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A Tale of Two Cups


animal74
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A Tale of Two Cups: S12 :sea: & S79 :mal:

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Over a decade ago, a young strapping Norwegian defenseman and I found our way to the VHL hitching a ride with the Toledo Scorpions near the end of S5 to help them win the franchise’s first Founder’s Cup. As Gunnar-Rune Rorvik, The Norwegian Nightmare, was looking to make a name for himself by preparing for S6 with Toledo, Josh Vestiquan, @v.2 a flashy Canadian kid, was preparing for his first VHL season after being taken 1st Overall in the draft by the Avagard Havoc. Both would play well in their rookie season in their respective leagues and the following off-season, Gunnar-Rune Rorvik was selected 6th Overall in the S7 Draft by the Seattle Bears. While Vestiquan helped lead Avangard and then Calgary to Continental Cups over the next few years, Rorvik was steadily making progress and becoming a leader on the blueline for the rebuilding Bears. Then, in S10, Vestiquan was moved to Seattle for Jonathan Matthias, who had been drafted just before Rorvik in S7. The move was good for the Bears and Vestiquan as he set career-highs in assists and points and led Seattle to their first playoff appearance in four seasons. Rorvik also set a career-high in goals and tied his career-high for points. With a loaded team entering S11, Seattle was one of the favorites to win the Continental Cup. And they came close but were stopped by the Matthias-led HC Davos Dynamo. Vestiquan would score six goals in the finals to tie Matthias for the playoff lead with eight goals but despite five one-goal games, Davos would defeat Seattle in six games to win the Cup. Due to a largely returning core, the Bears were once again front-runners to win a Championship in S12. Vestiquan was named captain and Rorvik was one of the alternates. During the season, a familiar face was brought back to the west coast – Jonathan Matthias. A terrific season saw Seattle in the playoffs again and eventually wound up facing the Victory Cup-winning Riga Reign for the Cup. It was a grinding series but Josh Vestiquan would be the difference as he scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime in Game 7 for his third championship, Matthias’ second of three consecutive Cups, and Rorvik would retire on top with his first Cup. Vestiquan would retire after S13 and be inducted into the VHL Hall of Fame in S15.

 

Fast forward 12 years. Both @v.2 and I took an extended break from the VHL but found our way back. I re-entered in S67 with winger Ondrej Ohradka, he in S77 with defenseman Tui Sova. My next player, winger Druss Deathwalker was selected 11th overall by Malmo in the S77 draft. We were a rebuilding team and lost some key players during the season which led to the Nightahawks drafting Sova 7th overall in S78 with Deathwalker being named team captain. We surprised a lot of people by making the playoffs but lost in the play-in round. S79 would see an offensive boon fall into our laps as Gunnar Odinsson signed as a free agent and that season would go down in history. The Nighthawks would become one of the highest-scoring teams in VHL history winning the Victory Cup. We then fought our way through the playoffs to win the Continental Cup together again – 67 seasons later! In an astounding role-reversal, Deathwalker was the forward drafted the year before who captained the team to a Cup while Sova was the defenseman drafted the year after.

 

As Sova has been traded to Los Angeles this off-season, our second time together as Cup-winning teammates has come to an end. This article was part reminisce, part ode to fate and friendship, and part farewell. @v.2, it was great playing with you again. Hopefully, we get to win another Cup together in the future – but not too far in the future!

Edited by animal74
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Today I learned Josh Vestiquan is v.2, pretty sure I saw him in trivia answers a few times. Pretty sure I saw something about that when he came back, but I forgot. Quite odd how you both won two cups respectively, and on the same team in both instances. Shows that some people aren't as fortunate with cups as I was, due to getting to play on Seattle during my first career. Very nice article and great piece illustrating some VHL history. Crazy how both you and v.2 are here 12 years after the fact haha.  9/10 article

 

 

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Amazing article man! It still blows my mind to think about how much of a coincidence this is (or perhaps just fate).   Thank you for remembering some of the finer details in this too lol, because I definitely did not and this is a nice nostalgia trip.  Definitely hope we can win another cup together sooner than later! Until we meet again :)

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