Welcome to another little series I’m going to update from time to time. We’ve all played some kind of hockey game in our lifetimes haven’t we? Whether it be the EA Sports NHL console games, or PC simulations such as Eastside Hockey Manager and Franchise Hockey Manager.
I’m going to dedicate this series to giving you the chance to follow me as I plan to live the dream as a professional hockey player using the NHL 18© game on my Xbox One console system. We will be doing this using the “Be A Pro” feature and who knows what or where it is going to take us. It’s an adventure that promises a lot of fun, so strap yourselves in for the ride.
We’ve created our player, and have started off in the CHL in the Memorial Cup stage as opposed to playing out a full season beforehand. This is usually the tournament which all the decent talents feature in before the draft itself. Perform well in this with your team and the better you can expect to be in terms in the draft position. Be a real superstar and you could be the next number one pick; following the steps of such luminaries like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Taylor Hall etc. Play rubbish and you could be a low pick or not even considered.
Anyway we settled on being a centre at Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League. Lethbridge is also the hometown of Manchester Storm but that wasn’t the deciding factor for why we chose them. It was just a random pick. Famous players who have pulled on the red, white and navy blue sweater of the Hurricanes and gone on to feature in the NHL include Stanley Cup winners Dwight King (LA Kings, 2012 and 2014), Brent Seabrook (Chicago Blackhawks, 2010 and 2013) and Kris Versteeg (Chicago Blackhawks, 2010 and 2015). Names familiar in this country who have also featured for the Hurricanes include Jason Ruff (ex-Belfast) and Brad Rubachuk (ex-Manchester). Could we go on and become the fourth player to get that prestigious ring?
We started in the Memorial Cup stage of the season with our first test being against the Erie Otters. As regards style of player, we’re also a sniper which for the uneducated is someone who is just obsessed with scoring goals and lots of them. Assisting on them is a secondary role and we’re not known for our defensive game but hey ho, that’s something we can work on eh? Anyway back to the Otters game and we came away with a 2-1 win. It was even sweeter because we also got the game winning goal. Not a bad start to our career. Next opponent please.
That next opponent would be the Windsor Spitfires. We won that one as well, and as a player contributed a couple of goals in the eventual 4-2 win. The good start continues, could we make it three on the spin though? Well that went out of the window, as we crashed 6-1 in an absolute ‘mare of a game against the St.John’s Sea Dogs! If we could have anything to smile about that result was that we got our first assist, but nothing is as good as a win is it?
So off to the knockout phase now where a loss would mean elimination, no more second chances. This was it, proper cut throat hockey. Our semi-final opponent would be the team we beat in the second group qualifier, the Spitfires. Alas though, that was where the dream ended. The Spitfires took the game 6-3 with a performance that was a fair reflection too. Our pro had a bad game as well, struggling for the form that had been so good in those first couple of games. However, we did score the Hurricanes third goal which at that time hauled it to a one goal game but then Spitfires shot us down with another two goal blast and we were deservedly beaten.
So with that, season finished and finished with a bit of a whimper too. We had been after those opening two matches, tipped to go in the top five of the first round. Now after two games which we had a bit of stinker; that was looking very doubtful indeed. Would anyone want to take a chance on us? Join us for episode two shortly as we find out if the draft was kind and if we did get our name called out.