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  1. HOUSTON--Bulls forward Callum MacElroy has gotten quite a bit of media attention lately, and he seems to be embracing it. Yesterday, MacElroy was contacted by the media for a few comments on the Bulls' long string of games against the Yukon Rush, in which the Bulls have not been particularly impressive but have shown for sure that they deserve recognition as a legitimate contender in their first year of existence. Instead of answering these questions, an animated (and visibly drunk) MacElroy proceeded to give a comprehensive ranking of every VHLM team's name, talking for upwards of ten minutes for each and more than periodically stopping to chug another can of Deuchars. So, without further ado, here's what hockey's favorite Scotsman had to say about his competitors: 8. Halifax 21st It should come as no surprise to any follower of Houston that the team has already developed burning feelings against Halifax, and MacElroy was no exception, coming forward earlier this week with his own negative pre-draft impressions of the city. Here's what MacElroy had to say, in part, about the 21st: "Awe rite, noo thes a body sucks. Whit th' heel is a twenty-first anyway? Ye hae tae explain thes nam tae anyain fa hears it coz nobody knows whit it is. It coods be twenty-first century, twenty-first regiment, twenty-first century schizoid cheil, anythin' at aw. E'en if it's guid it still sucks." 7. Ottawa Lynx Lynx, surprisingly, functions as both the singular and plural forms of lynx (though "lynxes" is actually a valid representation of the plural as well). This wasn't the issue MacElroy had with the name, however. As it turns out, he had done his research on the team before the VHLM draft, and it shows in his lack of appreciation for the name's origins. "Hoo unoriginal can ye gie? Thaur was awreddy a minur league basebaa team called th' Ottawa Lynx. That's loch if we waur called th' Rockets. Th' lack ay creativity haur makes me want tae jump intae th' Hooston River." The Houston River is in Louisiana, but we didn't tell him that. 6. Minnesota Storm At this point, MacElroy offered a very drunk (and surprisingly accurate) criticism of American citizens, no matter their region, and explained just how Minnesota's name is a prime example of the American way of thought. "Thes is whit happens when ye lit americans gab abit weaither. They aw want tae gab abit hoo whaur they bide is sae huir uv a much waur than everythin' else, hoo it's tay hot, tay braw, tay snowy, whatever. Jist swatch at thes name--'ooh, aam frae Minnesota! Swatch at aw uir storms!' Nobody gi'es a jobby." 5. Saskatoon Wild It became clear to us at this point that MacElroy wasn't going to be a fan of many on this list. He disagreed with this name for much the same reason he disagreed with Minnesota's: Western culture. "An' these Canadians, they're jist loch th' Americans. Ye hink they're aw braw syrup-drinkin' fowk, an' 'en when ye gang thaur they're aw loch 'look at uir bonnie Canadian wilderness!' dae Ah caur? nae! Ah jist want tae play some hockey." 4. Philadelphia Reapers MacElroy addressed the VHLM's other expansion franchise with the tiniest bit of respect, but then threw even that out the window as he reflected on what society as a whole might think. "Ah dornt see onie problem wi' thes nam, but nobody cares abit reapers anymair. Sure, back when th' irish didne hae onie tatties, th' nam was sure tae make a causey urchin afraid. But 'en Blue Oyster Cult went an' tauld a' fowk nae tae be scared sae noo nobody is. Thes nam sucks tay noo 'at Ah hink abit it." 3. Yukon Rush In much the same way nobody cares about the name "Reapers," MacElroy says, nobody cares about the name "Rush," though at least it has some sort of significance to the area. "Noo Ah ken 'at back in th' day aw these fowk decided tae freeze themselves inside it tae fin' a bit ay gauld an' gie rich. But hoo mony fowk ur gonnae ken thes? American kids ur gettin' dumber by th' year an' bonnie suin nobody is gonnae min' thes at aw. It's a guid reference, but it ay tooch." 2. Las Vegas Aces MacElroy here had the same issue with this name as he had with Minnesota and Saskatoon, that being an overrepresentation of regional pride, but decided to discount a bit of it due to his own personal interests. "Noo haur we hae mair americans talkin' abit hoo their city is th' best. It's aw th' fowk in las vegas sayin' 'take a swatch at us, we spend mair bunsens than ye!' Ah loch thes nam, thocht. Ah loch gettin' blooter'd an' gettin' laid an' i've awreddy bloon ben mah contract bunsens. Sae Ah can identify wi' thes a body." 1. Houston Bulls MacElroy put his own team at number one, offering a bit of hometown bias and putting an end to an altogether crazy interview. "Noo here's th' greatest nam in th' history ay names. Hooston isnae sayin' 'look, we're Hooston! We hae mair bulls than ye!' 'at woods make nae sense. Americans also ken whit a bull is, ur at leest Ah hiner they're nae glaikit enaw nae tae. When Ah saw thes logo fur th' first time, Ah main hae jumped a kilometer in th' air. It makes ye afraid an' it's perfect fur thes league's scariest team." After McElroy finished this last comment (with his volume rising with each one until he was outright screaming by the end) he passed out drunk on his front porch, and reporters left without any further inquiries.
  2. This year, the VHLM saw the arrival of two new expansion teams, both with the singular aim, as is common in any VHLM team, to shock the league with a championship win in their first year. These teams, the Houston Bulls and...well...to be perfectly honest I don't remember the other team. This article isn't about them, and if it were maybe I would have the motivation to check on that. Rather, it's about how the Bulls are perfectly set to take the league by storm and strongly establish themselves as the league's best. Prepare for liftoff. 1. A strong draft. The Bulls came out way ahead in this season's VHLM draft, managing to pick up four (yes, four) players currently over 100 TPE, with one already at the 200-TPE VHLM max. In the later rounds, the team found great value as well, managing to pick up a new member who proved to be active (OK, fine, I'm talking about myself here), as well as snagging Callum McElroy (@GlowyGoat), a veteran forward who has brought invaluable wisdom and experience to the team. 2. They absolutely nailed it in free agency. After the draft, the Bulls completed a second defensive pairing with the signing of Beau Buefordsson (@Radcow), a well-placed offensive complement to 36th overall pick Jerry Garcia. As well as this, the team rounded out their third complete scoring line with the signing of the Sederstrom brothers, Ludvig (@aleks) and Joakim (@Samee), who are currently paired with McElroy. All are active members and have already contributed immeasurably to the team's locker room. 3. They have exhibited dominance both offensively and defensively. Take a look at today's preseason matchup with the Philadelphia Reapers. The final score was 4-3, Bulls, but that made the game seem much closer than it ended up being. The Bulls recorded a whopping 67 shots on goal, while Philadelphia only managed 14. The Bulls managed to record over 4 times as many shots on goal as the Reapers, which is a great testament to their ability to play as a team, through all 60 minutes of a game. 4. They're deeper than Carl Sagan's thoughts. As has been mentioned above, the Bulls have incredible depth at every position. While some other teams in the VHLM are lacking in depth, the Bulls have it all. Every line is active, and Houston has the ability to rotate any of nine forwards and four defensemen onto the ice at any time, creating deadly combinations and always being able to have a dominant presence on the ice. 5. They actually like each other. It's impossible to perform effectively as a team when the players, whether in the virtual world or in real life, can't stand each other. Anyone reading should wish they could drop in on the Bulls' locker room chats. They're funny, supportive, and indicative of a true team atmosphere. 6. They're better than Halifax. Enough said. 7. Great management. There is nothing to be gained on this team by sucking up to the GM, but everyone does it anyway, myself included. Why? @Sonnet has been incredibly helpful with answering (quite literally) anything that we ask, usually within a minute or so of posting. The way he's built this team so far shows that he is a hopeful player's dream. Hats off to the best GM ever Sonnet I know you won't sneak in a few extra TPE for this but it was worth a shot 8-10. I don't know, I got to 500 words and couldn't think of anything else to say. I hope you all enjoy being steamrolled by the Houston Bulls this season.
  3. Jerry Garcia: Rookie Profile VHLM Team: Houston Bulls Height: 73 in. Weight: 194 lbs Age: 20 years In today's league of ever-younger players, some as young as 16 years of age, it is a notable occurrence when a player makes the choice to go pro, or even to seriously consider the game of hockey as a legitimate future pathway, at the age of 20. While Jerry Garcia, a picture of natural talent and determination may have made a relatively late entry into the world of professional hockey, he is still a prime example of uncapped potential and should, by all early accounts from his largely unnoticed entry into the league, be able to develop into a legitimate star and top many a team's wishlist as a pure defensive defenseman. Strengths: -Defense: Jerry Garcia is a pure defensive player. He is always ready when called upon to block a shot or to keep the puck in the zone, he is the man to shut down any offensive-zone possession or odd-man rush, and he figures to be the first choice for any team on the penalty kill thanks to his exceptional defensive skill. Though largely unnoticed by the league's press, Garcia has been described by many a local reporter as a "goalie's best friend," as he is always ready to stop whatever an opponent has coming. -Skating/Puck Handling: Garcia also demonstrates exceptional control while carrying the puck, and despite specializing in breaking up plays, is very difficult to knock off the puck. He is a reliable stickhandler and can be trusted in any situation possible--the puck is absolutely safe with him, so long as he is carrying it. -Passing: A purely defensive player can handle the puck all he wants, but for his team to score, he must be able to feed the puck to his more offensive-minded teammates. Being paired with offensive-minded defenseman Beau Buefordsson, as well as being able to feed the puck to any player on any one of Houston's potent combination of three complete forward lines, puts Garcia in heaven as far as player development is concerned. While, as has been more than clearly established, he is defensively-minded, one should look for Garcia to put up the points this season in the form of assists, as he is surrounded by the tools for success and is quite adept at the passing game himself. Weaknesses: -Scoring: Garcia can, to put it bluntly, not be trusted to put the puck in the net. He is the polar opposite of a scoring defenseman, and while he may have all the tools necessary to set up a perfect opportunity, will rarely create one himself. His slap shot has never been seen as a deadly weapon and his shots will likely never find their way in unless they are redirected or the goaltender is perfectly screened. -Discipline: While Jerry Garcia is a coach's dream in terms of breaking up a play, his methods for doing so can be questionable. Garcia has not been known to have total control over the taking of penalties (or lack thereof), and it shows, as he is a frequent visitor to the penalty box. This is not a giant red flag, as discipline is a skill which can be easily refined as a player gains experience, but it is a red flag nonetheless. -Fighting: While fighting is unimportant on a statistical level, winning a fight can often provide a charge to a team's morale and spark a string of scoring with a change in, or a boost of, momentum. Jerry Garcia does not fight. He claims to never have been in a fight his entire life, and has said that he would "lose outright" against "just about any player in the VHLM." While some GMs and coaches may see this as helpful, it must be noted that this is a specific skill that some may prefer, and he does not bring it to the table.
  4. HOUSTON--Callum MacElroy, the Bulls' token Scotsman, has been the center of a good deal of media attention thus far, for, well, being drunk and Scottish. Last night was no exception, as he went on one of his very own drunken rants when asked about his feelings on the upcoming (and deep) VHL draft, making a very bold (and indeed impossible) prediction about his standing. "Ah dunnae kinn wa anyain woods draft Helmsley. Born in 1970? Gezz a break. Thaur's nae way he can e'en skate. Ah hae an uncle 'at was born in 1970. Noo swatch, he was an accident, but aam bonnie sure by lookin' at heem 'at if ye waur born in 'at year ye hae nae reit tae be oan th' ice. Swatch at me, thocht. Aam thee meters taa an' mah reit bicep weighs 10 kilograms. Ah bevvy a keg every scran an' Ah can break a barrel in half wi' mah wee finger. If barcelona doesnae tak' me number a body overaa, 'en ah dunnae kinn whit they're thinkin'." There is no VHL team in Barcelona, but the smell of whiskey was too strong for reporters to think of much else. Also, MacElroy has already been drafted--this season, he was made the last pick in the VHL draft, courtesy of the Calgary Wranglers. When told this, MacElroy didn't seem to fully register the information at hand, as the subject shifted to the inferior shoe size of Shane Mars and much of the media sought out a different Bulls player to interview.
  5. HOUSTON--As the month of March draws to a close, it's that time of year again when every American over the age of 18 realizes that they've put off their taxes just about long enough. ...And more often than not, decides to put them off a little bit more. The Houston Bulls' Ludvig Sederstrom was one step ahead of all of us, though, as the Swedish forward has apparently taken care of business already, having filed his tax returns and received a thrilling compensatory sum. Thrilling enough, at least, that Sederstrom took to Twitter at 3:54 in the morning, Central time, on Thursday to express his excitement at his first American tax return: "Just got my tax returns back! 50,000 American cents are all mine. Going to the strip club tonight boys...should I make it rain pennies or nickels?" he tweeted at 3:54 in the morning, Central time. Multiple unconfirmed witness reports placed a wildly drunk Sederstrom (some say he was indeed carrying a jar of pennies) at Cowgirl Ranch, a Texan-themed Houston strip club, late Friday night. Sederstrom could not be reached for confirmation or further comments.
  6. YEAR👏REVIEW👏 ...not really. HALF👏YEAR👏REVIEW👏 ...that's better. We now find ourselves 36 games into the regular season, and the Houston Bulls, one of two expansion teams celebrating their first year in the VHLM, find themselves still in contention for the playoffs, and, though winning consistently has been a season-long issue, dare I say the Founders' Cup? Yes, I do dare. And hopefully, this analysis will show why the Bulls are a better team than most people take them to be from the standings. First we'll start with a review of the VHLM Dispersal Draft: First Round: C Maximilian Kirbsson (6th overall) and LW Kari Jurri (8th overall). The Bulls came out strong in the first round, grabbing Kirbsson at #6 and Jurri at #8. Both players have become legitimate stars in Houston, with Kirbsson at a team-leading 52 points and Jurri right behind with 50. The two were the two lowest-TPE members of the first round of the draft, but Jurri is now projected to be drafted 3rd overall and Kirbsson 4th into the VHL. Mind you, they are also #1 and #2 on the list of first-generation players, making their selections all the more impressive as they carried a bit of a higher risk when drafted. Jurri has already reached the 200-TPE cap for the VHLM, while Kirbsson is not far behind at 193. Overall grade: A Second Round: D Fylo Gibbles (12th overall). Gibbles, in fact, came into the draft with more TPE earned than either Kirbsson or Jurri, at 136. He dropped to the second round, however, as he was a S65 player who had had more time to earn these points. After two high-risk, high-reward selections in the first round, the team opted for a lower-risk choice in the second. This proved to be a bad move, however, as Gibbles has not earned one single TPE all season, and has more or less earned the title of "inactive." He has still been semi-productive for the Bulls this season, as 136 TPE is decent in the VHLM, but this is not the type of player any GM hopes to pick in the 2nd round and one should expect to see his numbers begin to decline later on as he is caught up to and even surpassed by members of previously lower standing. Overall grade: F Third Round: LW Milan Griffin (21st overall) and G Owen May (24th overall). The third round, for the Bulls, was a bit of a mixed bag. With the choice of Griffin (another S65 player), the team picked up a player with experience, albeit without the expectation of greatness, as Griffin came into his second season with only 82 TPE. Griffin has not been inactive--he is currently at 133 TPE, not producing at a star level but still present enough to not be considered a bust. The real story of the third round here was goaltender Owen May, the second goalie off the board in a class not initially considered to be very deep in goalkeeping talent. While May had only 58 TPE at the time of the draft, he is now at 151 TPE and is in the league-wide conversation about which goalie is the best, with some recently placing him above Philadelphia's Wendy Kandee Cain in value. While the numbers have not shown May to be undeniably great, a look at his TPE progress shows a player with star-level potential who is simply going through a rough patch with the simulator. Overall grade: B- Fourth Round: LW Blake Laughton (26th overall). In the fourth, Houston went for yet another left wing, picking Blake Laughton at #26. Laughton has produced in much the same way Milan Griffin has: not inactive but not consistently active, either. With 30 TPE at the time of the draft, Laughton was a bit of a reach for the Bulls, as he was the first 30-TPE player selected and multiple forwards with higher TPE (notably, Nethila Dissanayake with 72, Blake Gaudette with 55, or even S65's Matteo with 130) were selected afterward. The choice was a bit questionable in the first place, and might not have paid off the way the team had hoped as Laughton currently sits at 77 TPE. Overall grade: D Fifth Round: D Jerry Garcia (36th overall). Let's face it--I'm here. I'm active. I'm writing this article. Garcia is my player, and though I dislike giving myself credit for things, was a steal in the fifth round with 38 TPE at the time of the draft. Garcia, as of this week, surpassed Gibbles as the team's highest-TPE defender (now at 144) and has steadily climbed the VHL draft rankings to a tie at, as of yesterday when I last checked, #17 overall. He's more than paid off for this team, and, while I am not trying to promote myself, I will say this: Overall grade: A Sixth Round: D Joseph Gagnier (48th overall). The Bulls selected their second 30-TPE player here, with talent starting to run a bit thin. Unfortunately for them, Gagnier's TPE has not moved one bit since...well, ever, as he's still at 30 TPE. Not much to say here, but even though the likelihood of finding active players at this point was fairly low, there's really nothing other than a failing grade to be given here. Overall grade: F Seventh Round: RW Callum MacElroy (56th overall). Guess what? Garcia wasn't the Bulls' biggest steal in this year's draft. MacElroy, a Scottish forward with 32 TPE who was inactive through S65, found his groove this season, getting to 133 TPE at the time of writing. Not only that, but MacElroy's agent has since been named Houston's Assistant General Manager, and by all accounts is a driving force for good in the Houston locker room. Finally, MacElroy's selection can be directly traced to the Bulls' top free agent signing (we'll get to that later). Arguably the Bulls' best pick, and not one that would be made by most, if any, other teams. Overall grade: A+ Eighth Round: D Hadrian Melborn (64th overall). Melborn, a S65 defenseman with 44 TPE, came into the draft with low expectations, and as a result, was drafted with the Bulls' last selection before they passed on making one in the ninth. His TPE was 44, and at 44 it has stayed, as Melborn has been inactive for a good while. Overall grade: F (although at this point in the draft this doesn't mean a whole lot). For the whole draft? Not bad! A few misses, but definitely a few steals. Overall, I'd say it was pretty solid and set the Bulls up for some reasonable level of success. Overall grade (entire draft): B *Side note: In the VHLM expansion draft, the Bulls made the only non-draft pick selection, grabbing center Viktor Kozlov from the Halifax 21st. Kozlov is one of two 200-TPE players the Bulls have this season, and while he has not put up unbelievable scoring numbers, has certainly produced on the defensive end of things as he makes the transition from enforcer to power forward. As far as expansion drafts go, the Bulls hit the big time here. Overall grade: A And now let's go to free agency, shall we? D Beau Buefordsson. Selected not too long after the draft, Buefordsson has picked up a grand total of 89 TPE thus far. Though this number may seem a bit low, he is certainly active and learning the ropes as a first-year player. In the locker room, he is a friend to everyone, and a recent surge of activity should help his standing in the future. Overall grade: C+ C Ludvig Sederstrom. Remember that connection to MacElroy? Sederstrom (and his brother Joakim) came as surprise signings for the Bulls, with both being recruited by MacElroy's agent. Ludvig has paid off and become a valuable centerpiece to the team's second line, currently at 132 TPE. Not bad for someone who wasn't around for the draft. Overall grade: A LW Joakim Sederstrom. ...and then there's Joakim. Active at first, Ludvig's brother now sits at 50 TPE, and may remain there for good. Given Ludvig's success, the dual signing was overall a positive move, but it's had a bit taken away from it by Joakim's lack thereof. Overall grade: D- C Rhys Chism. Chism is another Griffin-esque player--he's around, but not at the same level of what's generally considered an "active member" of the VHL community. Hasn't been a huge contributor and likely does not have star potential, currently at 95 TPE. Overall grade: C D Samuel Sparrow. Sparrow currently has exactly the same TPE level as Buefordsson, though Buefordsson has gained points a bit faster in the past few weeks. Overall grade: C LW Jean ClaudePaul and D Finn Theismann. These two have just recently made their way onto the team and have not had the time to prove themselves, one way or another. Overall grade: Too early to tell. And while we're at it let's have a look at the team leaders to close it off. Goals: 1. Kari Jurri--25 2. Maximilian Kirbsson--24 3. Fylo Gibbles/Milan Griffin--11 Assists: 1. Maximilian Kirbsson--28 2. Viktor Kozlov--26 3. Kari Jurri--25 Points: 1. Maximilian Kirbsson--52 2. Kari Jurri--50 3. Viktor Kozlov--32 Plus-minus: 1. Maximilian Kirbsson-- +18 2. Kari Jurri-- +16 3. Viktor Kozlov-- +10 Penalty Minutes: 1. Viktor Kozlov--97 2. Jerry Garcia--76 3. Fylo Gibbles--64 Hits: 1. Viktor Kozlov--137 2. Jerry Garcia--118 3. Milan Griffin--87 Shooting Percentage: 1. Kari Jurri--18.38 2. Maximilian Kirbsson--16.0 3. Jerry Garcia--15.0 Shots Blocked: 1. Samuel Sparrow--64 2. Fylo Gibbles--62 3. Jerry Garcia--60 Game-Winning Goals: 1. Maximilian Kirbsson--3 2. Callum MacElroy--2 T2. Blake Laughton--2 ...and there you have it. Do the Bulls have what it takes? State your opinion below!
  7. HOUSTON--the Bulls came into Halifax on Saturday knowing that they would need to prove themselves worthy and come away with a win in order to show that they were legitimate contenders for a rivalry with the first-place 21st. After a Halifax pregame ritual for the ages (read more in vhl.com articles), game 69 of the VHLM regular season (nice) was under way, with Halifax taking a 2-1 lead over the arguably rattled Bulls through the first period, with defensive players and players on the lower lines, such as Charles Alderson and Fudge Popsicle, finding the score sheet while Houston's dominant top scoring line (Maximilian Kirbsson, Kari Jurri, and Victor Kozlov) providing the scoring for the Bulls. The second period saw the script flipped a bit, with Kirbsson scoring from Jurri and Kozlov yet again and defenseman Samuel Sparrow also finding the net, this time from third-liners Joakim Sederstrom and Rhys Chism. The Bulls were out to a 3-2 lead at this point, but Halifax tied it up again as Rhye Tyr scored on the power play just over 2 minutes into the third period. About 7 minutes into the third, though, the fate of the game was ultimately decided. Houston forward Ludvig Sederstrom won a faceoff and the puck was knocked back to defenseman Jerry Garcia. He was checked off the puck, but it found its way to Garcia's defensive partner, Beau Buefordsson, and Houston maintained possession. From here, Buefordsson passed to Scotsman Callum MacElroy, who took the shot but had it blocked by Halifax's Anton Edvin. After caroming off of Edvin, the puck leaked back to the point, where Garcia unloaded a blast into the back of the net for Houston's game-winner. So why was this goal, and this game, so special? Well, first of all, look at the players with assists: MacElroy, whose drunken rants about Halifax have become league-wide news, and Buefordsson, who on his last visit to Halifax was deported before he got out of the airport. But Garcia? "I think all of us have some sort of issue with Halifax," said Garcia, who had before been fairly reserved on the topic of this season's newly-established rivalry between the two teams. "Back before the draft, I was actually contacted by Halifax twice. I'd only been registered for the draft for a day or two at that point, and I thought it was pretty neat that anyone at all was interested in me. I think they thought of me as a last-round selection, though, because I wasn't picked by them even when a few players around my level started to come off the board. I wanted to go to Halifax before the draft, but Houston has now shown me that this is where I am actually wanted." And wanted he is indeed in Houston. Upon the Bulls' arrival back home this morning, they were greeted with a parade, along with a rally in their arena, with Garcia front and center. Streets were packed with Bulls supporters waving anti-Halifax signs, Houston radio stations played the Bulls' goal song, "Horns Up," on repeat, and billboards with Garcia's face can currently be seen around the city. "Not only am I a defenseman, but I have a very defensive style," said Garcia on his goal during the rally. "So it's really a surprise that I've scored at all this season. But I think that wanting to beat Halifax as much as I do gave me that extra bit of energy I needed to put that puck in the net." When asked how the Bulls plan to use their strong following and momentum in the games to come, Garcia proclaimed, "Let's get that cup!" Based on Houston's strong play thus far, this doesn't look like a far-off dream.
  8. "Anyway, here's Wonderwall," said Halifax GM Anthony Rogers, pulling an acoustic guitar out from under his desk. The press let him get halfway through the first verse before politely informing him that the press conference was, in fact, not over, and that it would be nice, so very nice, if he could give the time to answer a few more questions about his team, the Halifax 21st, currently (and suspiciously) atop the VHLM standings behind some admittedly (though, again, suspiciously) stellar play from a few star players and the team as a whole. The conference got under way again, and ran smoothly until Rogers was asked for his opinion on the VHLM's two expansion franchises: the Houston Bulls and Philadelphia Reapers. At the mention of these names, Rogers showed no reaction whatsoever and asked the reporter to repeat himself. When he did, Rogers' response was a simple "I don't know what you're talking about." The 21st's response, or rather lack thereof, to negative anecdotes from Houston's players could certainly be explained by the situation at hand, as Rogers seemed to have no idea that the Bulls (or the Reapers) even existed in the first place, even after having played both. "So that's where Kozlov went," said Rogers, looking over Houston's roster and noticing Viktor Kozlov, a physical forward previously owned by the 21st and the lone player to be selected in this season's VHLM Expansion Draft. "Garcia, too. When the last round in this draft came up we looked for him, but he just wasn't there. I thought he just quit or something." Various Halifax players could not be reached for further comments or reactions. (@McWolf I did it)
  9. HOUSTON--As we all know, Texas is a very Republican state. ...which makes it a perfect perennial landing spot for right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro, who visited Houston's Toyota Center Friday night for one of his often-controversial, trademark speeches. It was filled with all the usual: the LIBTARD FEMINIST being RIPPED TO SHREDS and the LEFTIST PROFESSOR LEFT SPEECHLESS by Shapiro's LOGIC and FACTS. Though political matters occupied much of the discussion here, Shapiro took some time to address a question on his opinion on the VHLM, which has, as of this season, moved into Houston through expansion and gained a particularly strong following in a remarkably short time. "Now you know what I like about hockey? All these white guys beating each other up. All this white-on-white violence really helps destroy the myth of white male privilege," said Shapiro, to thunderous cheers from his predominantly conservative audience. "And it's great that our two new teams are American. It's great that we're taking back hockey as the all-American sport that it is. I mean, who needs Canada for anything anyway? ...Justin Trudeau? More like Justin Tru-don't." And it didn't stop there. Shapiro proceeded to rip into the city of Halifax, and their first-place team, the 21st, who have been the source of ridicule from many a Houston supporter with numerous preseason (and in-season) stories and comments from multiple Houston players regarding potentially illicit practices on the part of the team. "When I think of Halifax," said Shapiro, "you know what I picture? Nobody's walking around with a gun. Illegal aliens everywhere. No bald eagles dropping American flags on liberals. Just socialists with taxpayer-funded healthcare and no economy. I went to Halifax last week and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was living there. That's right, Houston: she's Canadian and ready to take over." When asked what, in particular, he disliked about the city of Halifax, Shapiro had a ready answer. "You know what I don't trust about Halifax? It's so far east. It's way out in the Atlantic Ocean, way out close to Europe. And you know what you find in Europe? Libtards and socialism. Imagine the peso becoming the official currency for all of North America. Imagine the USA being responsible for all the Mexicans. We wouldn't have President Trump to build us the wall because we'd have so much liberal influence over our country's wonderful leadership. That's what the European Union is, just a bunch of liberals letting Greece go down the drain. Halifax is so close to Europe that you could stand in Ireland and scream across the ocean and they'd hear you in Halifax. That's why I don't trust that city. If you go to Ireland you'll find a flock of liberals on all the beaches screaming across the water. That's what they're doing. They're using their liberal influence on Canada through Halifax. That's why I'm not a fan of the 21st. When I went to Halifax last week, I could just hear screaming libtards in the air and it took all my all-American patriotism to fight it off. But here I am, Houston, destroying those libtards, and here I will stay." Shapiro stood there in the Toyota Center for the next four and a half hours, destroying libtards whether the questions he received asked for it or not. *Possibly an obligatory disclaimer: the above does not reflect any political opinion of mine in any way, nor is it intended to promote any sort of political belief or ideology. I could be far-right, far-left, or anywhere in between, and what's important at the end of the day is that the VHL is a place where anyone who loves their hockey can come together and talk about it and have themselves a bit of fun, regardless of political belief or background. Please do not take this as any sort of endorsement for either side.
  10. The Houston Bulls and Halifax 21st finally met on Saturday, after a good deal of hype as many Houston players came forward to document their unpleasant experiences with not only the 21st but the city of Halifax in general. Any viewer of this game would have expected a hard, physical, competitive matchup, with both sides doing all they could to put the other in their place. But all expectations fell short of what ultimately happened during the pregame warmup in Halifax that night. Five minutes in, the lights in the arena shut off, and thick clouds of incense descended from the Halifax general managers' private box. Somebody down on the ice struck a match, and a scarecrow wearing Beau Buefordsson's #42 Houston Jersey was burned at the stake while Halifax players skated around it. By some Houston players' accounts, they were singing the Halo theme song. "I know the Halo theme song has gotten to be a bit of a joke lately on the Internet," said Buefordsson, who had to be disguised to get through security at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, "But it was scary. I took it as a bit of a threat; I didn't know whether this was normal Halifax behavior or if they were trying to send some sort of message or what." For the record, it didn't work--Halifax lost 4-3 on a third-period goal by Buefordsson's linemate, defenseman Jerry Garcia, who Halifax famously considered in the draft but let slip into the 5th round, where he was ultimately picked up by Houston. Halifax players, coaches, and management collectively avoided the topic during postgame interviews.
  11. "WHEN AH WAKE OP WELL AH NO AHM GONAE BE AHM GONAE BE DA MON WHO WAKES UP NEXT TAE YOU" The Proclaimers' greatest hit was blasting out of Callum MacElroy's locker in Houston yesterday, and MacElroy was singing along at the top of his lungs. Still, he agreed to an interview, albeit through a gigantic mouthful of haggis. MacElroy, the second-year forward from Scotland, was asked the usual--if he expected to be in Houston, if he was happy to be in Houston, what he thought of the team so far, you know the drill. But when asked if any city in particular stood out to him, he had an interesting answer. "Ah hud a feelin' ah was gonnae Hooston, but thooght ah micht check it aw th' other VHLM cities an aw," said MacElroy, discussing his pre-draft plans. Due to his strong personal connection with Houston's general manager, Alexander Pepper, MacElroy fully believed he was headed to Houston, and indeed that turned out to be the case. But he still had a bit to say about another city. "Ah visited Halifax an' hated it," said MacElroy. "Ah dunnae kin hoo ye Westerners hink that's a real city. It's much tae wee an' it smells loch auld goat's milk. There's naethin' interestin' thaur an' aw th' folk swatch loch they're fed up it ay their heids ur loch they want tae kill ye." Representatives from the Halifax 21st could not be reached for further comment.
  12. Jerry Garcia was born on August 9th, 1998, in San Francisco, California, to two parents who were perfectly normal in every way, thank you very much. ...Well, not exactly. Eyes of the World: The Early Life You see, despite incredibly improbable odds, both of his parents were conceived at Woodstock, were born in the spring of 1970, and embraced the counterculture movement of the '60s in ways which would make some hippies say "hey, man, let's take a step back here." "You know, I was never around at the same time as the Grateful Dead," said Garcia, who, not altogether coincidentally, shares a name with the group's all-time great lead guitarist, who died of health complications three years to the day before the defenseman's birth, "But you'd never know it from looking at me or my family. Other kids grew up with The Wiggles; I got 45-minute jam sessions." At home, Garcia's parents burned incense, smoked weed, and, well, kept smoking weed. "I have no idea how it's possible for anyone to be constantly stoned like that," says Garcia, "but it happened. I remember the first time I tried it, and I was 8 years old in the back of our old station wagon and we were driving from Boulder to Seattle to follow Phish." In this respect, however, the talented young player was quite different from his parents. "I hated it," he says. "I coughed for days on end afterwards and didn't feel much of anything. I decided to never touch the stuff again." The social dynamics of school proved to be a challenge for Garcia as well. It was a rare day when he did not face the ridicule of his peers for anything from his tie-dye shirts to his organic almond butter and flax seed sandwiches. Despite all this, however, he didn't hate his identity. In fact, he embraced it, picking up the guitar at the age of 12 and forming Grateful to be Alive, a local jam band which played gigs in San Francisco bars from when Garcia was 15 until he turned 18. At that point, though, he'd had enough. Enough of the counterculture. Enough declining his parents' offers of pot brownies. Enough almond butter and flax seed sandwiches. And though he continues to love their music, even listening to the Dead can wear thin on a 24-hour basis. As soon as Jerry Garcia could legally leave home, he packed up and did it. Truckin': Journey to Houston "In retrospect, that may not have been the smartest decision," Garcia remarked. "I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I didn't know where I was going to live. I'd worked at a local co-op at the end of our block that believed in 'sticking it to the man' and not following any federal laws. As luck would have it, that principle extended to the minimum wage, and my $4 an hour didn't really amount to much in savings." All of which, by the way, were in cash, as his family did not trust banks. "I fit everything I had in a suitcase and carried my guitar on my back," Garcia recalls. "I needed to get out, so I decided on Phoenix. I didn't really have a reason why I was going to Phoenix. I just wanted to. Anything is cheaper than San Fran these days." So he did. And as it was the middle of August, it was hot. Not just hot but Phoenix hot. "I stepped out of the car and it was a hundred eight degrees. 108! And it was like that all week. I spent my entire first week walking around a Walmart trying not to be noticed just because it was air-conditioned. Eventually I found an apartment and a full-time job at a rec center, and the very first thing I bought was the nicest window-mounted AC unit I could find." Eventually, Garcia became settled in with his surroundings, and as part of his job was to do some paperwork and organization for a local junior hockey team, he visited the rink one day to try skating for the first time. "To be honest, I really only walked in because it was cold," says Garcia. "I knew the manager, and he let me on the ice after hours for as long as I wanted to be there, so long as I resurfaced it afterward. Within a month, I was absolutely flying around the ice and was starting to get pretty good with a puck." Good enough, in fact, that he was invited to try out for the junior team that winter, improbably making it onto the first defensive line a few weeks into the season and attracting scouts from some minor professional leagues. "It was unbelievable seeing this kid," said Alexander Pepper, Helsinki goaltender and general manager of the VHLM's expansion Houston Bulls. "He didn't look like anything special from an outsider's perspective. He really just looked like any other defenseman out there. But the fact that he'd gotten to that point and was competing with very talented players who had been playing their entire lives after just a few months was ridiculous. I put him on our draft board right then and there." Garcia woke up at 5:00 every morning, going to the rec center's gym before it opened at 8 and working out for three hours straight. And then he'd skate. Whether his team were there or not, if the ice was unoccupied, he was out there. "I kept a printed schedule of all the times the rink was available, in my car, in my apartment, just about everywhere I could. I'd skate for an hour, bring out the Zamboni for a little league game, skate for another hour, bring it out for the beer league, skate again, then practice with the team and put in a bit of extra skating work after that. The manager was great: he let me do all this as long as I had all the paperwork done for him by the next day. I'd do it during games and sometimes I'd take it home at night. Some nights I was up past midnight and I got up at 5 the next morning anyway. I'd take weekends off from skating, and sometimes I slept straight through Saturday." And when the draft rolled around, Garcia's dreams came true, when he was picked up by the Bulls with the 36th overall pick in the VHLM draft. Garcia has had a strong preseason so far, recording a goal and four assists through his first four games despite maintaining a defensive style of play. "I couldn't be happier," Garcia says about his arrival in Houston. Oh, and he still listens to the Dead.
  13. HALIFAX--Beau Buefordsson went undrafted this year, but that didn't stop him from being at the center of a pre-draft scene in Halifax. The defenseman who signed with Houston on February 19th came forward Sunday night with a shocking, and perhaps, a tad humorous, anecdote from before the VHLM draft, when he was being scouted by teams around the league. Visits went well, he said, to every team interested in seeing him, even as he flew to northern Alaska for a visit with the Yukon Rush. There was one team, however, that he did not meet with, and that was because he didn't even get past airport security. The official cause? He "looked too Nordic," according to French-Canadian Jean-Luc Dubois, head of security at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. "I went through the metal detector, got the full-body scan, complied when I was asked to take off my left shoe so they could smell it, didn't complain when they took my lucky bottle of rat urine, and they still stuck handcuffs on me and shipped me back to the States because I had the 'nose of a Swede'," Buefordsson said in Sunday night's press conference. When reached by the media, a representative of airport security delivered one single sentence in reply: "Canada is a country for the French." Many other Canadian cities, Vancouver and Toronto included, have condemned this statement, and the city of Halifax states that Buefordsson's detention "in no way reflects the moral character of Halifax or its people." Representatives for the Halifax 21st, thought by a small group of Houston's supporters to be at the root of this problem, could not be reached for further comment at this time.
  14. HOUSTON--We have a problem. Or at least Beau Buefordsson does. The city of Houston pulled countless strings to bring out the best for the Bulls, one of the VHLM's two new expansion teams. Just short of $700 million was spent on a state-of-the-art arena, connected to a multipurpose facility housing everything from a shopping mall to the Bulls' practice rinks. And yet, just a few days after the ribbon was cut on the practice facility and team activities began, the doors were closed, citizens hoping to catch a glimpse of the Bulls' practice were turned away, and there was ribbon up again, this time of the yellow "DO NOT CROSS" variety. And after a day and a half of speculation, the answer has finally been released to the media. "When Buefordsson walked into the room," said a member of the team who did not wish for his name to be printed, "I almost threw up." Furthermore, according to this player, "[w]e couldn't even get the smell out after he left. We've just hired a private contractor to replace all the carpeting in the locker room and we also plan on getting the entire thing fumigated. I don't even know how something like this is humanly possible." For Buefordsson, as well, things got ugly. "[Houston GM] Alexander [Pepper] chased him out of the building with a sponge and a gallon of bleach. I don't know what happened after that and I'm not sure I want to," said the player. Buefordsson has reportedly been ordered to pay for the professional deodorizing of the facility, as well as for an entire year's supply of air fresheners and cleaning equipment. When contacted by the media, both Pepper and Buefordsson declined to comment.