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Jun
29

Winston Fired

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GM Winston Bambrick Fired

Only 24 Hours After Being Re-Hired

June 29th, 2018

After attempting to make multiple trades within hours of being hired, including sending superstar player John Tavares to Shawinigan, Moncton GM Winston Bambrick has already been fired.

“He clearly didn’t learn his lesson from the first run,” AFHL Commissioner Anthony Furino tweeted out on Friday afternoon. “It’s a real shame.”

The issue seems to be that Winston traded Tavares without shopping him to the entire league.

“He traded him literally a couple hours after being hired,” said Furino. “How would you be sure to get the biggest bang for your buck if you don’t attempt to speak with all the teams in the league? Half the GMs in this league didn’t even know Winston was back let alone Tavares was available. I am not letting him ruin another team.”

Winston was fired after only one day on the job.

This is the fastest GM firing in league history. The second fastest firing was former London GM Tom Schmansky who lasted 11 days. Here is the link to that article: “Hasta La Vista, Schmansky

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Heeee’s Baaaack!!! Winston Returns to AFHL

Hired as New GM of Moncton Black Bears

June 28th, 2018

The Moncton Black Bears front office underwent a significant change on Thursday when AFHL Commissioner Anthony Furino announced he will be hiring Winston Bambrick as new GM.

Bambrick served as general manager of the Westbury Royals between 2015-17. He parted with the AFHL after getting backlash from other GMs for making questionable trades for a struggling franchise.

“My breaking point was an argument with that dude from the army,” Winston said of Fort Drum GM Steve Stryska at a press conference on Thursday. “He got me hot headed but I always regretted leaving. The AFHL is my favorite league of all-time and I have always felt like I had some unfinished business.”

It was a sour ending for his run with the Westbury Royals but this ending should be different.

“Winston took over a fragile Westbury team that had very few pieces and some guys just have trouble with that,” Commissioner Furino said at the press conference. “For reasons I just can’t explain. Rebuilds are not easy and they are not for everyone. But Winston had a year off and he had time to take a step back to look at what went wrong, where, what went right and what would he do differently? I believe he learned a few lessons from his first run in the AFHL and got better from that. He has a great hockey knowledge and enough experience to thrive with a team like Moncton that has a good amount of pieces to be competitive as soon as this year.”

Commissioner Furino believes a high activity level is the first and probably most important attribute of a great GM. Winston raises the bar for that category.

“He was by far the most active GM I have seen in our 8 years,” said Furino. “Combine that activity level with better decision making skills and he could easily become a Hall-of-Fame GM one day.”

Looking to the future, Furino said the Black Bears just need to find secondary scorers for next season. The strength of the Black Bears last season was the goaltending of Corey Crawford and Juuse Saros. They have stalwarts in guys like John Tavares, Dougie Hamilton, and rookie sensation Mathew Barzal.

“He needs to just build around that nucleus,” Furino said of Winston. “If he can draft well and be more careful with trades, I think we can see this team in the playoffs sooner rather than later.

Winston is confident that this team has the pieces in place to compete at a very high level.

“There is a lot of talent, a solid core and some exciting young players eager to get better,” said Winston. “We’re getting to work right away on the things that will make us all successful.”

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San Diego Gulls Make History with Repeat Title

April 2nd, 2018

History is not made in one game. History is not made in one day. History is not made in one year.

History is built on the accumulation of time. It is as elusive as it is magnificent.

The 2018 San Diego Gulls have etched their names in history, both literally and figuratively, as they became the first team in AFHL history to win two AFHL Stanley Cup championships after defeating the Washington Wolfpack, 7-3, on Sunday in Game 7 of a seesaw series that pitted a high-scoring heavyweight against an upstart challenger.

It is an achievement that will live forever.

Over the years, the San Diego Gulls have gone through an ever-changing cast of players but the one staple has always been GM/Coach Lucas Main.

“We knew it was going to be tough all year, but we just tried to keep with it,” Lucas said amidst the locker room celebration. “We had a lot of injuries and things like that. We just kept finding ways. That was really what we did all season, all playoffs. It’s great to be able to do it.”

Along with the team, Lucas Main has become the first GM in AFHL history – eight years – to win two AFHL Stanley Cups as well as the first to win back to back AFHL Stanley Cups.

“You might have a small window to win a Stanley Cup,” Lucas said. “I feel fortunate, but I also understand how difficult it was so you just want to try to make the best of it.”

Gulls goaltender John Gibson was named the MVP of the Playoffs. He posted a 1.97 GAA and a save percentage of .931% in the Finals.

“I think I’m just really happy for this group,” Gibson said after skating around the rink with the Stanley Cup. “A good chunk of the guys were returning from last year, so it’s pretty special. We set out to try to go back-to-back. We knew it was going to be pretty difficult, but I think that’s probably where the most joy comes out of is just knowing how difficult it is to go back-to-back and knowing that we overcame all those things. It’s a pretty special group, I’ll say that.”

Gulls forward Nikita Kucherov shed tears of joy in his post-game interview.

“I think this feeling right here. You can’t match this,” said an emotional Nikita Kucherov. “It’s what it’s all about, and to be able to share that with a group of guys, a lot of them guys that you’ve played a long time with and understand how difficult it is and what you’ve had to go through and that kind of thing, share it with family and friends, that’s what it’s about.”

After hugging GM Lucas Main for what seemed like five minutes, Gulls forward Evgeni Malkin was asked what words were shared between the two.

Malkin paused for a moment and responded with one phrase: “Three-peat.”

*

“It stings,” said Wolfpack goaltender Martin Jones. “I think the biggest thing we’ve got to take from this is, remember the feeling. That’s what’s going to drive us … We’re going to be back here again next year.”

Washington GM Rick Charron was a hard man to find after the loss. Media eventually caught up to him a couple hours later outside the Wolfpack locker room.

“It’s hard to describe. You dream about lifting the AFHL Stanley Cup for so many years, and the dream has happened probably a million times for most of us. Being that close, being one game away from lifting the Stanley Cup, it [stinks]. But for us, we did so many things well and this is such a tremendous run for our team, and we have such a good well balanced team. I think we gained a ton of experience from this run and we are going to work hard to get back here.”

*

The Gulls victory parade will be 11 a.m. next Wednesday, the city announced via Twitter early Monday afternoon.

Although a formal release is still upcoming, the route is expected to remain the same as last year.

The city expects as many as 500,000 people will gather along the parade routes and related celebrations, said Alexander Costa, the chief operations officer under the San Diego Mayor. Costa said that would rank the crowd total larger than last year.

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2018 Stanley Cup Finals Preview

Best Quotes from Media Day

March 26th, 2018

“Woo for Two!”

That was the headline to the special Stanley Cup Final section in a San Diego newspaper on Monday morning, a reference to the Gulls’ quest for a second straight Stanley Cup win.

San Diego GM Lucas Main knows this stage well. Game one (Monday 7 p.m.) will mark his second straight appearance in the Finals.

But despite the fact this will be the Washington GM Rick Charron’s first ever appearance in the Cup Finals, he believes he and his team belong.

“Most of their guys won it last year and know what’s coming at them,” Wolfpack forward Patrice Bergeron said. “But we know that if we play our game and keep doing the things that got us here we can find success.”

So while the talk for much of Monday morning was about the Gulls’ stars and the opportunity for them to make history by becoming the first team to repeat as champions and the first team to win more than one Cup, the Wolfpack feel like this is their stage, too.

They’ve taken no shortcuts on the road here. They beat one of the Stanley Cup favorite Sharks in round one and beat one of the hottest teams over the second half of the season in the Nomads in round two.

Now to win their first ever Stanley Cup, the Wolfpack will have to beat the defending champs.

“This is probably the biggest challenge we’ve had to face all year in this series,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “But I feel good about our group and we’re confident in our team and like this matchup.”

Washington coach Rick Charron on what making the Stanley Cup final means to the city

“Come to Washington and you’ll see. Like I said to somebody earlier, you should put this on your bucket list if you don’t have it. Our building is probably the loudest of all the arenas in the league. The atmosphere is electric.”

San Diego coach Lucas Main on two American Conference teams in the final

“I think it speaks a little bit about the progress that the American Conference has made. I think there’s a lot of really good teams that are working extremely hard to be the best. There’s a lot of real good coaches in that conference as well. To be a part of that American fraternity, I guess, it’s something that I’m certainly proud of.”

San Diego’s Evgeni Malkin on his attitude about being in the spotlight

“Probably was a little bit more inclined to yes [to interviews] all the time when I was younger. Probably a little better at saying no sometimes when the time is right. But I understand that this is part of it. … As you get older, you figure out what works.”

Tyler Seguin on Washington’s postseason inexperience compared to the Gulls

“At the end of the day, it’s another hockey game. Sure we will be nervous during the first shift but we will settle in quickly.”

Washington goalie Martin Jones on facing Malkin and Kucherov

“From a goalie perspective, when those guys are in your zone, you have to be on your toes and know what’s going on.”

Washington coach Rick Charron on injuries to key players

“All players will be available to us who made the trip. Chara and Thornton are currently game-time decisions but we fully expect them to be ready for Game 1 tonight.”

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Mar
12

2018 Playoffs Preview

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AFHL Teams & Cities Preparing for Playoff Pandemonium

March 12th, 2018

The AFHL regular season ended last night and immediately the eight qualifying teams, hockey fans, business owners, and police began preparing for the playoff season.
Sports stores all around the United States and Canada started preparing for a rush of customers by ordering double the teams merchandise than usual.

“There’s a whole new batch of merchandise, everything from jerseys to tattoos to face paint and streamers, and stuff like this,” said Kelly Hodgson, manager of a Modell’s sporting goods store.

Nearby the San Diego Gulls home ice arena, fans are planning to watch the games in bars and restaurants on a street where celebrations turned chaotic last year after winning the AFHL Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh police are also busy preparing for celebrations, and said it will cost between $50,000 and $60,000 per night to patrol the streets. After losing Game 7 in the Finals last year, they know what to expect.

“Experience is a good teacher, and we definitely know where we have to prepare and what we have to look at and those plans have been underway for some time,” Pittsburgh Deputy EPS Chief Brian Simpson said.

Most police squads won’t say exactly where their extra resources will be deployed, but they’re reminding fans they will be cracking down on public drinking and jaywalking during the playoffs.

Several years ago after the Buffalo Phantoms lost to the Hamilton Firestorm in the Finals, more than $4 million was spent on police resources and 900 people were arrested in the streets of Buffalo.

This time around, police are bringing in crowd control experts from the United Kingdom for insight on how to handle these situations.

Meanwhile, some of those not quite lucky enough to get a ticket to a playoff game at their team’s home ice arena will be watching the games from their local bars such as The Irish Tavern in Washington right next to the Wolfpack’s arena – where managers plan to bring in a DJ and extra staff on game nights.

Work is still underway in much of Atlantic City surrounding the Sharks arena – and the Sharks are working to find a way to engage with fans outside the arena.

“Obviously, like everything else in this industry, we’re very superstitious about jumping too far ahead until it’s locked down, but after the celebration from our playoff birth a couple weeks ago our whole organization is busy in meetings around the city today just finalizing plans,” Stew MacDonald with the Sharks Entertainment Group said.

Tickets for home playoff games mostly spoken for

At this point, all eight qualifying teams are guaranteed at least two playoff games at home this week, and the teams say tickets will be hard to get, as the majority have already been spoken for by season ticket holders.

Those season ticket holders were given the first chance to reserve playoff tickets, and it’s an opportunity most took.

“I can tell you the percentage is the highest we’ve ever seen, well over 90 percent,” a Laval Nomads spokesman said.

Some teams’ season ticket holders also have the option of entering a draw to buy more tickets next week – and whatever is left will go on sale the following day.

Manhattan officials say their number of tickets available at this point will be in the hundreds, not thousands, and they’re expected to be sold “within minutes”.

However, on game days, teams are expected to release more tickets and alert fans through email – services thousands of people have signed up for.

The Supermen wouldn’t say what tickets will cost; only confirming the price will be comparable to what season ticket holders are paying. Round 1 ranges from an average of $125 per seat in the upper bowl, to about $213 per seat in the lower bowl, plus more than $300 for club seats.

In addition, tickets will not be issued in a hard copy – only digital. Supermen officials said they decided to go digital to avoid ticket fraud.

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 Live Coverage of the

2018 AFHL Trade Deadline

February 6th, 2017

It’s a new year and a new trade deadline with a live-blog that will be your guide through this hectic and crazy day. What can you expect here? You can expect to find the latest news, rumors, breaking news and some analysis too.

It’s going to be a good time, keep refreshing every hour or so, and enjoy the coverage by Pierre LeBrun, Barry Melrose, and Bob McKenzie who is at TSN’s studios for Tradecentre.

 

9:00 am Bob McKenzie: Happy Deadline Day everybody! Welcome to our AFHL Trade Deadline live chat extravaganza! 

9:15 am Barry Melrose: And so it begins… wonder which teams will be the first to make some noise… We’re ready.

9:29 am Pierre LeBrun: The day of AFHL reckoning is upon us. Tonight at 9pm EST, teams will have made their final moves in either their run for a shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup or in their admission that 2018 just won’t be their year. 

9:35 am Barry Melrose: No trades so far but rumors are flying.

9:40 am Bob McKenzie: Quiet overnight in Cape Breton specific to captain, Johnny Gaudreau. Teams have called with interest, but Crunch GM Liam Goyetche says nothing in the works.

9:58 am Pierre LeBrun: Heard there was a trade made late last night between Montreal and Washington. Yanni Gourde to the Wolfpack but it’s still not official. Anyone know what the hold up is?

10:00 am Barry Melrose: I thought maybe a problem with the paperwork but now I’m hearing it’s under review.

10:20 am Bob McKenzie: Fort Drum defenseman Jake Muzzin was just pulled off the ice during Killers morning skate. Wonder if he just got traded…

10:34 am Bob McKenzie: Update – Muzzin was not traded. He took a puck to the foot. He’s back on the ice.

10:40 am Pierre LeBrun: There’s been some rumblings that San Diego is looking to acquire Ryan Miller from Manhattan because John Gibson keeps getting hurt. But according to Pierre McGuire, it’s quiet on that front right now.

10:51 am Barry Melrose: Text from London GM Matt Plachta: “A lot of interest in Kale Clague and Nikolai Goldobin. They aren’t on the block but there are some offers that are making us think.”

10:52 am Barry Melrose: Plachta adds: “Looking towards next year. Willing to take on injured players from playoffs teams that just want healthy guys in lineup.”

10:59 am Bob McKenzie: Goldobin is an interesting player. He started out in the AHL this year on a tear with 12 points in 10 games. He has shown flashes of offensive skill but he’s still a young player learning to play the game.

11:02 am Pierre LeBrun: There’s a rumor out there saying Sidney Crosby wants to be traded. Since being drafted by the Buffalo Phantoms first overall in the AFHL Inaugural Draft eight years ago, he still has not won an AFHL Stanley Cup. Made it to the Finals several years ago but never won.

11:03 am Pierre LeBrun: Spoke to Buffalo GM Daryn Beckman about that rumor this morning. He said he would have to be blown away by an offer for Crosby.

11:09 am Barry Melrose: Beckman should really consider trading Crosby. He can get a nice haul for him.

11:13 am Pierre LeBrun: I agree. A Crosby trade would improve that team tremendously.

11:18 am Bob McKenzie: I’m hearing Atlantic City is in talks to acquire a superstar from the Canadian Conference. Nothing concrete yet but talks have intensified. 

11:20 am Barry Melrose: A little after 11am and still no trades today. Who will be the first domino to fall?

11:23 am Pierre LeBrun: Apparently a lot of GMs are holding onto their trade chips waiting to see if Toronto starts the rebuild. Lots of delicious players on that team including Nicklas Backstrom and Erik Karlsson.

11:34 am Bob McKenzie: The Red Devils are the most interesting team. Will they blow it up? Will they deal Backstrom? Karlsson? Carter?

12:30 pm Pierre LeBrun: First trade of the day. Hamilton trades Nick Foligno and Cal Clutterbuck to San Diego for JT Miller and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

12:45 pm Barry Melrose: Nick Foligno on TSN right now. Sounds half asleep. Says he’s excited for a change of scenery.

12:53 pm Bob McKenzie: Twitter rumor says Ryan Suter was just removed from Firestorm practice. 

12:59 pm Barry Melrose: Speaking of practice. Business as usual at the Westbury Royals practice today. GM Stephen LeDrew had a brief media scrum and said there has been some mild interest in Patrik Berglund and Andrew Cogliano.

1:08 pm Pierre LeBrun: Port Hope Panthers rebuild is underway. After trading away Carey Price and Artemi Panarin last week, he is now looking to trade Evander Kane, Justin Schultz, and Derrick Brassard.

1:10 pm Bob McKenzie: Ryan Suter did in fact leave the Firestorm practice. The reason? A skate issue.

1:42 pm Barry Melrose: Lots of trades are brewing right now.

1:43 pm Bob McKenzie: Hearing Manhattan is working on not one, not two, but THREE blockbusters.

1:50 pm Bob McKenzie: Deer Park GM Mike Nellany says he’s still thinking “big picture” at the deadline.

1:57 pm Bob McKenzie: Source telling me Manhattan GM Tony Furino can’t pull the trigger on any of three blockbusters being discussed until he has commitments from all teams involved. Maybe too many moving parts to get it done.

2:01 pm Pierre LeBrun: TSN reporting the Washington/Montreal trade was just approved. Yanni Gourde is on the move to the Wolfpack. 

2:04 pm Barry Melrose: Pittsburgh GM Jason Henley said he’s going to have Washington GM Rick Charron handle his negotiations from now on. “How’d he get Gourde for a sack of dongs like that anyway?”

2:25 pm Bob McKenzie: Am told over 10 teams have inquired on Gaudreau in Cape Breton. 

2:32 pm Pierre LeBrun: Laval Nomads are listening to offers for Panik, Devan Dubnyk, Kadri, Dadonov, and Frolik.

2:43 pm Barry Melrose: Ondrej Pavelec to Montreal. Waiting for details…

2:47 pm Barry Melrose: Westbury trades Ondrej Pavelec and a 2019 Third Round Pick to Montreal for 2018 Second Round Pick.

3:13 pm Bob McKenzie: Text from Boston GM Mike Phelan: “It’s slow right now.”

3:15  Pierre LeBrun: Yeah, over the years we have seen it get slow around this time mid-day and then it picks up around dinner time. 

4:24 pm Barry Melrose: Moncton GM Alex Bork is annoyed by the low ball offers he keeps getting for Corey Crawford. He’s not looking to trade Crawford.

4:30 pm Bob McKenzie: I’m hearing a few trades were just made in the last several minutes that includes Johnny Gaudreau going to Atlantic City. 

4:32 pm Bob McKenzie: Fort Drum has traded Jake Muzzin to Pittsburgh for a couple goaltending prospects.

4:34 pm Bob McKenzie: Shea Weber is on his way to London along with Jason Spezza. Hamilton gets back Tomas Hertl, Nikolai Goldobin, Vitaly Abramov and a 2018 first rounder.

4:36 pm Bob McKenzie: Montreal has traded their 2018 second round pick for Andrew Cogliano and Hamilton’s 2018 second round pick.

4:45 pm  Pierre LeBrun: Twitter is blowing up over a potential Gaudreau trade. 

5:10 pm Barry Melrose: Gaudreau trade details: Cape Breton trades Johnny Gaudreau to Atlantic City for Anthony Duclair, Charles Hudon, Nick Bonino, 2018 First Round Pick, and 2020 Second Round Pick.

5:21 pm Bob McKenzie: Everyone is up in arms about that one. I’m hearing it’s currently under Trade Review.

5:38 pm Barry Melrose: Now joining us live via phone call in the TSN studios is Port Hope GM Keith Cancilla. Thanks for joining us, Keith. I know you don’t have much time but you are one of the current members of the AFHL Trade Review Committee. Very quickly, can you tell us what are your thoughts about this trade?

Voice of Port Hope Panthers GM Keith Cancilla

5:40 pm Barry Melrose: Alright thank you, Keith. We’ll know soon if this trade goes through.

6:30 pm  Pierre LeBrun: The Gaudreau trade was vetoed.

7:15 pm  Pierre LeBrun: Port Hope has just traded Brandon Dubinsky to Pittsburgh for a 2018 Second Round Pick.

7:49 pm Bob McKenzie: It’s the calm before the storm. Almost one hour til the deadline…

8:12 pm Barry Melrose: Talks starting to pick up with less than one hour to go!!

8:33 pm  Pierre LeBrun: Lots of chatter right now. You can feel the rush.

8:43 pm Bob McKenzie: Just hung up with a GM who commented on how busy it is now. He said, “I’m talking to 7, 8, 9 GMs at once. Madness. Absolutely insanity.”

8:44 pm Barry Melrose: Port Hope sends Evander Kane to San Diego for Tuevo Teravainen and Adam Fox.

9:00 pm Bob McKenzie: Flurry of deals to be announced in the final moments…

9:09 pm Barry Melrose: Too many trades to announce too late at night. See Fantrax for the last minute deals. 

9:11 pm  Pierre LeBrun: Busy day. Maybe not for fans expecting lots of trade action but chasing ghosts all day is hard work! Goodnight everybody!

 

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Oct
04

2017 AFHL Awards

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2017 AFHL Awards

 

Norris Trophy

Awarded to the top defenseman who demonstrates throughout the season the greatest all-around ability in the position (consider offensive stats, plus/minus, and contribution to team success).

 

The nominees are…

 

 
Victor Hedman, Comox Valley Hitmen

Brent Burns, Toronto Red Devils

Erik Karlsson, Toronto Red Devils

 

And the winner is…

 

Erik Karlsson, Toronto Red Devils

 

 

Calder Trophy

Awarded to the best rookie

 

The nominees are…

Auston Matthews, F, Boston Giants

Patrik Laine, F, Laval Nomads

Zach Werenski, D, Hamilton Firestorm

 

And the winner is…

 

Auston Matthews, F, Boston Giants

 

 

Trash Talker Trophy

Awarded to the best trash talking GM

 

The nominees are…

Deer Park GM Mike Nellany

Pittsburgh GM Jason Henley

Atlantic City GM Mike Toporek

 

And the winner is…

 

Pittsburgh GM Jason Henley

 

 

Vezina Trophy

Awarded to the best goaltender

 

The nominees are…

Braden Holtby, Pittsburgh Heroes

Sergei obrovsky, Boston Giants

Carey Price, Port Hope Panthers

 

And the winner is…

 

Braden Holtby, Pittsburgh Heroes

 

 

Laugh Out Loud Trophy

Awarded to the GM judged to be the best at making fun of anyone and/or anything. The funny GM says things that are completely unexpected and different from the norm to surprise people. Basic categories of humor include absurdity, exaggeration, mockery/ridicule, verbal humor. A funny GM is at his best when he forgets himself. He says the first thing that comes into his head and doesn’t even try to be funny. He throws himself into an unknown future and doesn’t even think about limits or boundaries. He’s relaxed and loose and bold. He’ll just go for it. He’ll go off on some crazy tangent. A funny GM lives in the moment and sometimes he just doesn’t give a fuck.

 

The nominees are…

Comox Valley GM Pat McKenna

Deer Park GM Mike Nellany

Pittsburgh GM Jason Henley

 

And the winner is…

 

Pittsburgh GM Jason Henley

 

 

Hart Trophy (MVP)

Awarded to the player judged most valuable to his team in the regular season.

 

The nominees are…

Nicklas Backstrom, F, Toronto Red Devils

Connor McDavid, F, Pittsburgh Heroes

Nikita Kucherov, F, San Diego Gulls

Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Boston Giants

 

 

And the winner is…

 

Connor McDavid, F, Pittsburgh Heroes

 

 

 

Jack Adams Award

Awarded to the “Best” Coach / GM of the Year.

Important skills to be considered: winning, trading, brewing rivalries, posting on message boards, being active on a regular basis, and having fun.

 

The nominees are…

Laval Nomads GM Alex Chau

Pittsburgh Heroes GM Jason Henley

San Diego Gulls GM Lucas Main

 

And the winner is…

 

San Diego Gulls GM Lucas Main

 

 

 

Stanley Cup

League Championship / Winner of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Winner: San Diego Gulls

 

TONIGHT’S TROPHY TOTALS PER TEAM:

Pittsburgh – 4

San Diego – 2

Toronto – 1

Boston – 1

 

ALL-TIME TROPHY TOTALS PER TEAM:

Pittsburgh Heroes – 15

Toronto Red Devils – 14

Deer Park Chiefs – 13

Port Hope Panthers – 9

Buffalo Phantoms – 8

Atlantic City Sharks – 7

San Diego Gulls – 6

Washington Wolfpack – 6

Lakehead Ice Holes – 6

Hamilton Firestorm – 5

Boston Giants – 3

London Mustangs – 2

Manhattan Supermen – 2

Philadelphia Crunch – 2

Montreal Xtreme -1

Oshawa City Leafs – 1

Twin City Vikings – 1

Comox Valley X-Men – 1

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Jon Litterine Hired as New GM of Atlantic City

sharks logo

July 18th, 2017

The Atlantic City Sharks have been tagged with the label of last year’s biggest underachievers, so when it came time to find a new coach and GM, the AFHL Commissioner wanted to hire a proven winner.

So it should come as no surprise the Commish tapped Jon Litterine as the team’s new bench boss.

“We are very, very pleased to have a guy who fits in this league for now and into the future,” Commissioner Anthony Furino said at a press conference Tuesday morning in Atlantic City. “He understands the expectations, he welcomes the expectations.”

Litterine replaces Mike Toporek as new coach and GM of the Sharks. Furino met with Litterine several weeks ago, shortly before the start of the Entry Draft.

“This is a very special opportunity,” Litterine said. “There are only 20 of these positions in the world and I feel very fortunate to be involved with one of the top organizations in the Amazing Fantasy Hockey League.”

Litterine takes over a team that is loaded with star power, including forwards Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel, defenseman John Klingberg, and goaltender Ben Bishop.

Litterine said his job is to get the most out of the talent.

“It’s my job as a coach to push this team, push them hard, push them outside of their comfort zone,” Litterine said. “But while I’m doing that, (it’s my job) to make sure they’re enjoying the process.”

After making it to the playoffs for seven straight years, the Sharks were considered one of the top Stanley Cup contenders going into last season, but they failed to make the playoffs.

Litterine said it’s natural for a team to stumble a little bit before making a breakthrough.

“I use the analogy of a marathon. A lot of people try to run it the first time and don’t quite make it. You have to go back and start again,” he said. “Without running Mile 1, Mile 13 and Mile 20, you never get to Mile 26.”

The AFHL Commissioner said participation level was a big factor in his decision to let go of former GM Toporek.

“The participation level is probably the biggest thing I look at,” said Furino. “Aside from participation, I also saw an underachieving team and a season get away from them.”

“Obviously, I try and support every GM in this league all the way up until the last second,” said Furino. “This was based more on a gut feeling that there was a different direction we could go with someone new who is committed to participating much more, someone who would post comments on the message board more often, and someone that could poke and prod and get a young core to meet their potential.”

Now Litterine is in charge and he’s committed to a high participation level just as much as he’s committed to getting the Sharks on the winning track.

“I’ve been writing for Rotowire since 2005 and playing fantasy hockey for over 20 years so I guess you can say I know players and I know how to get the most out of them,” Litterine said at the press conference.

Litterine plans no major changes right away, but expects a high battle level in training camp. He believes the Sharks have the talent to be a championship team, “but the buy-in has to be immediate.”

“Because of my love for all levels of hockey, including juniors, I’ve had great success in working with young and talented guys and getting them to play,” Litterine said. “I think there’s potential with a lot of guys to be top players here.”

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Over 300,000 People Attend

San Diego Gulls Stanley Cup Parade

 

April 20th, 2017

Tens of thousands of blue-and-orange clad San Diego Gulls fans lined the streets of downtown San Diego this past Friday to cheer their team’s first Stanley Cup win. The team won the AFHL championship last Sunday, defeating the Pittsburgh Heroes via tiebreaker in an overtime nailbiter.

Players shaved off their beards, boarded a double decker buses and hoisted the gleaming 35-pound Stanley Cup for the screaming and elated fans who lined the streets near their home ice arena to see them.

Blue and orange confetti rained on fans and the team as the Stanley Cup was held up by Gulls players. 

“It’s huge,” said Gulls fan Jennifer Rogers, 33, of San Diego, before the start of the parade. “We won the Stanley Cup! We’ve finally arrived on the sports scene.”

San Diego Police Department officials declined to estimate the number of spectators but Jeff Moeller, a spokesman for the San Diego Gulls, said they estimated that as many as 300,000 people attended the parade and about 18,000 people attended the rally afterwards at their home ice arena.

Signs held up along the route displayed San Diego’s passion and gratitude for the team. “Gutted X-Men. Killed Supermen. Heroes Fall,” read one. Fans began to line the parade route hours before the start and cheered with all their might as their heroes passed. Some admitted to calling in sick or leaving work early to celebrate with their team.

“I’m on vacation to watch this,” said Eduardo Renteria, 15, of Lincoln, Nebraska. “I was born in this city and I love this team.”

Dave Carpenter, 40, of Santa Clarita, held his daughter on his shoulders as the parade got underway. He said he’s been a fan since the late since Lucas Main took over the franchise, when it was a bottom five team in the league.

“I love everything about them — their resilience.” Carpenter said of the team. “They have an ability to come back no matter what. … What they’ve accomplished in the last three years is simply amazing.”

The parade was held along several streets in San Diego. A heavy police presence could be seen around their home ice arena.

Despite the intense mid-day heat, Pam Noonan, 50, of Bell Canyon was thrilled to attend the victory parade with a large group of family and friends.

Noonan said they had watched Sunday night’s “very dramatic” game — the longest in the team’s history — on television with “bated breath” until the perfect, winning goal by Drake Caggiula was scored.

“Hopefully, they’ll do it again next year,” Noonan said. “They’ve got a great coach, a great team. Couldn’t ask for anything better but we’d love if they did more.”

Noonan’s nephew Chris Kuchinka, 19, of Moorpark, was standing next to her in the crowd cheering “Go Gulls Go!” at the top of his lungs.

Kuchinka, “a huge fan” of Gulls’ goalie John Gibson who wore a T-shirt that bore the player’s name, is a goalie himself for the Van Nuys-based California Condors, a special needs ice hockey team.

“This is an awesome experience,” Kuchinka said.

Clean-shaven team members said this time’s Stanley Cup win proved to be an uphill, yet satisfying challenge.

“It’s emotional, it was an exhaustive ride for us to come on top,” said Gulls forward Claude Giroux.

Goalie John Gibson had a brief answer for what he liked most about winning the Stanley Cup.

“Celebrating. The People,” he said.

San Diego Police Department spokeswoman Rosario Herrera said no problems or arrests had been reported.

“The crowd was spirited, well-behaved,” said Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey. “We’re aware of no significant injuries or illnesses among the large crowd.”

The celebrations concluded inside San Diego home ice arena with a rally for fans.

GM Lucas Main was among those riding on a bus with the Gulls players. His speech almost outshined the grand parade, when he dropped the “F” bomb.

“There are two rules in management,” Main said gleefully, with a bottle of beer in his hand. “Never be pictured with a drink in your hand, and never swear but this is a big fucking day!!!”

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San Diego Wins the 2017 AFHL Stanley Cup

 

April 10th, 2017

While the San Diego Gulls beelined across the ice to mob their goaltender at the buzzer, hockey analyst Pierre McGuire ran up to Gulls coach Lucas Main and asked him how it felt to be the AFHL’s best.

“This is an incredible feeling, it’s hard to really put it into words,” said Lucas, his eyes moist with emotion. “It’s a special moment right now. We’re so deserving of what has happened here. This is not a fluke. This is something we earned.”

The hero was trade deadline acquisition Drake Caggiula who scored the GWG to tie the game 5-5. The Gulls then defeated the Pittsburgh Heroes via tiebreaker (best record) to win their first Stanley Cup in AFHL history.

“Credit must go to Lucas,” Caggiula said after he slapped in the winning goal to help the Gulls capture the Stanley Cup in a thrilling Game 7 on Sunday Night. “He made critical transactions throughout the season and kept us on course despite the criticism and the adversity, and there’s no denying that he made all the right moves to shape this Cup-winning roster.”

Gulls defenseman Drew Doughty might have best encapsulated what it meant for this team that rebuilt itself through trades and drafts to emerge as AFHL Champion.

“There’s no other feeling like it. It’s what you have work for every day,” said Doughty. “To raise that over my head is the best thing that ever happened. The guys start from day one in training camp. We create that bond. We’re with each other so much throughout the day, and in the week. We’re a hard-working group, guys that you love. It wasn’t easy. We won some matchups which appeared to look easy, but it wasn’t. All those teams gave us a great battle.”

Winning is addictive.

“I’ve already won one, and now I want to know another one,” Doughty said smiling.

Drake Caggiula’s game winning goal sent the San Diego home ice crowd into a frenzy that lasted until Claude Giroux hoisted the Cup and paraded it around the ice. Giroux handed off to goaltender John Gibson who posted a sparkling 2.22 GAA this year.

“I got to compete for that silver thing. That means a lot,” said an emotional Gibson. “We battled so much stuff over the years… we’re a great team and we started to play to our capabilities.”

Then it went to Ryan Kesler who almost dropped it.

“It’s really heavy,” Kesler said of the Cup, “but I managed to pull through. It’s special because it’s a great group of guys. We’ve had our struggles. We were down at the bottom… It’s hard to believe.”

Eventually it went Nikita Kucherov, who passed it to Gulls GM Lucas Main.

“It’s great,” said Kucherov. “It’s what we work all our life for. It’s unbelievable.”

Pittsburgh Heroes coach Jason Henley took the high road following the game.

“Tonight is about San Diego and letting them celebrate,” said Henley. “Obviously we’re devastated as a team. We worked all year to get to this point. To fall short like this is a tough one to take… but we’re a good team, and we’ll be back.”

 *

The San Diego Gulls are set to celebrate their first AFHL Stanley Cup with a parade through the streets of San Diego on Friday, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. local time at Balboa Park.

The parade route will start in front of Balboa Park and proceed southwest until taking a right onto Main Street and ending at the Union Street intersection, where a stage will be set up for the players and coaches to make comments and address the crowd.

The city of San Diego is focused on safety for the event:

“In the interest of safety, the parade route will be restricted to designated parade participants only. Members of the media (with the exception of the single designated photographers and videographers) and members of the public will not be permitted inside the parade route.”

Television coverage of the event will be provided by WPXI beginning at 12 p.m. EST and running through the entire event. You can also stream the parade live on the Gulls’ website.

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The Amazing Fantasy Hockey League (AFHL) is a lifetime keeper fantasy hockey league that consists of 20 franchised teams, of which 10 are located in Canada, and 10 are located in the United States. The AFHL is in no way shape or form affiliated with the NHL or the NHLPA and all teams logos and players names are their property.