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  1. So the theme's "Life After the VHL." But Aloe still has another season left in her career, and I didn't find Apollo Hackett's career to be all that interesting before he won the championship with Riga in his seventh (and final) season, anyways. Instead, I opted to consider what life might be like after the VHL for me, the user – I've explored this topic a couple of times in the past through VHL.com articles, and I'd like to expand on it a little more here. The closer I get to the end of Dear's career, the more at-peace I am with a decision to hang it up in the VHL, at least for a little while. Whether that ends up being one single season or ten, I think I'll need some time off from max earning here – and probably in the EFL, too, though I do feel strongly about the success of both leagues. Ultimately, I'm a single user in a sea of dozens, if not hundreds, for either league, so I don't think any hiatus I take would be of significant (practical) impact to either league. And I've espoused not really wanting to feel the pressure of being a max earner in the VHL for a couple of seasons now. The question then becomes, what does real life look like for me currently, and what do I want to do after Dear's done? I currently work in a hospital in the southeast US as a medical resident. So most of my days – usually 6 days a week, though sometimes there are weeks when I work 5 or 7 – are spent with about 12-14 hours in the hospital or a clinic. I do a little academic reading before and after work in preparation for boards (or a licensure exam in the first year of residency called Step 3, which is specific to this year in my training), maybe catch dinner with a friend or two a couple of times a week and make time every day for a little leisure. Whether that's putting in work for sim leagues, listening to the League of Legends crew play their games, reading novels for leisure, or playing music, I can always find something to do with free time. I'm also intensely introverted, which means by the time I'm done with work, I'm usually all social-ed out; it's even occasionally a chore for me to catch dinner with a friend since I'm so exhausted from speaking with so many people every day during work. What disengaging from the earning-specific aspect of the VHL and EFL does for me is free up some time for me to enjoy other activities, whether that's by myself or with others. I've a backlog of books I'd like to read – particularly John Green's Looking for Alaska and Lisa Delpit's Teaching When the World Is On Fire. Neither are particularly difficult reads, but I've found what I've read of the latter of the two to be particularly rewarding to read provided the recent trends in my country's political environment. In my line of work, being able to engage those in stressful situations in a thoughtful and compassionate way is critical; there's a lot of room for even seasoned physicians to improve in that capacity, to say nothing of someone with the comparatively little experience I possess. I want to make a deliberate attempt to improve my communication skills with those that don't share my specific educational background or childhood socioeconomic privilege. While I do get a lot of enjoyment out of spending time in the VHL and EFL, I think it's time to take a step back and make sure I'm being intentional about the way I use a larger portion of my free time and ensuring – even moreso than the last four and a half years – that I'm becoming the best physician I can be. Thanks for reading.
  2. Well, this is incredible. Just as this week's Theme Week was announced I discovered something amazing here at the Thadscape Studios. Just...take a listen and find out what I mean... Mentions: @Juice
  3. Connor Johnson, bust turned baker, oh what a tale it is. See, Connor comes from a state known for there extensive hockey programs, bad road conditions, and most of all Detroit. This combination of clearly positive things gave Connor the tools necessary to see a future in pro hockey. That and his will power allowed Connor to go straight from high school and right into the professional scene, no need for those prestigious colleges or back up plans. Things were looking up for the young star. However, on his way to the Halifax practice field (driving his brand new Audi RS 5 Coupe) he noticed the immense build up of ice on the road, it was all too late. Connor lost all traction that once suctioned him to the dark, Canadian asphalt. "There isn't much to it, I could do that, If I still had both my arms." Connors disabled self thought as he watched the lead goal scorer in the VHLM (Bryn Yrwy) slam one into the back of the net. He turned off the TV. "So Connor, how is life outside the VHLM?" Connor hasn't played once, not since he signed that $1.5 million contract. "Could be better Anne, you'd think in this day and age, technology and such, that anyone could open a bakery" Connors voice trails off as if he's thinking of what could have been. "Do you find it hard, making bread and pastries with only one arm?" Anne asks in a curious tone. Connor's life outside the VHLM couldn't be worse, after he lost that bet forcing him to open that bakery (Who'd think Joe Madison had it in him, forcing a one armed man to bake for a living, brutal) Our reporter didn't get much else out of Connor, as secluded as he is, I'm surprised he was even willing to talk with us to begin with. (We promptly got kicked out after that last question) Connor admitted that he spends the vast majority of his day baking partly because it's developed this sort of stress release for him but mostly because he has one arm. Connor goes about life how any retired VHL player would, except the bakery part. What's even weirder is that his bakery only sells to former VHL players and is closed during the summer. This large chunk of free time allows Connor to spend his off-season at his beach home in Puerto Rico. The only reason he can afford to continue living like this is due to the pension he receives from the VHL, totaling $250,000 a year. There are, and always have been, talks about his return into the VHLM. Many have proposed a prosthetic arm, and some less intelligent people have suggested he could just play whilst being one-armed. However, Connor is living a life of comfort, and baking, that's a life many people could be satisfied in. But in truth and in summary, I don't see any way Connor could play hockey again, not with his genuine unhappiness when he watches the sport he once loved. 512 words, claiming for one week.
  4. A New Beginning (In the VHL) It was 10 years after he retired, but Linus Zetterstrom was still heavily involved in the game of hockey and the Victory Hockey League, where he has spent his professional career. After he hung up the skates, the serenity of a quiet, peaceful, hockey-less life quickly faded, revealing an everlasting urge to be at the rink. Zetterstrom quenched his hockey thirst by scouting, getting hired by VHL Central Scouting, and assigned to Toronto, Ontario, where he lived with his family. He was also a very avid follower of his oldest son, Mattias, and his hockey career. Mattias was 15 now, and playing for the U16 AAA Toronto Red Wings of the GTHL (Greater Toronto Hockey League). It was on that fateful day where Zetterstrom was taking in one of Mattias’ games that his life and the future of the VHL changed forever. It was a crispy cold day in the middle of December, and the GTHL season was ripe. It was all the players’ OHL draft years, and the tension was high at every game knowing there were scouts in the stands. This wasn’t a scouting day for Linus Zetterstrom, however. As he trudged through the snow, freezing cold slush seeping into his boots, watching his son, Mattias, enter the building with his team, he was ready to enjoy the game for what it was, not be on the job. Once he was inside, he stomped off his boots in an effort to rid them of snow, and gazed around the lobby. The Red Wings’ opponent today, the Don Mills Flyers, were all gathered in the lobby as well, not-so-patiently waiting for their dressing room to become available. As the squad stood together, talking loudly together and checking their phones simultaneously, Zetterstrom noticed something. One of the players was about six inches shorter than most of his teammates, and way skinnier. Curious, Zetterstrom tried to get a better look at the kid, but before he could the Flyers clustered into the dressing room hallway, blocking his view. He shrugged, sure it was no big deal and he would see him on the ice soon. As he climbed the concrete stairs into the stands, he was approached by a friend, Casey Marleau, who’s son, Caleb, played for the Flyers. ‘Hey Linus, how’s it going, man? Should be a good game today, I heard you guys are on fire’ ‘Oh, hey Casey, yeah, should be a good one. I looked at the standings earlier and it should be an important game too’ They shook hands, and sat down in the top right corner of the arena, Linus’ favourite spot for scouting. Even if he wasn’t on the job, he still liked to view the game from a certain angle. ‘Hey Casey, do you guys have any OHL interest yet? Of course there are scouts, but interviews and showcases? Just wondering since Mattias is starting to talk with teams.’ ‘Yeah, there’s been some activity. We have a few guys who are projected to go top 10, like Freddy Rockua and Keaton Wulfstone, keep an eye out for those two today. Caleb actually got his first interview yesterday, with Sarnia, but I haven’t heard about any showcases quite yet.’ ‘Interesting. We have this one kid, called Massimo Cortier, who is just incredible. From a scout perspective, I have no doubt he will go top five. He’s on an OHL level physically and his vision and hands are already NHL caliber.’ ‘Yeah, I’ve heard of him. I think it’s really starting to become apparent which guys are going higher and which guys might have to consider other options.’ ‘Absolutely.’ Casey and Linus both trailed off, as both teams exploded onto the ice for warmup and ‘Hells Bells’ by AC/DC started blaring from the speakers. Both men, fathers at heart, leapt to their feet to cheer for their sons. After they sat down, Linus’ eyes were once again drawn to the scrawny kid on Don Mills. He watched as he danced around the ice, slowing down then accelerating while cupping a puck and scanning the ice ahead of him. Once he shot around the net, he pivoted backwards and, without losing the puck, pulled off a series of tight turns and mohawks that impressed the VHL veteran. He slowly took off his backpack, reached in, and grabbed his pen and a sheet of lined paper. Marleau watched this unfold and chuckled. ‘Can’t resist the urge, can you, Linus? Always on the lookout, eh.’ ‘I try not to while watching Matti’s games. I just have one question. Who’s that tiny kid on your team? ‘Oh, that’s Rhett, Keaton’s little brother. He’s playing a year up. Most of the parents initially figured it’s because our coach is Brent Wulfstone, their father. But he’s held his own out there. I hear he’s gonna apply for exceptional status in the O.’ Zetterstrom chewed on the cap of his pen. How could he not scout such an amazing talent? He reached back into his bag to nab his glasses to get a better view of the ice. Casey watched attentively and nodded. ‘I can go sit with the other fans for a while if you want to just sit and focus’ ‘Sure. I’ll come and talk with you during the intermissions.’ The two men shook hands one again and Marleau stood up and strolled over to where the rest of the Flyers fans sat. Linus was left alone with his own thoughts as the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the warmup period. Truth be told, he thought it would be a pretty one-sided contest. He figured he’d humour Casey to be nice, but the Wings were the better team. Cortier, Zetterstrom, Tucker Bolton, and their goalie, Ali Roswell, were all top OHL prospects. The Wings’ starting line included Mattias centering Cortier and Kingston Raner, with Bolton and Janssan Mortimer on the blueline, and Roswell between the pipes. The Flyers countered with Milo Pellier centering Rockua and their secret weapon, Rhett Wulfstone. The elder Wulfstone as well as Caleb Marleau patrolled their defensive line, with Gifford Shock (@JardyB10 ) in the crease. As the puck dropped and the play began, Linus’ eyes locked onto Rhett as he performed his magic. Pellier tied up Zetterstrom at the faceoff, giving Rockua a chance to swoop in and knock it back to K. Wulfstone, who took a step towards the boards, gave a shoulder fake, then fired it back to Marleau behind him. R. Wulfstone, his eyes flicking between the puck and the ice in front of him, curled around center, presenting himself for a pass. Marleau sauced the puck over some sticks and off the boards, right in front of Rhett. Mortimer, torn between pinching and busting his balls backwards, hesitated for a split second, which would prove fatal. Rhett picked up the puck at full speed, gave a little fake towards the boards, turning Mortimer’s toes, and cut right back inside, leaving the poor defenceman in the dust. He was now on a 1-1 against Bolton, with Rockua sprinting up ice to support the puck. Hearing Rockua’s skates ripping up the ice behind him, R. Wulfstone pulled the puck back on his forehand, giving the impression that he was shooting. Seeing this, Bolton left the middle of the ice and lunged for Wulfstone, trying to deflect the puck into the glass. At the last second, Wulfstone flipped to his backhand, spun around, and feathered a pass onto the tape of Rockua in the slot, who kicked a backchecking Cortier’s stick out of the way, threw a forehand fake, freezing Roswell, pulled the puck to his backhand and put it top shelf. The Don Mills fan section erupted in cheers. Linus Zetterstrom put pen to paper; ‘Rhett Wulfstone - ‘ but paused. How could he form an opinion after only one shift? He glanced at the clock. Only 8 seconds had passed. He put his pen down in his pocket and eased his glasses off his nose. He was here to watch his son and that was what he intended to do. When the two starting lines returned to the ice, perennially matched up against each other, the faceoff was to the left of Shock in the Don Mills zone. Zetterstrom and Pellier once again lined up for the draw, but this time, Zetterstrom won it back cleanly to Bolton at the point. Bolton absorbs the pass, gives a little head fake to try to shake off Rockua, who is sprinting at him from the hash marks, and jolts around him before dishing it off to Raner, who is set up on the other dot for a one timer. The slapper careens off the blocker of Shock, and is picked up by K. Wulfstone, who curls back around the net. Raner guards up the ice while Wulfstone assesses the situation from behind the net. After a few seconds, he lunges one way, then turns back the other and wires a bank pass to his brother, who turns up ice, takes a stride, and bumps it back to Keaton, who takes the pass and flies up the ice at full speed. As he drives by Mortimer, Rhett slyly steps in front of the defender and lifts his stick, rendering him unable to defend the rush. Linus is still unable to believe his eyes. He did not come here to scout, yet his scout sense is tingling like Spiderman’s was when he saw the Space Donut in Infinity War. This kid has something special, and it would be a shame if Linus didn’t at least document it. At least, Matti’s line was matched up with Rhett’s, so he could watch both at the same time. He leaned back in his seat, content he had found a healthy alternative. He grabbed a piece of Excel gum from his pocket and popped in his mouth, and as the strong, minty taste flooded his taste buds, Rhett Wulfstone got back on the ice. R. Wulfstone pops back on the ice just in time to catch the rear end of a successful Red Wings regroup. He carefully skates parallel with Zetterstrom as he rushed it through the neutral zone, before extending his stick and steering him into the boards. At the last second, Zetterstrom flicks it over Wulfstone’s stick to Cortier, who streaks into the zone. Wulfstone throws his body into Zetterstrom, but bounces off without much effort, the physical difference between the boys never as evident. Nevertheless, he tracks him into the zone as Cortier drives through the stick of Marleau Josh Anderson-style and gets a soft shot off which is kicked away by Shock. Marleau, reacting quickly, grabs the puck and looks up for options. He hits Pellier, who is swooping down to receive it at full speed, and carries it up to the Flyers blueline before hitting a flying R. Wulfstone cross ice. Wulfstone drives the outside of Bolton before dropping it to Rockua behind him, now with plenty of space and only one defender in Mortimer. Unfortunately, Rockua fails to see Pellier tucking in behind him and attempts to dangle around Mortimer, but gets rightfully knocked on his ass. Bolton picks it back up and begins skating it up the ice. R. Wulfstone, tracking him, follows him to the red line before lifting his stick, driving his knee between the puck and Bolton’s hands, and popping Bolton with his shoulder. The puck squirts loose, where it is picked up by Pellier and dumped into the Red Wings zone for a change. Linus pulls out his notepad once again. He turns to a new page and notes the good plays that Mattias made to talk with him afterwards, but eventually flips back to his Wulfstone page. He starts jotting down all of the things he has seen Rhett do that have impressed him. ‘Elite backhand passing, solid angling, fantastic acceleration and speed, super high hockey IQ, unafraid of contact’ and some things that he could work on, ‘Struggles physically, doesn’t shoot enough’. He put the notebook down and glanced at the clock. 2 minutes left in the period. Linus packed up his backpack, lifted it onto his back, got up, and wandered over to where Casey Marleau stood with a few other parents. He stood silently behind the group as the period winded down, and when the buzzer sounded to signal the end, he tapped Marleau on the shoulder. ‘Hey Casey. Enjoying the game so far?’ ‘Yeah, Linus, it’s looking like a close finish is ahead. Your boy is having one hell of a game, eh?’ ‘I could say the same about Caleb. Unfortunately, I have a call to make, so I cannot watch at least this next period. Would you mind sending me updates on Matti? I would very much appreciate it.’ ‘Yeah, for sure, man. See ya soon’ Linus nodded, and began walking towards the stairs. As he descended, he pulled out his phone. He dialed a certain number, one he hadn’t dialed since the last VHL draft. ‘Hello. Is this Mr Euron Leonidas of VSN Scouting? Yes, this is Linus. I called because there’s a certain kid I wanted to tell you about…….’ TO BE CONTINUED TL;DR: My next player is going to be called Rhett Wulfstone 2201 words, claiming for 4 weeks (lesgo) I guess I have to ping @Spartan too
  5. Rock Bottom #27 Welcome to the Jungle!! I'm your host, Phil Knight. Today we: - LONG TIME NO SEE HEAR - WTF IS CHIAGO SMOKING?? - THEME WEEK AGAIN! WHERE'S RAFTER NOW? Enjoy this edition! KnightTime Podcast Questions Thread Songs: In Time - Robbie Robb This is a division of KnightTime Radio. Run Time: 21.5 minutes
  6. I have not really thought about my life after the VHL saying I have not even played my first season with Warsaw; I did not even really have a back up plan. I was set on playing hockey here in the VHL, following the footsteps of my father Zachariah Kisslinger. Of course, every kid at one point says they want to be one million different things when they are younger, but I cannot really think of anything that I wanted to be. If I had to pick one thing it would have to do with law enforcement. I feel like law enforcement or security is the safest thing for me because of my size. Being 6’8 it really feels awkward to be anything else that does not require my size. Hell, I feel like I would be an intimidating officer ha-ha. I feel like being a hockey player has me into the community in Stockholm and I feel like the fans really like me here. I feel like I would integrate well with the police officers because I have a certain respect from the people of Stockholm. I cannot really say the same with Warsaw as I have never played a game there yet, but I feel like the fans are hyped for my call up, which is a good sign. I really like to be involved into the community and keep the communities I love safe. There are so many programs I could do with the young kids in Stockholm do keep them on the safer side of life. Policing is a super social and hard stress job but so is being a top prospect in the VHL. No, I am not saying the stressors are the same, but they feel the same. Both careers have you held to a certain standard. Policing, you need to keep the community safe and be a great role model for the kids and with the VHL you need to perform at the highest level without facing backlash from the media and community. Another job that I would consider doing is becoming a coach somewhere in a professional hockey league. I have been around hockey my whole life and I feel like I have a fair knowledge of the game. Growing up and watching my father play in Prague is what got me super hooked to hockey. All the traveling got me exposed to all the great international talent across the world and the one thing that stood out to me was the coaches. These coaches have so much pressure to handle these top-level athletes and make them perform to their best. Being a coach is a job for those who are die hard fans of the game and I feel like I am one of them. Who knows though, maybe I will make enough money throughout my career, and I will not have to work another day in my life? Maybe I will make enough money to live in a nice beach house and enjoy my days. I will just take one day at a time and see how my life plays out.
  7. Victor Grachev. Warsaw Predators core defensemen for his entire career. A consistent player across each season, he has herald the assistant captain letter on his jersey for nearly his entire career on the team. But as time moves on, retirement looms on the horizon. So what's next for Victor Grachev? Well, a number of things. There exists the rumors of a possible trade elsewhere to look for one more cup. Warsaw loyal fans might see this as a betrayal to the team, but most understand the level of dedication Grachev has given to the team. Never complaining about ice time, always a good spirit in the locker room, and playing his best whenever it mattered, Victor solidified himself as a Predator to be remembered for a long time. But a trade would give him one more run at the cup, potentially. "Management has to make a call that's best for the team," Grachev said recently. "And although Warsaw has been my home for a long time, I want that decision - if it comes - to be for the betterment of the Warsaw organization. If I stay, then I stay. If they need to send me elsewhere, then I leave on excellent terms." But what Victor is sure of is his off-ice achievements, especially in the Warsaw community. He recently took on a part time position in a local youth hockey league that might transition to full time when he retires. "I love helping kids learn the game I play," Victor stated. "And seeing their joy whenever I interact with them gives me the greatest feeling of accomplishment." The Warsaw community has been especially welcoming to the defenseman's contributions, exemplifying him with the renaming of the local rink. Grachev recently contributed $1 million dollars in a donation to boost the local youth hockey league. As of November 1st, 2021, the Riverfront Ice House will transition to the Victor Grachev Ice Arena. Not only has Victor began working with youth hockey, he recently began to mentor a few junior players playing in the area. Although they have transitioned out as seasons came and went, there was one player that Victor struck up a bond with. "When he first arrived, it was like meeting a younger version of me," Grachev said. "He showed great skills on the ice and was an amazing player. I've worked with him on the ice early in the mornings a few times, I think he has what it takes. I know I've mentioned to him the prospect of heading to the VHLM, but he is actively still playing in his current junior league." That player? Perry Laperrière, the French centerman from Lyon. "Perry has become a tremendous friend and player," Victor continued. "I'm excited to follow his career with earnest!" While Grachev has been steadily preparing for his retirement, he continues to play well for the Predators as they continue their battle throughout this season. Will he finish the season in Warsaw? Possibly, but if there's one note of certainty, it's that Victor Grachev is extremely thankful for his time with Warsaw. "I wouldn't have had it any other way. I have been treated exceptionally well and have enjoyed my career completely." Time will tell how Grachev's season ends, but his career has been tremendous, even though he lacks in individual awards. Grachev doesn't seem to think about that at all, but rather the time spent with his team, the friends he made along the way, and the championship won in S78.
  8. Swiss Central Gazzette We asked our local VHLM export Daniel Janser what his plans are after his developing player career. Apparently he is already contemplating his future, as he gave us the following reply: 'I will attend sports management courses while still playing on a professional level. One never knows when a career such as mine comes to an end. Bobby Orr is but one example where injuries led to a premature career end. Once I retire from playing hockey, I will buy me an explorer yacht. Something like a Nordhavn 148 and make a 2 year world tour with my brother, sister and the rest of the family. Some of the stops which I already 'bucketlisted' will be Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway, the Mediterranean, the Bermudas, Antarctica, Australia, Canada, the US (both coasts each), Hawai'i. I am sure more destinations will come to my mind, there is still plenty of time after all. Once back I would like to be a coach or GM of a smaller team and pass on my experience and encourage young players to pursue their dreams. It would be amazing to contribute to the success of the next generation's player and to see them conquering the VHL. I also have plans to found an academy for kids who do not have the financial means to play hockey and to help them to develop their skating and other skills. Of course marriage and kids are always an option and it will be interesting to see what sports (if any at all) they dip their toes into. Should I be ever tired of hockey I could still learn how to fix/restore vintage cars, as I like the classic muscle cars (even though it is irresponsible nowadays to drive a fuel guzzler such as these). I also play with the thought of getting a pilot's license as I am fascinated by aviation as well. There is so much to do in the life after hockey. Whatever I end up doing, I want to enjoy myself and only do what I have a passion for and I want to give back to the community and to the people who helped me along my way, such as my parents, my siblings and the coaches who encouraged me. I want to learn an instrument, preferably E-Guitar and build a house back in Switzerland (maybe converting an old farmstead, so I can keep my family close). I could also imagine to 'join the dark side' and start a refereeing career. I have the highest respect to the refs as they have to take splitsecond decisions without really participating in the game but still being a crucial part of the game. It is always easy as a spectator to make 'the right' decision with all the different angles and super-slo-mo's on the video cube. But it is not an easy job to make the calls when they happen and being surrounded by 12 ripped, adrenaline fuelled athletes who are not always ok with the your decisions/interpretation of the rulebook. In short: I am sure I will not be bored after having retired from playing hockey.'
  9. PRAGUE, October 15 (CZLife) - Jan Hlozek of the Riga Reign may only be in his third VHL season, and in what some may say would be the prime of his career, but that hasn’t stopped the Czech blueliner from taking steps to set himself up for life after hockey. By all accounts, the life of a professional athlete is far removed from that of the general public. For a start, your skills are, to a certain extent, temporary. Once a player reaches the age of 35, their marketable assets are almost out the window and they have to move into other spheres to make a living. That’s not to say that hockey players don’t get a headstart when it comes to life after hockey. For a start, smart financial investing and the ability to rein in spending during their professional careers mean that many players are able to take it easy after they hang up the skates. However, other players have a penchant for the flashy lifestyle. They spend their substantial pay checks and are left with almost nothing when they do finally decide to leave the game. The Riga Reign are having yet another disappointing VHL season, with the team from the Latvian capital on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff push. Despite the internal turmoil at the team, and the lack of results, Hlozek cut a relaxed figure as he spoke with us at CZLife to touch on themes outside of hockey. “I think making yourself a marketable asset off the ice is just as important as making yourself a marketable asset on the ice,” Hlozek said. Since making his name in Riga, Hlozek has looked to invest in numerous projects and brands as a means of diversifying his portfolio. “I’ve got involved with some manufacturing companies, some tech companies, some fashion companies. I’ve got a great team of people around me and it’s great to be able to be involved in some of these projects. I always want to stay on top of the latest trends, and doing things like this helps me stay in touch with what’s current and what’s making money,” the Riga Reign’s #14 said. When it comes to fashion, Hlozek is co-owner of Latvian streetwear brand BLTC, whose items touch on the themes of industrial decay and the post-Soviet malaise. The Czech defenceman also has several holdings in fintech companies based in neighboring Estonia, which is seen to be one of Europe’s great hubs of innovative technologies. Despite having this detailed portfolio, which could in theory leave Hlozek with more money than he could ever dream to make on the ice, the hockey star said that he was always looking for more opportunities. “I’d love to own a restaurant in Prague, in Brno. Not just a place where it has my name on the wall, but a place that I can truly be proud of, that makes innovative food, uses innovative techniques, gets into the Michelin Star book. That’s one of the things that I’m working really hard to make happen at the moment,” Hlozek said. Hlozek’s father Jiri was one of the Czech Republic’s greatest ever players. He made his career with the legendary Vsetin and Bratislava teams in the 1960s and 1970s, and he was part of the legendary Slovan Bratislava team that became the first team based in Slovakia to win the Czechoslovak Federal League. In retirement, Jiri Hlozek became a coach and led Vsetin to their run of unparalleled success in the Czech Extraliga in the 1990s. “For my dad, hockey is everything. He couldn’t imagine life without being at the rink for eight hours a day. Despite how much of an icon he is for Czech hockey, he still gives all the kids his time, helps out, cleans up. For him it’s his whole life. I guess I’m different in that way,” Hlozek Jr. says. Jan Hlozek has spent much of his professional career outside of the Czech Republic, chasing opportunities in the VHL. He spent one year in Saskatoon, one in Miami, and is now in his third season in Riga. For the young blueliner who is scoring at almost a point-per-game clip this season, hockey may not be the be all and end all in life. “I guess I’m trying to see what I can do outside of hockey. I don’t really want to go into coaching like my dad, because I would always be compared with him. At least when we play now, he was a forward, I’m a defenceman. No-one really tries to compare us and I can do my own thing. I would never be as good of a coach as my father is, and I want him to have his legacy untarnished by whatever I would try and do,” Hlozek Jr. says. But what other options does Jan Hlozek have? Does he take the route that many former players have and make appearances on TV as pundits? “I’m not a huge fan of that type of work. For me, it seems super fake to have these guys out there in terrible suits on TV criticizing the guys that are on the ice. Sure, maybe the money is nice, and I guess it’s kind of cool to just be able to sit down and talk about hockey, but that’s not really what I’m interested in,” Hlozek remarked. Taking the traditional career trajectory of VHL players into account, Jan Hlozek’s career will, in the near future, begin to go onto the downswing. For the Topolna native, creating a range of opportunities and possibilities for himself outside of the game seems to be the right move in setting himself up for life after hockey. But the question remains. Does this mean that his attention isn’t fully on the season at hand? “Of course I’m fully committed to what we’re doing in Riga. I mean, I can’t let my teammates down like that. I come to the rink every day and I give my all for this team. What I do in my spare time is my own business. I want to win now. I’ve said that,” he concluded.
  10. Here it is VHL, your all inclusive theme week podcast!
  11. https://anchor.fm/erlantz-jokinen/episodes/For-points--for-practice---E2-e18nvbp 15:13
  12. For Armani Calamari, life after hockey would probably not be easy. He would have to adjust to not having to wake up early every day to prepare for practices. But here I have a crystal ball that can tell me where he will go after he eventually retires. And no, it will not show me his accomplishments throughout the years as they are too cloudy trust me I tried. But it does show that he would retreat from wherever he lasts plays back to his home city of Toronto to live out the rest of his life. After a year or two doing media appearances, he would get into hockey commentary for Canadian broadcasts. He would become a decently popular color commentator and would get a job doing hockey analysis for various sports networks. But eventually the work would wear on him because or constantly having to agure his points with his partners. He also was not the biggest fan of always having to wear a suit. After 4 years of doing this, he would step down from both of those jobs and would again retreat to his house in Toronto. After a while he writes his memoirs which are eventually published into a popular autobiography. Using the money from this and his previous jobs, he decides to open a coffee shop in a small town outside of Toronto. It would manage to become extremely popular due to Armani getting recipes from his dad's old friend Craig and he would spend most of the rest of his life running the shop. He would also finally get a son, with Eric Calamari being born a year later. I unfortunately cannot figure out who the mother is though. He would get into writing books again and would start writing horror and mystery novels. His most popular novels are "Mystery of the Red Manor" and "The Final Silence of Evergreen". The latter ends up being extremely interesting as it is about a small town where everyone who was born there has no voice due to an ancient curse. It's also extremely hard to leave the town. The former is about a group of young adults investigating an old manor where people supposedly went missing. He would manage to become a best seller with those two and would help work on a movie adaptation called "Silence of Evergreen". After all of that Armani figures that he has led a long and fulfilling life. With his son also getting into hockey he takes retire off from the coffee shop and the movie to help him. He would become a youth hockey coach and would become known for encouraging fair play. He would get a plaque in the hockey gym where he also played youth hockey while he was doing it. He is proud to see his son Eric following a similar path to him and just hopes that he would not repeat his mistakes. Despite starting to grey from age he would still be on the side cheering his som the whole way. I hope this was a fun article for Theme Week! Hopefully I can get that 12 TPE. Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all on the ice!
  13. Looking into the future retirement for Weenuk sees him wanting a couple different jobs, some to do with hockey or and aspect of physical activity and some with either of the two. The main priority for Weenuk would be to give back to the community that he lived in and help making getting into hockey easier for the young youth in his town and anywhere else that saw kids wanting to play hockey but not being able to afford it. Coaching is another alternative to help grow the game for younger ages, having the knowledge he has now and growing up he feels like he would be able to have an impact on new kids wanting to get into the sport. Coaching: "Growing up I have always wanted to do something in relation to hockey whether it be playing, Coaching, scouting or whatever I'd be able to do. Coaching would be easier for me as my father coached all sorts of age groups so whenever he would need help with drills or just having another person there I'd help. A big part of it is making sure the kids are having fun. Having a strict coach or even parents breathing down there neck or shouting from the stands that there not doing good enough can kill the ambition or love for the sport hockey and make them want to quit, I have the knowledge to give them to make the game enjoyable while making sure they can grow there level and love for the sport and to hopefully give them the most out of it. I have had plenty of great coaches and bad coaches throughout my career so far that I know the do's and don'ts of what to do, to use the information they gave me to pass onto the younger generation to make them the best they can be. The fulfillment of teaching a younger generation everything you know of the sport. In extension of coaching Opening up training camps will be a great help with that." Fundraisings/Charity: ''The biggest thing that's holding the sport back is how expensive it is, In the future and throughout my career i plan on trying to make it affordable for kids that want to give it a try, or for those that know they want to play it. Hockey isn't like basketball or soccer where all your kids really need is there body, Hockey requires equipment that isn't cheap, where for just one young kid it could easily cost $500 and upwards, not to mention maybe needing to buy new equipment because they had a little growth spurt. Making equipment available for parents that cant afford it by getting it donated through charity and fundraising with a community to get the equipment would go a ways. I think my training camps would help with this if I could get big name hockey brands to pitch in and help by donating older gear or just gear in general so that whether there new coming into the sport or just wanting tp get better we'd have the equipment there and ready for parents and children to give the sport a trying before committing to buying equipment to figure out if they like it or not. Helping communities get the funding they need to help grow the game in there area. Kids shouldn't be discouraged to not giving the sport a try because they are unable to afford the equipment or even the fee most have to pay just to start playing for a team. If I can help now or in the future and make it more accessible or cheaper for kids to join the sport I will try." In my future retirement of the game i wanna make an impact to kids around the country that cant afford to play hockey, i wanna give them the experience and show them the love for the game.
  14. Currently William Groves is a VHLM player enjoying his time with the Ottawa Lynx. He is developing into a fine player and believes that he will have a long VHL career. However he does have ideas for things that he wants to accomplish after his playing days are finished. Though he will have retired, that doesn't mean that he plans to do nothing. The first task on Will's checklist of retirement accomplishment is eventually become a VHL GM. He has developed leadership skills and become a positive influence in the locker room. He want to inspire others to greatness and give back to give back to the game he loves. He will need to develop knowledge to succeed as a GM, but that will come with time. After becoming a successful GM, Will would like to become a color commentator for VSN broadcast. With the knowledge he has acquired to an insightful and occasionally funny guide into the hockey world for many fans at home. This may be the hardest thing to achieve for Will, as he does tend to struggle with communication skills. However he does understand that a good commentary can have on how a sport is perceived. He wants hockey to be perceived positively by as many people as possible, even if he isn't in broadcast booth. After an attempt at broadcasting, Will plans to push for hockey teams in untraditional markets. He believes that hockey is the best sport in the world and that it can succeed in places it has never been to before. He has dreamed of hockey being played in place like Africa and Asia. He would like to push for some of his dreams to become real in spite of the slim chances of that happening to grow hockey into a global game. While all of this is going on, Will plans to give. He plans to start a foundation dedicated to using sport to help the mentally ill. He plans to donate equipment to youth teams wherever he goes. He plans to give to his birth city helping it to flourish. He want to make life better for everyone around him. What this list represents is the heart of William Groves. He is a good, compassionate man who loves the game of hockey. Hockey has given him more than he needed and he plans to give back in any way he can, both to the game and the world. But it will be some time before any on that happens. First he must succeed in the VHLM.
  15. Hello @Members! Wooo it’s Theme Week!! The only thing that people love to criticize more than awards. Too bad folks, theme week is great and we’re going to do it forever. First off, that means that the Trade Deadline is Monday, October 18 at 3pm EDT. If your agent is going to go on the radio, rip the GM, and demand a trade, now’s a great time to do it. This also means that anyone wishing to re-create for the S82 draft can do so starting at midnight that same day. ** Theme week is always a great time to explore the word outside our VHL bubble, and this year we’re going to go beyond hockey: So you’ve played eight or nine seasons in the VHL, earned some dough, lived the great life of a professional athlete. Then, it’s over. Now what? This is a great time to check in on some old players or plan ahead for the current player’s future. Are you going to write about Condor Adrienne’s post-playing adventures? Will we see a campaign poster for Jeffrey Pines’ run for Prime Minister of Canada? Is Alex Letang chilling on a beach, or continuing to chase the dream in some third tier hockey league in Malaysia? You tell us. To earn your Theme Week TPE, write an article, create a graphic, or record a podcast with some connection to “Life after the VHL”. ** In order to claim the theme week bonus of 6 Uncapped TPE, simply submit your Themed PT (Graphic, Media Spot or 6-TPE Podcast), and claim it as normal. After claiming the PT portion, you can use the same link, and claim the uncapped portion as follows: Claim Uncapped > Other > Doubles Week. (Note: you do not need to post your link in this thread to claim either portion of TPE) Make sure to tag your articles with “theme week” so we can collect all the great work in one easy-to-find spot. If you have already submitted a Point Task for this week, or are in the midst of claiming a multi-week Media Spot/Podcast, you may still submit a Theme Week PT this week, and claim the capped portion on the next available week, following your multi-week claim. Also, if you have a single job that pays 6+, you may claim the theme week bonus as long as you complete your duties for the week. If you are in the EFL or SBA and have completed their most recent Media Week, you may use that to claim the Uncapped theme week bonus, but a PT must be completed this week in order to claim the Capped portion, whether that is completed here or through Affiliate Welfare. Note: Only players who are S81 or older may claim the theme week bonus. @VHL GM @VHLE GM @VHLM GM
  16. Though I have just joined the league, I have to think about what my life will bring after I retire from the VHL. There will be very few career paths that are as impactful on my life as being a player in the VHL, but I have a few ideas of what I want to do. First, I want to pursue a career in performance. I love movies and would love to act for the big screen, or even live on stage. Obviously, it would be great to earn a role that is on the same level as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, or Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter, but I know I would most likely have to start with smaller roles. I mean, I would have my fans and the platform I create from the VHL which would definitely help me when it comes to casting, but I still think it would take a few years to get a major role that I could be the face of. I also like music, so during this I think I would try to write music, produce songs, and, along with the acting, do some musical theatre. It wouldn’t have to be professional, though I would love that, but I just wanna see what it’s all about. I bet that I could become a pretty solid musical theatre guy. After that, I would want to start my own hockey league in my hometown that offers affordable programs and gear for kids who cannot afford it. Hockey should be for everyone, even people who struggle financially. I do not spend a lot of money anyway, so I know I will save a bunch of money from my VHL, and hopefully acting, contracts. I would probably sell the league after a few years, especially if my league is successful, so I can focus on something else that will cross my path. Finally, I want to travel the world, free of restrictions and rules. I love new cultures and food, so I want to go to every part of the globe; Japan to France, India to Mexico, Brazil to England, and so on and so forth. I want to be able to enjoy months of new experiences in places that I never thought I would ever be able to go. I would probably become quite fat, but I think it would be worth it if I am able to experience a bunch of new foods that may or may not be bad for me. Obviously, I can’t travel forever, but you know damn well that I will try my best. I will do as much travelling as my body can handle before I buy a nice, comfortable house to retire in and have a great time with my beautiful partner who I may or may not meet while travelling, cause who doesn’t love a bit of spontaneous romance? So yea, that is probably my ideal plan. It most likely won't end up exactly like this plan, but a man can surely dream.
  17. "Shit happens." Right? You're expected to get over whatever happened to you and keep moving forward. At least, according to the media. And the fans. And the management. Sometimes the only people you think care are the people in your inner circle. Family, friends, and a few teammates. Nobody else seems to give a fuck. In the late stages of Season 74, I got ran. It didn't seem too big of a deal at the time. Except that I don't remember it. Yep, got concussed from it. Helmet flew off and cracked my head. Watching the tape back a couple of times, it's really my fault. Came out of my crease a little too far. "Fuck around and find out", one might say. But that's only just the beginning. I woke up in a hospital bed, asking if I could go back in. Didn't realize I was miles from the arena, and 12 hours after the game ended. Fuck, did those lights hurt my eyes. Turns out a sensitivity to light was one of the things I was going to deal with for a while. I had to get them to shut the blinds and turn the lights off to even see well. Turns out concussions are a bitch, who could have guessed it? I was allowed to practice with the guys once my eyes went back to normal. I still had headaches. And the worst part of it all. The voices in the back of my head came out in full force. I couldn't make a save without the self-doubt creeping in. God forbid I let a goal in, it felt like my own head was screaming at me. Eventually I found a way to stop those voices. I started drinking. Am I proud of it? No. But I have to own up to it. One down the hatch before a game, I did well. The voices shut up, and I could play well. But after the game, I kept going. I missed practices from being hungover. Maybe that shit could fly in the M, but not when I moved to the big leagues. After an abysmal rookie campaign, I went into the Player Assistance Program. I asked for it not to be publicized, for privacy and such. I came out sober. But I also came out with the voices again. Eventually, it got to where I had to step away. After playing parts of S75 and S76 for LA, I sat down with our GM. I explained that I needed to step away. He understood, and wished me good luck. I got therapy. I went home, stayed with family. Got my head together. And then I made the hardest choice of my life. To retire from playing hockey. That may seem like the end of a journey, but to me it was just the beginning. I knew I couldn't stay away from the game for long. So I opened a youth hockey school, back home in Memphis. Not particularly many hockey rinks or leagues around here. So I became the solution to that problem. I've loved showing these kids how amazing the game of hockey can be. I've also stressed that there are some parts that can be bad. Obviously not to the younger kids. But to the teenagers, I do warn them that not everything is sunshine and rainbows. That there is a dark side to the game. I've been preaching the idea of playing in a way that makes you not put yourself at risk too much. But I think that I'm putting them on the right path. People have asked me if I would ever return to pro hockey in a different role. Coach or gm, something along those lines. I don't know if I ever will. I still love the game, so I might. Never say never. But for now, I'm contempt with teaching the next generation of kids. They need to have people who know what they're talking about guide them. There was one rink in Memphis when I was growing up. That's for both hockey and skating in general. Since I came back, I now run at least four. I try to provide cheap options for gear by buying second-hand and letting the kids use it for free. The voice are still there. The good thing is that I don't listen to them anymore. Don't let your demons control you. Thank you for reading. -Drew Minott
  18. Sergey Preobrazhensky has had an amazing legacy in the VHL, quietly moving up the ranks as the centerman. Shocking the world, from underdog status to becoming one of the fiercest Russians on the ice. But after the dust settles and Preobrazhensky gets old, what will he do next? After landing in Russia, Sergey would then go on to be honoured as Russia’s Athlete of the Year. Honoured to the most successful athletes in Russia. It was an amazing accomplishment for Sergey, “I couldn’t have done it without my family, they taught me everything I knew,” said Sergey after being awarded the title. After retiring from the VHL, Sergey will move back to his homeland in Russia, with his Russian fiance, Inna who was a competitive gymnast. Sergey misses Russia very much after spending more than 8 years back in the United States. This is where he started to learn the ropes of hockey, and where his family that supported him in his dream lived. Although Sergey’s relationship with his family has been strained all the time in the VHL. Now he can wind down with the people he cares about after the VHL hiatus. But Sergey doesn’t just want to relax, that’s not his goal after returning to Russia. He went on to start an elite Russian Hockey Club, to give back to the youth. “This club is meant to be for teenagers that want to sharpen their hockey skills and build a good foundation to get into the VHL with flying colours,” said Sergey. The goal of this program is to bring more Russians into the VHL, to enjoy the classic sport of hockey with financial stability. And that’s exactly what happened, The Preobrazhensky Hockey club was great, boasting around 90 alumni of professional Russian hockey players that played in the VHL or other professional hockey leagues around the world. On top of that, Sergey would be a part-time trainer for athletes in the Russian Olympic team, not just training hockey either. He worked with Boxers, Fencers and Track/Field athletes due to his familiarity in those sports dating back to when he was a little kid. All that training paid off too for the athletes he trained, making the Russian Olympic team one of the most accomplished Olympic groups in recent history. But the story doesn’t end there! Sergey and his fiance, Inna gave birth to their daughter, Aleksandra. Aleksandra followed the roots of her mother taking up dancing and gymnastics. Although still young, she hopes to make it big one day like her mother and father. Although Sergey knows barely anything about dancing or gymnastics, he still supports and helps his daughter in any way he can. But he lets Inna do the teaching when it comes to these types of things. When asked if he’ll have another kid he responded, “We’ll see, it would be nice to have a boy, maybe he could follow the path of his father?” Sergey said, beaming from ear to ear. Sergey is an amazing athlete and planted a seed in Russian sports, he’s known in his homeland as one of the most influential people around. Not only that, but he’s a proud father with his fiance, Inna. He has done many things for his friends and loved ones. From his tenure in the VHL to setting up a Competitive Russian Hockey Team. It sure seems like Sergey is an expert when it comes to retirement!
  19. Most of the time I talk about my players in the past or the present. This time We are going to look in the future and look at how Alexandre Leduc is going with his retirement. We are going to talk about the emptiness that Alexandre fought through with his retirement. His family and how he replaced this emptiness. First off, when Leduc retired during the first four month it was so peaceful he had all his time to do what he loved. Like swimming, takes some time with his family and friends. He likes to play with his son Felix Leduc who is very talented in hockey (when I recreated maybe ). He is trying to help his baby girl learn how to swim. Takes some quality times with his wife. The first time that they met was at games versus Ottawa where all his family was there to see him because it’s not a long ride from home. They met after the games at a friend's party and since then they are inseparable. But something happened that changed Leduc's life. Post-career depression, Leduc was feeling an emptiness and was trying so much to hide it that he finally cracked and exploded with all his emotions buried in him. He talks about it to his wife who really helps him talk about it and open up. Leduc was trying to find something he can do to replace this emptiness. When Felix arrived at a certain level at hockey, Quebec was looking for coach Alexandre applied and was accepted after some interview with the commissioner of the league. Coaching helps him a bunch to take his head out of depression. Finally being back in a locker room, but at a different position was familiar and weird at the same time. Alexandre was coaching his son Felix and his best friend Mathieu Giroux. Felix was the star center and Mathieu the star defenseman. These two had played together since they were four years old. So they always knew where the other one was on the ice. Coaching was more hard that Alexandre was thinking. At this level it’s more about all the players playing the same amount of time to help the young kids to grow to be better for the sports that they love. Dealing with Felix and Mathieu was easy because he already knew how to make them play better but coaching almost 20 players was like he adopted all those kids. His first two years of coaching it was almost like a teaching lesson Alexandre was trying to learn the ropes to be a great coach for his players. He already had a base while he was playing and teaching Felix and Mathieu some tricks that he knew about. But dealing with money for his team to buy some extra equipment like socks or a vest with the team logo on it was a challenge. At Least he was not alone doing that with the help of parents and his assistant coaches. His long journey continues for his goal to maybe return in the VHL but at a different position. To reach his goal to be a AGM or GM to a VHL team in the future. Let’s see how Alexandre Leduc's career in the VHL continues and how he develops. Thank you for reading and see you later. 562 Words
  20. Tadhg Byrne. A name synonymous with goaltending in the VHL, spending 9 seasons in between the pipes as an elite goaltender with quick reflex and an even quicker hand. After retirement, Tadhg Byrne wasn’t too sure what to do with himself. He’d lived his dream, and now it was over. It was bittersweet. He’d given his all every night, putting himself out on the ice as the final line of defense. The final challenge for goal scorers all around the league. He’d won the Continental Cup, he’d won a Shaw, he’d won a Clegane. He was consistent night in and night out, and he never stopped loving the game. He’d lived the dream of kids all around the world. So what now? Well, it was time for a break. Byrne had married his teen sweetheart, Siobhan, early into his third VHL season. They had twins soon after they married, a boy and a girl. So now, it was time to settle down and be a good father. The kids were 6 now, in their first year of school. His son, Declan, seemed to be following in his father’s footsteps. He had started skating when he was three and never looked back. Tadhg could already tell Declan had the same passion for the game as he, and he was ready to help him in any way he could if he kept dreaming of the VHL. Tadhg spent his time in a net letting his son score goals on him and carrying him around acting like he’d won the Continental Cup. Winning the Cup was one of the happiest moments of his life, but spending time with his son made him infinitely happier. His daughter, Caitlin, loved sports as well, boasting a natural talent for football and baseball rather than hockey. She was a natural striker, scoring goals and running the length of the field with incredible stamina. She was an incredible pitcher too, striking out many kids and making parents turn their heads. She was an incredible football player, just like her mother. It makes Tadhg smile every time he sees his wife and daughter kicking a football in the backyard, reminding him of doing much the same with his own father. The two most important women in his life being happy together was a feeling he’d trade his ability to skate for any day of the week. He spent his mornings driving his kids to school and packing lunches rather than sitting in a rink taking shots from some of the most prolific goal scorers in the most elite league in the world. His afternoons were spent picking his kids up and asking about their day at school, listening to the two kids talk about all the trouble they got into with their friends and how they’re loving lunch time more than listening to their teachers talk about math and history. If Siobhan was in the car, she’d scold them softly. Telling them school was just as important as sports were. If she wasn’t, Tadhg would laugh along with them, telling them all about the trouble he got up to when he was in school. The kids liked hearing stories about his school days and always said that ‘Dad tells the best stories!’ Tadhg prides himself more on that than his hardware nowadays. Aside from being a father, Tadhg also spent time back in his native country of Ireland establishing hockey schools all around the place. He wanted to give kids the opportunities he had closer to home. His influence was felt in Ireland too, becoming something close to a cult icon. He’d helped put hockey on the radar of Ireland’s sports world, and he’d work as hard as he could to establish a stronger hockey culture in Ireland when he could. He was extraordinarily passionate about helping kids live his dream after him. He wanted everybody to be able to dream as big as he did, without fear of whether or not their dream would crumble under the weight of bigger sports. The years of Tadhg’s life he spent in the VHL were some of the most rewarding years of his life, and he reminisced on them fondly often enough. He still has his first San Diego Marlins jersey framed in his office. It makes him glossy eyed when he thinks about it too much. It was his first team and his first real taste of elite hockey. His life was not ordinary, he was an exception to the rule that was rugby and football. He skated and defended the goal. If he could give that feeling to kids who didn’t know it was an option, he would. In an interview with the Dublin Times, a reporter had asked about his choice to go for hockey rather than rugby like his father and it was with a soft smile that he responded. If he were younger, it’d be more cocky and curt. ‘I love hockey. That was the real thing that mattered. I love rugby, but not like hockey. The feeling of skating onto the ice is a feeling that I can’t describe in words. The closest way I can describe it is through the word ‘exhilarating’. It made me feel alive, it was the very thing that gave me purpose. Of course, I was young and naïve. There are bigger things than hockey, my kids come to mind, but at that time? When I was in net? I didn’t exist as anybody other than Tadhg Byrne, number 36.’ The interviewer laughed along with Byrne after hearing his passion for the sport that was unheard of in Dublin. The next question was simple. ‘What now?’ Tadhg just smiled. ‘Live my life. I haven’t done that in a while, hockey has been everything. It’ll be nice to get back to being a regular citizen.’ In short, Tadhg Byrne was an accomplished hockey player. That’s certain. More than anything though, Tadhg Byrne wants to be an accomplished man, and that’s what he’s doing now. He’s becoming an accomplished man in his life after the VHL, opening up avenues for kids in his home country to seek his dream and follow in his footsteps. He’s being a father to his two children and offering his support for them wherever they want it. His hockey career is on the back-Byrne-r, and isn’t coming off any time soon. (1064 words, claiming for weeks Oct. 17-23 and Oct. 24-30)
  21. On a cool fall day my plane touches down in the eastern Long Island/New York airport of Islip, the first stop in my out of the way journey to interview former player and manager Dan Montgomery. This is a story I've been chasing since the one time phenom forward turned All-VHL Valiq award winning defenseman decided to hang up the skates after a career spent overseas in Helsinki. As I board the railroad east again bound for East Hampton, I can't help but wonder had the dominos fallen even slightly differently would I be in my summer home out west still instead of chasing after a story from a reclusive has-been, who has largely been an after thought to a league brimming with so much star talent. Past the vineyards that make this area of Long Island so wealthy and inaccessible I can't help but wonder if this was the future Dan Montgomery wanted when he was handed a "C" and the keys to Yukon after signing there as a free agent; after going in the first round of the VHL draft to a rebuilding Helsinki; after changing from Forward to Defense mid-career just to find playing time; and after hoisting his first Continental Cup proudly for everyone to see. Pulling into the station I see a doorless and windowless Jeep Wrangler pull up with a hauntingly familiar face that I hadn't seen in quite some time. Dan has grown out his beard to a constant scraggly face, as he pulls his designer sunglasses up to his forehead I see those unmistakable green eyes burning with the familiar intensity of a champion. When he said next we'd go down to a local brewery I foolishly thought he meant coffee, but before I knew it we were at the best table in the bar with a couple of frosted glasses and a few warm greetings. Monty makes his rounds with the locals while I watch in amazement, the local kid who made it big and came right back to where he fell in love with the game. Turns out that he now helps out with the youth program out here in eastern Long Island, helping young kids in his area fall in love with the game the same way he did. He explains that while hockey isn't the most popular sport around here, there's a special relationship between the people here and the game, and he says he needs to show me. He takes me back into the Jeep and we head back out west towards where he grew up, he says it's a surprise and it has to be worth it. We pull in to a largely empty parking lot where some of the local kids were playing ball hockey on rollerblades. They all seem to recognize the royalty I walked in with, but none ask for an autograph -- they probably have one already. Of course the parking lot is used for the Montgomery Player Development Ice Center, an ice rank smack in the middle of Eastern Long Island. Dan points to a pond which used to freeze over every winter, and explains that this is where he fell in love with the game, and where he hopes the next generation of Long Island hockey will too. We walk inside of the empty building and he turns on the lights, right there next to his continental cup ring is the Alexander Valiq trophy he won in season 65, as beautiful as ever. Dan talks about how lucky he is to have won this award, and explains that he wasn't even on the top line when he won it, funny enough. It's just a motivation that anything is possible for anyone, even a kid from Long Island, if you put your head down and get the work in.
  22. Occasionally, there are hockey players that grow up in traditionally non-hockey countries, like England, South Africa, or Poland, who go on to carve out solid careers for themselves. The next big story for a player beating the odds and finding success in hockey despite the nation of their birth is a young player from Japan. He has caught the eyes of scouts, enough so that he recently signed a developmental deal to move far from home and pursue his hockey career. His name is Ren Amamiya. The 16-year-old Amamiya, who stands about 5'9", is currently playing Center for Helsingin Jokerit U18 in Helsinki, Finland. A magician with the puck, Amamiya commands attention on the ice but is difficult to contain. A wild card, he can do a little bit of everything, whether slicing the puck cross-ice like a dagger around defenders to create a break for a line-mate or launching a pistol-like shot on net, he has generated a surprising following in the Finnish city. Whether it’s his on-ice performance, the exoticism of his heritage, or the intensity of his gaze behind his wavy black hair, Amamiya's fan club has grown steadily since his arrival, and he's frequently seen out on the town with his circle of friends. An interview with the newspaper club of his former school, Shujin Academy in Tokyo, Japan, asked about his friends and relationships, which includes several Shujin students, most notably fashion model Ann Takamaki, herself of Finnish descent, and Ryuji Sakamoto, a former track star, Amamiya confirmed that while he has many female friends, he is not in a relationship, at least not one that he'd consider canon. Partway through the Jokerit U18 season, Amamiya has registered 24 goals and 25 assists, good enough for second on his squad, and for scouts to drool over his raw potential. "The kid has "it"," one scout said. "He lives by a simple philosophy: wake up, get up, get out there. As a scout, you go to so many games every year that sometimes everything begins to blend together and you have to check your notes to keep track of who's who. Not with Ren. He steps on the ice and there's this murmur in the crowd, as if everyone is expecting something magical to happen. Most of the time, it does." While his on-ice character is one of a deadly scorer and leader, his off-ice persona is almost diametrically opposite. "He's quiet, smart, unassuming," a different scout revealed. "Keeps to himself, for the most part. He even has a part-time job working at a coffee shop. Makes a damn good cup of joe, to be honest. He's attentive, the kind of kid you'd want to see your daughter bring home some day." Barista by day, hockey sensation by night So, how soon could Amamiya make the jump to a higher level? "It's hard to say," a third scout commented. "When you see his production and his personality on-ice, you think, "Get this boy up to the men's league and let him work through the toughest competition." But as you get to know him, you get beneath the mask, you realize that while his hockey talent is remarkable, there's a part of him that's just happy to have found a place where he feels like he belongs, and no one should want to take that away from him."
  23. I chat about VHL awards that I/Letang have earned over the past few years. Then I talk about three awards that have a decent amount of controversy around them (Boulet, Wylde, Elmebeck) Then I realize I have no gas left in my car as I speed down the highway! Find out how it all ends. There are mild audio issues in there, idk how it happened. Suck it up, I'm claiming this for 2 weeks.
  24. Rock Bottom #25 -Theme Week Welcome to the Jungle!! I'm your host, Phil Knight. Today we: - A LITTLE QUIET - I THINK MY HEADPHONES ARE DYING - DISCUSS SOME RETIRED TROPHIES FOR THEME WEEK - Mentions: @Matt @sterling@JardyB10@Kendrick @CoachReilly @DollarandaDream @gregreg@Ricer13and a whole lot of random members old and new Enjoy this edition! KnightTime Podcast Questions Thread Songs: I See Fire - Ed Sheeran Kygo Remix This is a division of KnightTime Radio. Run Time: 28 minutes
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