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The community-based NHL

 

What if the National Hockey League was organized with players playing for their home state/province/country? Who would prevail?

 

By Kevin Kurtt
Let’s Play Hockey Editor

Let’s say, just for the heck of it, that NHL teams are organized with players playing for their home American state, Canadian province or European country instead of for a professional franchise. And let’s say, just for fun, that teams in the NHL consist of a total of six players – a starting lineup of three forwards, two defensemen and one goalie.

Who would prevail in this scaled-down, community-based NHL?

Minnesotans are a provincial bunch, happy to celebrate when ‘one of us’ succeeds on the local, national or international stage. In the new-look NHL, that provincialism would be commonplace as states, provinces and countries would laud their homegrown talent playing for their local club.

It would be like high school all over again. Instead of cheering for a team with players that have little to no connection to the area, fans would ‘root, root, root for the home team,’ supporting their native sons in their quest for geographical supremacy and birthplace bragging rights.

In an effort to determine what the community-based NHL would look like, I declared myself Supreme General Manager and created 45 teams, made up primarily of current NHL players (with a few minor league goalies to fill some states’ lack of NHL netminders). Every state/province/country with enough NHL players to field a starting lineup was awarded a franchise, with several areas getting 2-3 teams based on the number of elite players available.

Those 45 teams were divided into three divisions – American, Canadian and European. An effort was made to give each team a nickname of a defunct professional hockey team when appropriate. With only a few exceptions, players’ birthplaces were used to determine what area they should represent (e.g. Alexander Steen was named to a Swedish team despite being born in Manitoba).

Clearly, several states, provinces and countries were left out of the community-based NHL ... all the more reason for those areas to develop more NHL-caliber players to be awarded a franchise.



American Division
17 teams from 12 states
California Seals
Connecticut Whalers
Illinois Shamrocks
Massachusetts Maroons
Massachusetts Monarchs
Michigan Stags
Michigan Greyhounds
Minnesota North Stars
Minnesota Fighting Saints
Minnesota Moose
Missouri Scouts
New Jersey Knights
New York Americans
New York Golden Blades
Ohio Barons
Pennsylvania Quakers
Wisconsin Clarks

Canadian Division
17 teams from 8 provinces
Alberta Aristocats
Alberta Aeros
British Columbia Cougars
British Columbia Blazers
British Columbia Bulldogs
Manitoba Moccasins
Nova Scotia Voyageurs
Ontario Blueshirts
Ontario St. Patricks
Ontario Toros
Prince Edward Island Pirates
Quebec Nordiques
Quebec Citadelles
Quebec Rafales
Saskatchewan Sheiks
Saskatchewan Crescents
Saskatchewan Roughriders

European Division
11 teams from 7 countries
Czech Republic Lions
Czech Republic Locomotive
Denmark Dynamite
Finland Eagles
Finland Owls
Russia Bears
Russia Snow Leopards
Slovakia Wolves
Sweden Crowns
Swden Sun Cats
Switzerland St. Bernards
 

One look at the rosters below and it’s clear – parity would be a hallmark of the community-based NHL. Sure, places like Minnesota, Ontario and Russia have a high number of top-shelf players, but when your team is made up of just six players, the playing field is leveled.

Now, Nova Scotia, with a total of 10 NHL players in 2013-14, can compete with the likes of Sweden (78 NHL players), thanks to the homegrown talents of Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand. Likewise, with the scoring abilities of Phil Kessel and Joe Pavelski, Wisconsin (13 NHL players) may be able to stand toe-to-toe with a team from British Columbia (57 NHL players).

And what about Minnesota? The State of Hockey had 42 players make the NHL last season, highlighted by Olympians Zach Parise, David Backes, Blake Wheeler, Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, Justin Faulk and Paul Martin, so success would be expected by the home state faithful. But could Switzerland (11 NHL players), with goalie Jonas Hiller, blueliners Mark Streit and Roman Josi, and top-scoring forward Nino Niederreiter, upend one of the teams from the North Star State?

In the community-based NHL, anything is possible ... except a team from Alabama, the Yukon or Portugal.

 

The rosters of the community-based NHL

AMERICAN DIVISION California Seals Connecticut Whalers Illinois Shamrocks Massachusetts Maroons
G Adam Brown (ECHL) Jonathan Quick Craig Anderson Cory Schneider
D Brooks Orpik Kevin Shattenkirk John Moore Keith Yandle
D Kevan Miller Ron Hainsey Joe Corvo Brian Strait
F Matthew Nieto Max Pacioretty Tommy Wingels Jimmy Hayes
F Emerson Etem Nick Bonino Jayson Megna Chris Kreider
F Beau Bennett Cam Atkinson Mike Brown Charlie Coyle
         
  Massachusetts Monarchs Michigan Stags Michigan Greyhounds Minnesota North Stars
G Rick DiPietro Ryan Miller Tim Thomas Alex Stalock
D David Warsofsky James Wisniewski Cam Fowler Ryan McDonagh
D Mike Mottau Torey Krug Andy Greene Dustin Byfuglien
F Brian Gibbons David Legwand Justin Abdelkader Zach Parise
F Brian Boyle Ryan Kesler Erik Condra David Backes
F John McCarthy Nathan Gerbe David Moss Blake Wheeler
         
  Minnesota Fighting Saints Minnesota Moose Missouri Scouts New Jersey Knights
G John Curry Eric Hartzell (AHL) Mike McKenna Alex Westlund (ECHL)
D Matt Niskanen Justin Faulk Chris Butler John Carlson
D Alex Goligoski Paul Martin Scott Mayfield T.J. Brennan
F Matt Cullen Nick Bjugstad Patrick Maroon James van Riemsdyk
F Derek Stepan Brock Nelson Brandon Bollig Bobby Ryan
F Kyle Okposo Ryan Carter Joe Vitale Drew Miller
         
  New York Americans New York Golden Blades Ohio Barons Pennsylvania Quakers
G Jimmy Howard Connor Knapp Cody Reichard (AHL/ECHL) John Gibson
D Zach Bogosian Brian Lashoff Peter Harrold Matt Bartkowski
D Francis Bouillon Rob Scuderi Connor Murphy Nate Guenin
F Patrick Kane Chris Higgins J.T. Miller Brandon Saad
F Brian Gionta Ryan Callahan Mike Rupp R.J. Umberger
F Nick Foligno Dustin Brown John Albert Ryan Malone
         
  Wisconsin Clarks      
G Troy Grosenick (AHL)      
D Ryan Suter      
D Jake McCabe      
F Joe Pavelski      
F Phil Kessel      
F Craig Smith      

 

CANADIAN DIVISION Alberta Aristocrats Alberta Aeros British Columbia Cougars British Columbia Blazers
G Ben Scrivens Chad Johnson Carey Price Martin Jones
D Mike Green Dion Phaneuf Shea Weber Tyson Barrie
D Jay Bouwmeester Kris Russell Brent Seabrook Justin Schultz
F Taylor Hall Clarke MacArthur Jamie Benn Kyle Turris
F Bryan Little Shane Doan Ryan Johansen Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
F Jerome Iginla Mason Raymond Milan Lucic Andrew Ladd
         
  British Columbia Bulldogs Manitoba Moccasins Nova Scotia Voyageurs Ontario Blueshirts
G Nathan Lieuwen James Reimer Joey MacDonald Mike Smith
D Jason Garrison Duncan Keith Andrew MacDonald PK Subban
D Cody Franson Michael Stone Alex Grant Alex Pietrangelo
F Troy Brouwer Patrick Sharp Sidney Crosby Claude Giroux
F Evander Kane Jonathan Toews Nathan MacKinnon Tyler Seguin
F Michael Santorelli Travis Zajac Brad Marchand Corey Perry
         
  Ontario St. Patricks Ontario Toros Prince Edward Island Pirates Quebec Nordiques
G Steve Mason Brian Elliott Drew MacIntyre Corey Crawford
D Brent Burns Drew Doughty Adam McQuaid Jason Demers
D Mark Giordano Dan Boyle Brandon Gormley Marc-Edouard Vlasic
F Joe Thornton Steven Stamkos Brad Richards Martin St. Louis
F Matt Duchene Jason Spezza Steve Ott Patrice Bergeron
F John Tavares Ryan O’Reilly Brett Gallant Jason Pominville
         
  Quebec Citadelles Quebec Rafales Saskatchewan Sheiks Saskatchewan Crescents
G Marc-Andre Fleury Roberto Luongo Braden Holtby Devan Dubnyk
D Kris Letang Marco Scandella Ryan Murray Luke Schenn
D Francois Beauchemin David Savard Jared Cowen Eric Gryba
F Paul Stastny Mike Ribeiro Ryan Getzlaf Jordan Eberle
F David Perron Antoine Vermette Patrick Marleau Jaden Schwartz
F David Desharnais Derick Brassard Chris Kunitz Scott Hartnell
         
  Saskatchewan Roughriders      
G Cam Ward      
D Sheldon Brookbank      
D Nick Schultz      
F Tyler Bozak      
F Brayden Schenn      
F Dwight King      

 

EUROPEAN DIVISION Czech Republic Lions Czech Republic Locomotive Denmark Dynamite Finland Eagles
G Ondrej Pavelec Marek Mazanec Frederik Andersen Tuukka Rask
D Marek Zidlicky Jakub Kindl Philip Larsen Kimmo Timonen
D Radko Gudas Jan Hejda Oliver Lauridsen (AHL) Olli Maatta
F David Krejci Ondrej Palat Frans Nielsen Valtteri Filppula
F Jaromir Jagr Jiri Hudler Mikkel Boedker Jussi Jokinen
F Jakub Voracek Patrik Elias Lars Eller Mikko Koivu
         
  Finland Owls Russia Bears Russia Snow Leopards Slovakia Wolves
G Kari Lehtonen Simeon Varlamov Sergei Bobrovsky Jaroslav Halak
D Sami Vatanen Andrei Markov Fedor Tyutin Andrej Sekera
D Sami Salo Vyacheslav Voynov Sergei Gonchar Zdeno Chara
F Olli Jokinen Alex Ovechkin Alexander Semin Marian Hossa
F Mikael Granlund Evgeni Malkin Artem Anisimov Tomas Tatar
F Sean Bergenheim Vladimir Tarasenko Pavel Datsyuk Marian Gaborik
         
  Sweden Crowns Sweden Sun Cats Switzerland St. Bernards  
G Henrik Lundqvist Eddie Lack Jonas Hiller  
D Erik Karlsson Niklas Kronwall Mark Streit  
D Victor Hedman Oliver Ekman-Larsson Roman Josi  
F Nicklas Backstrom Patric Hornqvist Nino Niederreiter  
F Gabriel Landeskog Henrik Sedin Damien Brunner  
F Alexander Steen Daniel Alfredsson Sven Bartschi  

 

American Division & Canadian Division

 

 

European Division