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Billy Pilgrim Biography [1/2]


HellBillyXIII
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Pictured above: Billys chilhood home

 

Humble Beginnings

      Although he was born in the scenic countryside of rural Rochester, New York, Billy Pilgrims’ roots were planted firmly in the deep south. For as far back as anyone can track the Pilgrim family inhabited unknown parts of the Appalachian Mountains. For that same amount of time the Pilgrim clan were known to be some of the rowdiest, and most talented, moonshiners east of the Mississippi. 

     Listless and unmotivated, no doubt due to sitting on the remainder of his families prohibition era fortune, Billys father, William Pilgrim II, often found himself in trouble with the law. Despite this he captured the heart of Lucille, a radish farmers daughter and Billys eventual mother, and they married at the ripe old age of fourteen. Things were always tumultuous, as William often went deep into the hooch, but one rainy night things went all wrong for the Pilgrim family. A Federal Marshall, acting on an anonymous tip, encroached on Williams property and engaged with him in a gunfight. Ultimately William was left unharmed, but the Marshall was not so lucky. Facing charges of murdering a federal agent William gathered his wife and belongings and escaped to Rochester, New York. 

     Once in New York William swore off the hooch for good, and set about to right his life. He used his fortune to invest in several businesses and soon after fathered his 1st, and only, child. He had a son named Billy Pilgrim. Billy was a large baby, and from a very young age put on abnormal showings of strength for a child his age and size. 

     When Billy was a toddler William would often sit in front of the TV in the living room, Billy in his lap, and watch the New York Rangers play. The sounds of bone crunching hits and crowds cheering seemed to sooth Billy, and William came to love the game of hockey. As soon as he was the required age of four Billy was signed up at the local hockey rink to play in the youth league. It was evident immediately that Billy was going to be a very special player. 

   

A Star In the Making

     As soon as Billy stepped onto the ice it was clear he was far superior to his peers. Billy could skate better, handle the puck better, and understood the game better than the other children. He immediately took Makingto playing defense, and found great pride in thwarting his opponents best efforts. At the age of six Billy was recruited to play for his first travel team, the Rochester Red Wings, where he would be playing with kids nine and ten years old. Despite Lucille’s initial objections Billy was allowed to join the team, and he excelled right away. 

     Billy played his way all across the North East with the Red Wings, dominating his much older opponents all along the way, until he was thirteen years old. At that time Billy was extended an official invitation to try out for The Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. It was widely expected by all that Billy would find his way into the major juniors sooner rather than later, but nobody expected him to be given an opportunity to try out at just thirteen. It was so unlikely that amongst league circles it was generally thought that Windsor simply extended the invite to the promising prospect to get him familiar with the coaching staff and city to make the team an easier sell during the recruiting process in the future. It came as a great surprise to nearly everyone, perhaps even Billy, when the Spitfires formally offered a roster spot to the thirteen year old defenseman. 

 

To the Juniors

     Billys first season started out quiet. He rarely saw the ice, mostly when the game was already decided, and averaged just over four minutes a game. Over the last third of the season, however, Billy saw his playing time increase to over eleven minutes a game and was able to become a solid contributor. Billy finished the season with four assists and a plus/minus rating of minus one, which placed him squarely in the middle of his team. The Spitfires failed to make the playoffs, but improved vastly on the previous seasons effort. 

     Coming into his second season an inch taller and nearly fifteen pounds heavier Pilgrim was catching up to the rest of his league mates physically, and it showed. He established himself as an aggressive force of sorts, even playing his way onto the second string penalty kill squad. For the second year in a row he played all sixty eight games, and greatly  improved in all aspects of his game. Billy averaged about fifteen minutes per game and tallied two goals and eleven assists. Sometimes skating on the second pairing of defenseman, Billy played a significant role in improving Windsors record for the second straight year, getting them just one seeding shy of making the playoffs. 

  

The Ascension

     It was between his second and third seasons with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL that Billy underwent a rigorous weight training strength program, paired with and insanely strict diet, and completely changed the trajectory of his career. He showed up to preseason check ins weighing one hundred ninety five pounds at six feet tall. He looked the part of a grown man, and not a fifteen year old child. Billy earned a top spot on the Spitfires defense, averaging twenty two minutes a game. He began using his size to enforce his will on opponents, shutting down other teams top threats every night. For the third season in a row Pilgrim played all sixty eight games, scored 4 goals and 26 assists, and helped lead his team to the OHL playoffs. Billy finished third for Defenseman of the Year honors, quite the feat for the unpolished young player. 

     During the offseason leading into his fourth season Billy spent three months in Sweden training with Nicklas Lidstrom and the Swedish National Team coaching staff. He returned to Windsor to be named assistant captain. The hard work payed off, as Billy had developed into a complete shutdown defenseman. He tallied three goals and thirty two assists while averaging twenty four minutes a game. Despite being just old enough to drive Billy won Most Outstanding OHL Defenseman of the Year honors, CHL Defenseman of the Year honors, and finished 2nd in voting for CHL player of the year honors. He led the Spitfires to an OHL championship but they went on to lose in the Memorial Cup Semi-Finals. Billy was named to the Memorial Cup All Star Team. 

     Billys fifth, and final, season in the OHL was a masterpiece. He had shown up for the season clocking in at six foot, two inches and weighing in at two hundred and ten pounds. A true physical specimen. Billy was named team captain and led his squad to a second OHL championship and then a Memorial Cup Championship. This season Billy scored six goals forty assists while averaging twenty five minutes a game. He swept the individual award, including OHL Most Outstanding Defenseman, OHL Most Valuable Player, CHL Most Outstanding Defenseman, CHL Most Valuable Player, CHL Most Outstanding Captain, Memorial Cup Most Valuable Player, and was named to the Memorial Cup All Star Team. At seasons end Billy declared he would be pursuing a career professionally, and would be heading to the VHL. While he says he will miss his team and his friends, he says he can not pass up the financial opportunity. 

     

1,261 words

claimed week of 2/12-2/18

     

Edited by HellBillyXIII
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