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Hedgehog/Benjamin Zeptenbergs HOF Builder Article


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Joined: December 7th 2014
Jobs Held: Riga Reign GM, Bratislava Watchmen GM

 

One of the most notorious and successful GM's In the VHL's recent history, Hedgehog's run as the long standing general manager of the Riga Reign has been nothing short of impressive. Hedge started his journey with Benjamin Zeptenbergs in late 2014, starting a journey that would result in many top class players created under his name. Over a dozen seasons later Hedge would take over as the GM of the Riga Reign and evolve in to one of the best GM's this league has seen.

 

Currently in his 24th season managing the Reign, hedge has one of the longest active tenures of any GM in the league having been managing the team for almost a third of it's history. He's been around Riga for 1728 games (5th highest among GM's) of which he's only lost 616 of them while winning 828 (3rd highest among GM's). In fact, there is only one GM with more seasons under his belt than Hedge, that being Seattle bears GM Banackock. Hedge took hold of the reign mid way through S53 taking over the position from former general manager Mike. He left his former position with the Bratislava Watchmen of which he spent 3 seasons winning a founders cup in the process in S52. After his early success in the VHLM it only felt right to hire a Latvian to manage the VHL's sole Latvian team. It didn't take too long after for Hedge to mimic his VHLM success with Riga as he managed to win back to back continental cups in S58 and S57 only 4 seasons after being hired. Along with this came Victory cups in three straight seasons in S56, S57 and S58 as well as two David Knight trophy's awarded under Hedge's name for GM of the year. This was the first of many great teams constructed by Hedge during his tenure which were built around great drafting and retooling which would become a theme in how Hedge would build many of his teams in the future. His next great team came in the S63 which resulted in another championship in S63 as well as a Victory cup in the same season. The team was constructed in typical hedgehog fashion as many of the core players were acquired through the draft including Podrick Cast and Edwin Preencarnacion. This team also included younger draftee's such as Shawn Glade, Ryan Kasteltic and Leph Twinger which would help Riga remain successful well beyond S63. The team was then rounded out by other stars including Joseph Bassolino one of the few players on Riga not acquired through the draft. After winning the Continental Cup in S63 Riga remained heavily competitive for many seasons to come, so much so that Riga managed to set the record for the longest playoff streak in VHL history making the post season 13 times in a row. This was made possible by Hedge's willingness to rebuild and retool teams on the fly through the draft making many impactful selections which made Riga as consistent as they were. There were players mentioned before such as Ryan Kasteltic selected 1st overall in S63 who kept Riga competitive shortly after there championship run. Later on Lincoln Tate took the torch after being selected 1st in The S67 draft who like Kasteltic played his entire career in Riga. Lastly, Kyle Oferson selected 1st overall in the S71 draft helping keep Riga's playoff streak alive in the early 70's. These critical draft sections not only helped keep the playoff streak alive but also helped Riga earn yet another Continental Cup in S72 in dominant fashion as they only managed to lose 1 game going 12-1. This astonishing run finally ended in S74 When Hedge decided to tear down and rebuild for the S75 draft.

 

Along with the championships and awards he accumulated as a GM, hedge also managed to create many impactful players during his time in the league, two of which became hall of famers. Fredinamijs Krigars is the most notable forward created by Hedge himself as he scored more than 100 points in 5 straight seasons including a dominant performance in S57 where he scored 147 points. Hedge created this player in S54 and expectedly played all 7 seasons of his career in Riga helping them win the two cups in S57 and S58. Krigars deservingly received a hall of fame node and was even included in the top 75 players of all time at #73. Hedge has also garnered the reputation of creating stud goalies with Kallis Kriketers in S63 and now more recently with Sirkants Klamasteris. Similarly to Krigars, Kriketers played the entirety of his career with the reign (excluding his last season with D.C) winning Riga a Continental Cup in S63. Kallis had a crucial role in helping create the incredibly long playoff streak Riga had while accumulating a mass amount of accolades in the process, of which included 4 Greg Clegane Trophy's, 3 Aidan Shaw Trophy's as well as a Campbell and Slobodzian trophy. This made him an easy choice for the hall of fame joining fellow Hedgehog create Krigars and also made him good enough for 33rd in the Top 75 all time players list.

 

Despite his highly successful players where hedge will be revered most is on the managerial side. From being in his locker room for the past few seasons it's easy to see his passion for the league and for his team. The way he includes his players draft discussions shows his willingness to interact with his players and his frequent disappointment at the sim engine shows how competitive he is. With these qualities it's easy to see why he's had so much success in managing the reign and why he's more than deserving to be this seasons Hall of Fame Builder inductee. 

 

@hedgehog337
 

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