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Ryan Taylor Hired as New GM for Vancouver Muscle

August 19th, 2021

The AFHL officially announced the hiring of Ryan Taylor as the new GM of the Vancouver Muscle at a press conference earlier this morning.

“I am thrilled to welcome Ryan Taylor to the AFHL,” Commissioner Tony Furino said in a statement. “Several weeks ago when we embarked on this process, it was critical that we find the right person to run this team. It was evident early on that Ryan is a proven leader who is ready for this opportunity. We are thrilled to introduce him to the fan base of the Vancouver Muscle.”

The Ben Rauscher era has ended and the Ryan Taylor era now begins.

“I’ve got a good track record and I know how to get the most out of my players,” Taylor said at the press conference on Thursday.

Taylor plans no major changes right away but is open to opportunities for positive change. He believes the Muscle have the potential to be a playoff 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,” Taylor said. “I think there’s potential with a lot of guys to be top players here.”

People close to Taylor say he’s a nice addition to the AFHL because he’s fun guy with a great sense of humor and he doesn’t mind the occasional trash talking session.

“I like to have a good time,” said Taylor. “I like to poke fun at guys every now and then.”

Taylor will meet with his players for the first time at an open skate later this afternoon. Part of the first impression he wants to give his players is that he wants them to be proud of the way they play the game.

“I think at the end of the day, I want people in Vancouver to say, ‘Man, that team plays the right way.’

 


Washington Wolfpack Win AFHL Stanley Cup!!!

 

May 5th, 2021

As the final seconds finally ticked off the clock in Washington on Saturday night, the players on the Wolfpack bench threw their gloves in the air and streamed onto the ice with unbridled joy. An AFHL season unlike any that had come before had finally ended, and the Wolfpack had found redemption and was more than ready to celebrate.

Washington pulled off a thrilling overtime win against the Hamilton Firestorm in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals behind goals from Patrice Bergeron and TJ Oshie, giving Washington its second championship in franchise history and first since 2010. Goaltenders Tuuka Rask and Jeremy Swayman both recorded shutouts in the series.

Rask was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP after he racked up six wins, two shutouts, and a 2.20 GAA while anchoring the Wolfpack goalie crease.

“It’s a dream; it’s so unrealistic,” GM Rick Charron said of finally winning the Stanley Cup. “It’s what you dream of when you play on the streets back home when you grow up, and it’s what you imagine all the time.”

Washington’s victory ended an unconventional season in the AFHL amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. And after many months of being away from most of their family and friends and with limited capacity for fans in the buildings, Washington and Hamilton will finally get to go home.

But Washington will get to bring home the much-desired hardware that made it all worthwhile.

Team captain Patrice Bergeron was the first Wolfpack player to hoist the Cup on the ice after the game.

Bergeron then passed the Cup to Brad Marchand, and the tradition of players skating with the Cup and passing it down the entire roster continued. Bergeron said the choice to give the Cup to Marchand first was a no-brainer, describing the enigmatic winger as his “best friend on the team.”

“So many guys would do anything in the world to get the Stanley Cup,” Marchand said. “It was amazing to be a part of this run and so special to be a part of this moment.”

Without some friends and family there, Washington players took out their phones amid the celebration and FaceTimed loved ones so they, too, could take part in the experience.

“This is the best moment of our hockey lives,” Marchand said.

On the other side of spectrum, the Hamilton Firestorm locker room was quiet.

“The emotions are tough right now,” Hamilton GM Adam Zadorozny said. “I’m proud of this organization, all of these guys, the aces coming in when guys have been hurt, different guys stepping up at different times, going into that trainer’s room and seeing guys waiting on a line to get in because everyone’s got ice bags on them.”

The Firestorm were the favorites to win the Cup after eliminating the number one seeded Vikings in the prior week.

“This is going to leave a scar, there’s no doubt,” Zadorozny said. “We’ve got a group of young men in there, but they’re kids at heart and they’re crushed.”

Hamilton forward Brady Tkachuk believes the team was tired from the grueling series with the Vikings.

“Some guys just looked gassed this week,” said Tkachuk. “We didn’t have those third and fourth efforts like we did against the Vikings so pucks obviously weren’t going in for us. Not a good time to go cold, have the well go dry, especially since we carried this on the whole year. There was a lot of fight in the dog, but it just wasn’t enough.”

The Firestorm took an all-hands-on-deck approach to the playoffs, with unlikely heroes delivering in timely moments especially in the series with the Vikings, but they couldn’t come through after falling behind early on during the Finals. Instead, Washington’s story reached its final chapter, and the celebration began.

“I’m going to be a Stanley Cup champ forever,” Charron said. “My kids, my grandkids, if they look at the Stanley Cup, they’re going to see my name.”

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The Wolfpack will bring the Cup to Washington this week as the players reunite with the rest of their friends and families.

The team is expected to arrive in Washington around 5 p.m. Wednesday and then travel to their home ice arena via open-air trolleys. When they arrive at the arena, they will participate in a private on-the-ice celebration with their families, Wolfpack staff and some VIPs.

While that event won’t be open to the public, two other events will be. Those are happening Thursday. Here’s what those are:

 

2021 Stanley Cup Champions Boat Parade

Time: 5 p.m. Thursday, May 13th

Location: Potomac River, Washington DC

Details: Fans can gather along the river, but the city is asking people to practice social distancing and suggests wearing face masks. Boaters in the water will be asked to move out of the way for the parade to make its way through. Washington police stress boaters will not be part of the parade.

 

2021 Stanley Cup Champions Celebration

Time: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 13th

Location: Washington’s home ice arena

Details:

Free Parking beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Stadium gates open at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are free and can be claimed at ticketmaster.com, beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Here’s a direct link for tickets. Ticket delivery is mobile-only.

There will be socially-distant pod seating for groups of 1-6 people. Social distancing guidelines will be in effect at the arena.

 

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.