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(S56 Class) Black Velvet - Player [1/2]


omgitshim
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D - Black Velvet

Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 215 lbs.

Jersey Number: 8

Drafted: S48 Round 1, Pick 1, (Toronto)

Username: Higgins

 

Sometimes a once in a generation talent comes along and changes the trajectory of a franchise. For the Toronto Legion, Black Velvet was that player. The Legion suffered four consecutive 42+ loss seasons before receiving the number one pick of the S48 draft and the rights to one of the most talented and hardest working draft prospects in years. A perennial all star, Black Velvet changed Toronto's fortunes overnight as he became one of the best defensemen in the VHL. A five time Continental Cup Champion, Black Velvet is the third Hall of Famer from the Higgins line of players, and the second of those to make it on the first ballot.

 

Career Awards:

Quote

S47 Mitch Higgins Trophy - VHLM MVP

S47 Ryan Sullivan Trophy - VHLM Top Defenseman

S47 Ethan Osborne Trophy - VHLM Top Scorer

S47 Alexander Chershenko Trophy - VHLM Top Goal Scorer

 

S48 Devon Marlow-Marta Trophy - NA Conference Champions (TOR)

S49 Devon Marlow-Marta Trophy - NA Conference Champions (TOR)

S50 Devon Marlow-Marta Trophy - NA Conference Champions (TOR)

S54 Terrance Fong Trophy - Euro Conference Champions (HSK)

S55 Terrance Fong Trophy - Euro Conference Champions (HSK)

S48 Victory Cup - Regular Season Champions (TOR)

S50 Victory Cup - Regular Season Champions (TOR)

S51 Victory Cup - Regular Season Champions (CGY)

S55 Victory Cup - Regular Season Champions (HSK)

S48 Continental Cup - VHL Champions (TOR)

S49 Continental Cup - VHL Champions (TOR)

S50 Continental Cup - VHL Champions (TOR)

S54 Continental Cup - VHL Champions (HSK)

S55 Continental Cup - VHL Champions (HSK)

 

S48 Bronze Medal - World Cup (CAN)

S52 Gold Medal - World Cup (CAN)

S54 Gold Medal - World Cup (CAN)

 

S50 Daisuke Kanou Trophy - Playoff MVP

S51 Alexander Beketov Trophy - Most Assists

S51 Sterling Labatte Trophy - Top Defenseman

S52 Sterling Labatte Trophy - Top Defenseman

 

Season 48 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S48(TOR) 72GP | 18G - 45A -  63P | +57 | 243SHT | 5GWG |  54PIM |  72HIT | 103SB
Playoffs
S48(TOR) 11GP | 2G -  3A -  5P | +10 | 51SHT | 1GWG | 14PIM |  6HIT | 18SB

 

After four seasons of suffering, Toronto came out the gate with 13 consecutive wins to start Season 48. The Legion featured a lot of young stars coming into their own, and Black Velvet fit in with them flawlessly. Slotted behind fellow offensive minded defenseman Francis York Morgan, Velvet provided an offensive punch from the backline that few teams were prepared for. Along with Max Molholt, Benjamin Zeptenbergs, LeAndre St. Pierre, and Chuck Goody, Velvet was a mainstay for Toronto's 2nd line, a group that collectively had the highest +/- of any line in the entire VHL. By season's end, Toronto was at the top of the standings, winning their first Victory Cup in 12 years. Toronto would go on to roll through the playoffs, winning the North American Conference over the Seattle Bears 4-2, then taking care of the Helsinki Titans 4-1 to capture their first Continental Cup in 11 years. Velvet performed admirably for the Legion, ranking second in both +/- and shots blocked for the team in the playoffs.

 

Season 49 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S49(TOR) 72GP | 27G - 51A -  78P | +67 | 353SHT | 5GWG |  20PIM |  46HIT | 120SB
Playoffs
S49(TOR) 16GP | 4G -  8A -  12P | -4 | 43SHT | 2GWG | 16PIM |  28HIT | 29SB

 

Toronto took a small step backwards the following season, this time only winning their first 12 games of the season. The team lost Tim TebowGow, Jack Kowalski, and Chuck Goody in the offseason and did not have any suitable replacements to start the season. Black Velvet was promoted to alternate captain and joined the first line, where he suffered some growing pains. Velvet scored a defensive career high 27 goals this season, but it took him 353 shots to do so. He also blocked a career high 120 shots. Playing against other team's top lines, Velvet struggled to make a physical impact on the ice, logging career lows in hits and penalty minutes. Toronto made the playoffs for the second straight season, and while they were shutout twice by the New York Americans in the opening round, they prevailed 4-2, then bulldozed through the Quebec City Meute and the Cologne Express 4-1 to win their second consecutive Continental Cup.

 

Season 50 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S50(TOR) 72GP | 16G - 59A -  75P | +45 | 206SHT | 7GWG |  93PIM | 162HIT |  82SB
Playoffs
S50(TOR) 13GP | 4G - 12A - 16P |  +0 | 29SHT | 1GWG | 28PIM | 35HIT | 18SB

 

Entering Season 50, Toronto's depth had taken quite a hit, leaving all their notable players playing heavy minutes in every game. Black Velvet's offseason weight training paid off, as his 162 hits were more than his first two seasons combined. It took awhile for the Legion to hit their groove this season, but a couple of midseason trades for Kerkko Hyvarinen and Edwin Reencarnacion helped bolster the roster and keep everyone a bit more fresh. The Legion surged to the top of the standings, winning their second Victory Cup in three years. In the playoffs, the Quebec City Meute put up a token effort, but were dispensed 4-2, leading to an exciting championship matchup with the HC Davos Dynamo. The series was like a heavyweight fight, with both teams taking it at each other. Unfortunately Toronto found itself in a difficult situation, down 2-3 after game 5. Finally, it was time for Black Velvet to ascend to stardom. Velvet put up one of his most physical games of the season, terrorizing the HC Dynamo by drawing four penalties in the first two periods of the game. The mind games worked, as he was able to goad Pablo Escabar into a bad Interference penalty in the third period, making it easy for Velvet to assist LeAndre St. Pierre for the only goal of the game, leading to an intense game 7 match. The HC Dynamo came out with an early 2-0 lead after the first period, but the Legion fought back, with Velvet once again assisting St. Pierre for a goal in the second. He took matters into his own hands in the third as Velvet netted the game-tying goal. The defenses cracked down hard, forcing not one but two overtime periods to resolve one of the most exciting game 7's ever. In the end though, it was Black Velvet once again with the assist, setting up Zach Parechkin for the game winner. Velvet paced Toronto with 12 assists and 16 total points in the playoffs, and along with his heroics in the games that mattered most, was awarded the Daisuke Kanoe trophy for his efforts. Toronto became the first and currently only team ever to win three consecutive Continental Cups.

 

Season 51 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S51(CGY) 72GP | 23G - 98A - 121P | +92 | 293SHT | 5GWG | 100PIM | 221HIT |  95SB
Playoffs
S51(CGY)  5GP | 0G -  4A -  4P |  -3 | 19SHT | 0GWG | 10PIM | 12HIT |  8SB

 

After spending his first three seasons in Toronto, Black Velvet decided to take his talents further west, joining the Calgary Wranglers as a free agent. Velvet was asked to play heavy minutes as he was featured on the top 3 lines for the Wranglers, and he didn't disappoint, setting career highs with 98 assists, 121 points, and a ridiculous +92. His 98 assists paced the entire VHL, earning him the Alexander Beketov Trophy. In addition, Velvet was named the top defenseman of the season, winning his first Sterling Labatte Trophy. On the ice, Calgary went from a middling .500 team to the most dominant team in the league, winning 64 games and earning Velvet his third Victory Cup Trophy in four seasons. Entering the North American Championship series, Velvet found a familiar opponent as the Toronto Legion were the Wranglers opponent. Much like in the previous three seasons, the Legion took care of business, winning the series in a decisive 4-1 manner. For the first time in his career, Velvet felt the pain of losing a playoff series. While he paced Calgary with four points, Toronto's familiarity with Velvet's defensive style led to their downfall, as they knew how to exploit the weaknesses in his defenses.

 

Season 52 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S52(CGY) 72GP | 21G - 65A -  86P | +60 | 234SHT | 5GWG | 151PIM | 186HIT |  83SB
Playoffs
S52(CGY)  7GP | 1G -  6A -  7P |  +2 | 16SHT | 0GWG | 32PIM | 34HIT | 10SB

 

Calgary took a step back in Black Velvet's second season with the team. While the team still managed to win 50 games, the improved play in the North American Conference as a whole saw Calgary slip all the way to 3rd in the standings, just edging out the Toronto Legion for the final playoff spot. No longer playing on every line for the Wranglers, Velvet's stats took a step back from the previous season, though he still paced the team with 65 assists and a +60 on the year. Still, he was impressive enough to earn a second straight Sterling Labatte Trophy. The Wranglers were matched up with the New York Americans in the first round of the playoffs, a grueling series that went to 7 games. It was a unique series where the home team won every single game, which unfortunately meant Calgary was headed home. Velvet played good, but not great in the series, averaging one point per game but also accumulating 32 penalty minutes. Those penalties hurt the Wranglers, as the Americans scored three goals while Velvet was sitting in the box. It was a disappointing ending to his time in Calgary.

 

Season 53 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S53(HSK) 72GP | 19G - 73A -  92P | +40 | 234SHT | 0GWG | 140PIM | 253HIT |  86SB
Playoffs
S53(HSK) 13GP | 1G - 10A - 11P |  -3 | 45SHT | 0GWG | 50PIM | 44HIT | 25SB

 

The offseason preceding Season 53 was an interesting one for Black Velvet, as he, Theo Axelsson, and a future 1st round pick were sent to the Helsinki Titans for top goalie prospect Jacob. It was one of the most controversial and one-sided trades in VHL history, and indeed it propelled Helsinki from bottom-dwelling rebuild mode to annual playoff contender. After winning just 9 games the previous season, the duo of Velvet and Axelsson put the league on notice as they powered the Titans to 48 wins and a playoff appearance. Velvet paced his team in assists and points once again as the lead defender on the Titans primary line. Helsinki played a hard fought opening series against the Cologne Express, winning in 7 games before facing the Stockholm Vikings in the European Conference Championship. Unfortunately the long series wore down the Titans, and the Vikings opened the series with a 7-0 pounding. While Helsinki was able to stretch the series to 6 games, they never seemed comfortable against Stockholm. Velvet led the way in assists for the Titans, but he also posted a team worst -3 for the playoffs, and people began to question whether Velvet was truly a super star or was his early career success simply a factor of belonging to a stacked Toronto team...

 

Season 54 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S54(HSK) 72GP | 27G - 59A -  86P | +62 | 231SHT | 7GWG | 122PIM | 229HIT |  85SB
Playoffs
S54(HSK) 17GP | 4G - 15A - 19P |  +3 | 52SHT | 2GWG | 44PIM | 62HIT | 20SB

 

Entering his 7th season in the VHL, Black Velvet was beginning to feel an increased pressure to win one more championship. The effects of Father Time were starting to creep into his body, and in response Velvet began to take an even more proactive approach to offense. He matched his previous career high of 27 goals, and as usual he paced the team with 59 assists. The trio of Velvet, Theo Axelsson, and star rookie Franchise Cornerstone led Helsinki into the playoffs for the second straight season. The Titans made short work of the Riga Reign in the opening series to face the Stockholm Vikings in a rematch of the Season 53 European Conference Championship. Once again, the Vikings came out strong, winning the first two games of the series. Velvet had had enough and rallied his team to play better defense. His leadership paid off, as the Vikings failed to score more than once in any of the next four games, with Velvet himself accumulating 6 points over those games to lead the Titans into a VHL Championship matchup against the Quebec City Meute. The series went to 6 games, 5 of which were decided by one point, including 3 that went into overtime. In the end, Helsinki was victorious, and Black Velvet won his fourth Continental Cup Championship.

 

Season 55 Statistics (VHL):

Quote

Regular Season
S55(HSK) 72GP | 45G - 55A -  100P | +54 | 508SHT | 13GWG | 72PIM | 210HIT |  20SB
Playoffs
S55(HSK) 12GP | 6G - 7A - 13P |  +7 | 89SHT | 3GWG | 8PIM | 30HIT | 3SB

 

For his 8th and final season in the VHL, Black Velvet left behind his defensive roots and took the lead as the Titans first line center. Unsurprisingly, Velvet set new career highs in shots and goals, and he reached the 100 points threshold for the second time in his career. The move appeared to work out well, as Helsinki paced the league with 58 wins, earning Velvet his fourth Victory Cup Championship. The Titans faced the HC Davos Dynamo in the European Conference Championship, easily dispatching them in just 5 games to set up an intense rematch with the Quebec City Meute. The Titans took the first two games in the series, and appeared to extend their lead to three before the Meute scored a goal late in game 3 to force overtime and eventually take the win. It was the Meute's first lead of the series, and they parlayed it into three straight wins to force a game 6. Once again, Velvet embraced the challenge of facing two elimination games and took control of game 6, scoring twice and assisting on a third in the Titans 4-1 victory. Finally, we come to game 7, the last game of Velvet's storied career. The Meute took an early 2-0 lead in the first, but Velvet picked up a key assist to cut the lead before the end of the period. The second period was also a high scoring frenzy, and the game was tied at 3 going into the third. both teams tightened up their defenses, and for the second time in his career, Black Velvet was faced with an overtime game 7 championship match. The nerves began to get to Velvet, and he drew a penalty for Hooking in the overtime period. The Titans knew they couldn't let Velvet's story end in disappointment, and longtime teammate Theo Axelsson delivered, scoring the game winning goal and securing Helsinki's second straight Continental Cup.

 

Career Totals:

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Regular Season
576GP | 196G - 505A -  701P | +477 | 2302SHT | 47GWG | 752PIM | 1379HIT |  674SB
Playoffs
94GP | 22G - 65A - 87P |  +12 | 344SHT | 9GWG | 202PIM | 251HIT | 131SB

 

Overall, Black Velvet had the kind of career that every player wishes they could have. Velvet is in pristine company as one of just a handful of players to log over 500 career assists, and one of the even fewer to score over 700 points. His ridiculous +477 is second only to the legendary Sterling Labatte himself, and had Velvet played a 9th season as Labatte did, he would have easily pulled ahead. In addition to all the individual achievements, Velvet enjoyed the kind of team success that is just unheard of. Making the playoffs in all 8 of his seasons, Velvet won 4 total Victory Cup Championships for three different teams as well as 5 Continental Cup Championships over two different teams. He was the playoffs MVP for the only team to win 3 consecutive Continental Cups, and he never once lost a VHL Championship series. All-in-all Black Velvet was a once in a generation kind of talent, and he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest to step on the ice in the VHL.

Edited by omgitshim
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  • DollarAndADream changed the title to (S56 Class) Black Velvet - Player [1/2]

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