points, and crediting his success to his new, flashy linemate, himself not far behind with 73. The playoffs beckon.
  14. This is actually a very competitive squad. And looks to be quite representative of real life - the cross-section of players is well represented across most leagues. Good to see, well done!
  15. This is looking like an extremely volatile combo. Always rated Yatchenko, and Veres has had some very impressive development the last two seasons. I'm 100% about chemistry between duos as a driver for success, so will be checking this one out during the season for sure.