Who's Taking The Title? The Teams Of The 2020 World Hockey Challenge
If you missed the first game of the World Hockey Challenge season, what's wrong with you, correct that error immediately. Seriously go, we can wait. Okay, now that you are back, We have a very special guest writer on Journeyman today to give us a look at each of the teams competing in the WHC this season, and some back story to boot. So read the list, pick a favorite, and for the love of God, don't let it be Louisville. Take it away, Bob!
Hi folks, Bob Weaver here! You may know my work calling the action for the Sea Monkey Olympics or the International Mud Wrestling Federation, but hockey has always been my first love. The World Hockey Challenge was the dream of my color analyst Tugger McGinty, who wanted to watch the world's best teams go head to head, no matter the locale. I think he also wanted to travel the world without having to pay for it. But intentions aside, the first season of the WHC looks to be one for the ages. Let's meet the teams. I've even included some graphics. I made them myself on my trusty Dell Inspiron I bought back in 2000! They're state of the art.
Albuquerque El Pollo Loco: Hockey in the desert. Why not, it worked so well before! As enchanting as their homeland and sporting bright uniforms, the players of El Pollo Loco are looking looking for respect. Albuquerque wants to show the world that when they take the ice, they aren’t in danger. They are the danger. These crazy chickens are ready to fly the coop and show the league what they are made of.
Anchorage Anchors: At the northern tip of America, hockey is no mystery. The Anchors have ruled The Last Frontier for years. The Anchors’ fans travel well, and if you ask nicely might share their fresh king crab caught along the way. Be careful though, they might ask for market value.
Boston Coven: The only team owned by women in the league, the Coven are best known for making solid, levelheaded decisions that are nearly always lambasted by the team’s mostly male fanbase. Their busted broom logo is both an homage to the Salem witches and a knowing jab at their playoff woes. They have never won a game in the postseason, being swept in all appearances.
Bejing People's Republic Hockey Club: The most populous nation on earth has gone all-in on hockey. The PRHC for short is government-owned & operated as The State knows what is best of everyone. I can say this, as it won’t make it through the “Great Firewall” anyway, but the PRCH hasn’t exactly looked like tanks plowing through the plaza, so to speak. The PRCH will be looking for a stronger showing this season or else their roster might be looking at “reeducation” in the offseason.
Brooklyn Americans: Once upon a time in America, Brooklyn had a pro hockey team. Of all people, Charles Barkley thought they should again. Barkley bought the borough's Barclays Center (renaming it for himself) and filled it with a brand new hockey team. Not much is known about the expansion Americans, but if they are like actual Americans, the team should come storming into the league with way more confidence than they have earned.
Buffalo Wings: Perhaps the best name in the league, this scrappy crew certainly brings the spice to upstate New York. The wings haven’t flown very high as of late, but anything is possible with the right amount of bleu cheese and celery.
Chicago Dogs: Hold the ketchup, folks, the Chicago Dogs have no patience for that drivel. As the Windy City’s premiere hockey team, the Dogs come to the WHC with chips on their shoulders. Pickle wedges on their shoulders to be more exact. Chicago has high hopes for their team and would love to hold the largest cookout ever to celebrate a title.
District 5 Ducks: You read that name and started quacking, didn’t you? District 5 has come a long way since we first met them nearly 20 years ago. They remain a warm beacon to the community during brutal Minnesota winters. It’s been a while since they have reached the mountain top however and they are more than ready for anothe sequel.
Fort Wayne Komets: Variations of the Fort Wayne Komets have drifted through the cold vacuum of the minor leagues, much like their namesake. This iteration hopes to become a permanent fixture among the stars. The only thing holding them back is being from Indiana.
Hamburg Burgermeisters: Formed during the Cold War as an attempt to create some diplomatic thawing of relations between two German states, the Burgermeisters earned their title through a shared love of stop-motion Christmas animation. Nobody realized the pun until it was too late.
Hartford Whalers: Strike up the Brass Bonanza (or a copyright-adjacent version of it anyway) because the Whalers are back! Sporting their iconic crest and the kind of green only a mother could love, the Whalers look to thank the throngs in Hartford who never gave up on them.
Hawaii Makoas: Originating in the language of the Hawaiian Islands, a makoa is a “bold man” capable of immense bravery and leadership. You have to be Makoas to attempt to turn Hawaii into a hockey hotbed, but this team fears no one and is a dark horse in the title hunt.
Helsinki Seals: The Seals uniforms might not fit with their hometown’s Russian Imperialist architecture, but they are just as swift and speedy as their namesake. Routinely finding themselves at the top of the European tables, Helsinki is ready to step out of the never-ending darkness of winter and shine on the world stage.
Iceland Vikings: Wolf Stansson. Gunnar Stahl. These names hold an almost religious reverence in Iceland. The Vikings teams of the 80s and 90s were some of the most feared in hockey history. Nowadays, they play second fiddle to the national soccer team. A SOCCER TEAM? Iceland barely has any grass! A new generation of players hopes to continue the team’s epic saga toward greatness. But first thing first, they still find themselves in fowl standing with a rival. A game of Duck Hunt, anyone?
Jersey City Turnpikes: Is it worth being stranded on congested highways for hours to see the pride of New Jersey play in the corpse of a bankrupted casino? Professionally I have no answer to that question. In the meantime, the Turnpikes will have to answer an age-old question in order to improve. How do you get people to want to live in New Jersey?
London Lions: Recently sold in the asset liquidation of Harry and Meghan’s departure, the London Lions find themselves entering their first season not bankrolled by the Windsor family. The side will be undeterred, however, looking to add new riches to their coffers. London is one of the hardest places to play as the Lions are able to unite the fractured football hooligans from across the city to create an atmosphere unlike any other.
Louisville Luigis: The team from Louisville is the most controversial in the league. Founded in 1920, The Dynder family has owned the team since the late ’80s and has shot down multiple attempts to force changes to both name and logo.
“It’s tradition,” said current owner Sand Dynder. “This team honors the heritage of the hardworking immigrants who gave us so much. Without them, the best scene from Lady & The Tramp wouldn’t exist.”
The controversy won’t go away anytime soon, but with a young core of stars, their 89-year title drought might soon be at an end. Thank goodness there aren’t any other teams in sports with such controversial symbols.
Miami Tropics: An abundance of neon, overvalued assets, and cocaine. This team embodies their hometown perfectly. The Tropics play with an energy reminiscent of a Michael Bay production. They are fast, loud, and yet seem to be looking up from the bottom year after year. The Tropics hope to make their stamp on history by bringing a title to Miami before their beachfront arena becomes an aquarium.
Milwaukee Dairy Kings: America is supposed to be a land void of royalty. Herman Kruegerson IV would beg to differ. The sixth-generation dairy magnate rules Wisconsin’s dairy industry with impunity. His hockey club does the same. If you come for the Kings, you best not miss. They haven’t been at home drinking 2%. Only the whole milk for these boys.
Moscow Golden Eagles: The Moscow Golden Eagles’ roster has some of the best talent Russia has to offer and they play a hard-nosed game, grinding their opponents into dust. Their game is siege warfare, and as we all know, the Motherland is excellent at it. Good luck on their turf. We all know what happens when you invade Moscow during winter.
North Pole Mr. Narwhals: Mr. Narwhal, owner of the North Pole’s greatest athletic club wants you to know one thing: This team’s chances at a championship are as real as Santa Claus. One of the top teams in the league, the Mr. Narwhals will warmly invite you into their pond, kick the crap out of you, and send you back home crying. Bye, Buddy. I hope you find your dad still loves you after that ass-kicking.
Orlando Orbiteers: Orlando is still waiting for takeoff, so to speak. Years of cuts to the public space agency in the area and tax breaks to the “Rodent of Unusual Size” have put the teams’ owners in a pinch. They hoped to add a bit of rocket fuel to their roster. We'll see if it gets them on the correct launch trajectory.
Oakland Punks: You can go f@ck yourselves, as far as the punks are concerned. They don’t care about your traditions, you braindead zombies. They are here for one thing and one thing only: to cause chaos. They play fast, they play hard and they hope that you see their bubblegum-pink arena in your nightmares. Go to hell, you teat sucklers of Reganomics!
Quebec City Bull Dogs: Quebec is the home of hockey. You’ve probably heard that fact if you’ve ever met someone from the French-speaking province. They say it a lot. This team is all about honoring their home, playing some puck, and annoying English speakers. Why else would they have broken bulldogs into two sperate words?
Rome Gladiators: The Colosseum was so 2,000 years ago. Renovated and given a brand-new sheet of ice, it now is home to the city’s modern Gladiators. Historic landmarks be damned, the ancient city is looking for a champion. Tickets are in such demand for games that sometimes you will find a certain pontiff haggling with ticket scalpers himself.
St. Catherines Scotties: Travel an hour northwest from Glasgow, past Loch Long and you’ll find the village of St. Catherines. Within the confines of William Wallace Memorial Coliseum, play the Scotties. Draped in the colors of their nation and sporting the national animal on their chest, these lads will go toe to toe with anyone, but especially love it when their rivals from London come to town.
Steel City Rust Belters: It has been a rough couple of decades for Steel City. Jobs started to bleed away a long time ago in the rust belt and ever since the General Motors plant shut down, the town's been on the verge of collapse. The only thing keeping the community together are the boys that have set up shop in that old car plant, the Steel City Rust Belters.
Tokyo Tigers: Not since Tyson-Douglas has the Tokyo Dome played host to such heavy hitters. The Tokyo Tigers, clad in their dynamic black and white threads, are among the best all-around teams in the world. They will be looking to take a Kaiju-sized bite out of the WHC and bring some hardware back to Japan.
Toronto Torros: Although they share a name with an old WHL team, the modern Torros resemble another bovine-themed franchise more than their predecessors. The team is seeing red after being knocked out of the first round of the playoffs for a record seventh-straight time. Can they bring Canada’s largest city the hockey title they so desperately crave?
Utah Grizzly: There is nothing quite like seeing a game in Utah. Seeing 20,000 sober people angrily hurling almost-swear words at the ice should be on everyone’s bucket list. Maybe secure a flask before your flight, just in case they reach overtime. Are they contenders? No. Do they have fun on the ice? Also no. A better representative of Utah, you couldn’t find.
Zurich Neutralizers: The brass of this team in the Swiss capital have crunched the numbers and have decided that, for them, average is best. The Neutralizers play a team game, with no player standing above their teammates. To drive this point home, they dress in uniforms that bring to mind George Orwell’s 1984. It appears that Nazi gold did not, in fact, make for a good investment, as far as the hockey team is concerned.
There you have it, folks. Hopefully, if you don't have a hometown team, this will help you pick an allegiance. This season is going to be unlike any other. Tugger and I are excited to bring you the action from around the world, thanks to Journeyman Sports.