(originally published on June 3, 2015)
Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning will face off in Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals. Around this time last year I tried to put together a hockey team of superheroes that would challenge for the Stanley Cup every year. As the playoffs rolled on this year, I thought it was time to revamp the superheroes team to add new characters as new movies have hit the big screens since last June.
This year’s team is pretty much the same as the 2014 Super Heroes Hockey Team, with a few surprise additions to add strength and much-needed anger to the line up. I feel that the latest acquisitions make the team stronger than ever before, on top of making them seem even more fearful.
I did not take any advice or suggestions this year because when I laid out the team for friends and co-workers last year, I got a lot of flack for my selections. People were not upset with who was on the team, just where they should play. The fun thing about this creative writing piece, that I hope to continue every year, is this line up was made to spark debates among all my friends and people who read my blog. I look forward to your comments or suggestions on how I should instruct Nick Fury to run the team.
Hopefully you have as much fun reading this piece as I did writing it. Enjoy.
The Superheroes Hockey Team Management 2015-16
President of Hockey Operations: Nick Fury
Nick Fury was the previous General Manager of the Superheroes hockey team. After taking a beating in Captain America: Winter Solider and spending most of the Avengers: Age of Ultron in hiding, I thought it would be best if he stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the team. He is still the leader of SHIELD and the Avengers, and because there is no one I know as powerful as him in the DC comics, he got moved up to the owners box where he will monitor the action alongside the top brass of the club.
General Manager: Maria Hill
Marie Hill joins the hockey team with an impressive resume as the second-in-command to Nick Fury at SHIELD. She brings a passionate attitude to the team, on top of having the strength to call all the shots and make tough decisions. Her beauty will make every post game news conference a media circus as the guys try to get an interview with her.
Head Coach: Professor Charles Xavier
There is no one quite like Charles Xavier in comic books and movies. He returns for his second season as the bench boss of these super heroes.
There were no complaints in the comment box from our players for being under the precious care of Catwoman. After a grueling battle, there’s no better feeling then getting some cat claws dug into your skin to relieve the pain of these epic battles.
Team Equipment Manager: Robin
They don’t call Robin “Boy Wonder” for nothing. He is always on top of his game in the dressing room, on the bench, and on the road. There is nothing the guys can’t rely on him to do to keep them in the game.
Team Skate Sharpener: Cyclops
Cyclops may be my least favourite superhero on the operations side, but he does have a unique power that benefits the skaters. His laser beam eyes sharpen the players skates with precision accuracy allowing them the best edges.
Team Psychologist: Scarlet Witch
If the players are having a bad game, haven’t scored any goals lately, or just need a mental break from the grind of the season, they stop by the doctor’s office to evaluated. Scarlet Witch can play games with anyone’s mind so she’s an incredible asset to have on our side. The superheroes don’t like to use her against opponents, since that would be cheating, but are more than happy to have her as part of the family.
Director of Press Relations: Peter Quill/Star-lord
Starlord is no stranger to controversy and is not afraid to stir things up. If the superhero team loses, he deflects all questions and concerns onto himself and the matter quickly go away. He is the perfect guy to host post game interviews when things are going great and when things are going bad. If anyone follows hockey and knows a thing or two about former head coach John Tortorella, Starlord is in a league above him in terms of charisma and personality when it comes to dealing with the media.
Team Mascot: Rocket
This was a tough decision between Rocket and Groot. The later may be easy to market on t-shirts and posters, but Rocket was chosen as the mascot because he is one tough son of gun. He’s got a cocky attitude and is a fighter. The guys didn’t really want a tree that has limited mobility to represent the team of super humans and creatures. People can relate to a furry little creature that looks cute and cuddly, that is more than happy to rip their head off.
The Superheroes Hockey Team 2015-16
Starting Goalie: Spider-Man
Spider-Man returns as this year’s starting goalie. Despite what everyone thinks about Captain America being the goalie or any other huge monster, Spider-Man already has a mask and the flexibility to make ridiculous saves look easy. He has the full support of everyone in management to lead the team to victory.
Back-Up Goalie: Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff
Natasha returns to the team and remains the only female to crack the main roster. Some might argue that Gamora (Zoe Saldana) deserves a chance, but let’s be honest here, The Black Widow is one bad ass chick no one wants to mess with. Not only would another girl need to beat out a whole bunch of guys, but she would have to come face to face with this woman for a spot on the team.
Team Superheros First Line
Like I mentioned last year, when I was constructing this Superheroes team, this first line is made up of my favourite characters and this line may never ever change. They are some of the brightest and most feared heroes in their respective universe(s) which makes them nearly unstoppable no matter who is defending them.
Defence Pairing: Hulk & Beast
No one in their right mind wants to rush down the ice and come face to face with these two monsters on defense. Whether its looks or muscles, Hulk and Beast serve as our anchors on defence. The pair manage to chip in goals every now and then, but with booming slap shots, hockey rinks across the globe need a remodel when these two hit the ice
Centre: Iron Man
Iron Man is the leader of this team on and off the ice. He built the Stark Arena where the team plays all it’s home games and backs up his flamboyant attitude by leading the team in scoring every season.
Left Wing: Captain America
Oh captain, my captain. The heart and soul of this team, Captain America is the quiet leader. His greatest asset is his strength and desire to play the game by old school rules. Captain America doesn’t need to be on every score sheet or be the star of the game, he is more than happy to take a back seat to more flashy players who love the spotlight.
Right Wing: Eric Lensherr/Young Magneto
Young Magneto is almost too good to be on this team, let alone on the first line. Why do I say this? When a player lines up against him for the opening face off every game, they have no clue whether he’s going to be a good guy or a bad guy this game. He could use his powers against his own team mates or use them to score goals and psych out the opponents when he breaks their sticks and bends goal posts.
Team Superheros Second Line
Here is where decisions were tough, players got cut, and people begin to question my ability to judge talent. If you read last year’s post, you’d know this second line under went a wide variety of changes before I settled on one characteristic every player had to have: a cape. Didn’t matter what their super power was, if they had a cape, they belonged on this line. Not having enough good guys with capes to go around, I had to put Iron Patriot on defence. Thanks to the latest Avengers blockbuster I found our new second pair defencemen.
Defence Pairing: Thor & Vision
Both of these amazing super heroes are from the same part of the cosmos so it was only fitting that they play together. Thor doesn’t need a stick when he can score goals and knock out opponents with his mighty hammer. Vision meanwhile has a skill set that has never been seen before and may never be fully understood. Like some of his team mates, his intelligence level is so superior that he thinks about the game like no one has, not even Wayne Gretzky.
Batman may be my favourite super hero of all-time but he didn’t really fit into my top line. I needed a starting line that would strike fear into any opponent in any sport in any universe. After getting demoted to the second line, Batman really shined with his caped crusaders as they provided solid offense numbers to supplement the top line.
Right Wing: Superman
This line had another switch, but this time two players just swapped which side of the ice they played on. Superman played left-wing last season and despite the fact it really didn’t matter where he played, he moved over with little to no difference in his play. Often considered one of the greatest superheroes because of his strength, Superman is one of the diamonds in the rough on this team. He hides on the second line where opponents don’t expect a whole lot out of him but have a hard containing him when he brings his “A” game.
Left Wing: Loki
Who can trust Loki? Just like his team-mate Magneto, it is extremely tough to know game in and game out which player is going to show up. Lucky for team management, there are a lot of safety nets in the rink every night to keep every one in line, but when Loki goes over the boards opponents have no clue what to expect from him or his spectre.
Team Superheros Third Line
This year’s “checking line” got a make over that got rid of some weak players and added some down right brutal strength. Last year when I made a list of players who were eligible for the team, Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron had yet to hit theatres. Luckily both those movies added a whole bunch of good guys and bad guys, which became eligible for this year’s team. Colossus was on this third defence pairing with Bane, and despite his statue like abilities, I recruited someone who has more strength and the ability to lay the smack down on opponents. Also since 80% of this line is made up of villains, Iceman got the bump for someone who just stole the show for how evil someone can be.
Defence Pairing: Bane & Drax
Bane and Drax may be the strongest defensive pairing in the universe, with the exception of Hulk and Beast. It is amazing to think that this superheroes team got a lot stronger in one season, thanks to the addition of Drax. It’s tough to classify him as a bad guy when he spends most of his movie doing good guy things, but then again he was in prison for something and that usually involves something bad. He ran the inter-galaxy prison and Bane tried to run the League of Shadows. These two know a thing or two about leadership in crazy places which makes them ideal pair on a third line that can get a little chaotic at times.
Centre: The Joker
Not only is The Joker the best villain on the third line and all of hockey, he is actually great to bring on road trips. Full of pranks and cards, he can be a riot when the team is cooped up in a hotel over night. When he is on the ice opponents need to still watch out, after leading the league in penalties, muggings, murders, and suspensions, The Joker has not learnt much from team ordered anger management classes, which should scare the heck out of opponents. If that doesn’t, his face paint with opponent’s blood should do the trick,
Right Wing: The Winter Solider
Bucky is currently stuck on the third line where he has excelled at his role of tearing up the competition’s top lines. Someday The Winter Soldier’s hard work and dedication to all things winter will reward him when he turns into a good guy and gets bumped to a different line to make room for another bad guy.
Left Wing: Ultron
Ultron had one of the most epic try-outs in the history of hockey. When he showed up, fresh off the set of Age of Ultron, he just crushed the other players trying out with his bare hands and became the first ever walk on bad guy to earn his spot. Probably one of the most evil and sadistic players ever to play the game, Ultron helps balance out the good guy to bad guy ratio but being a whole lot of evil.
Team Superheros Fourth Line
It seems kinda of funny that the first and fourth lines were the only ones on the team to go unchanged. Despite cutting three players (Iron Patriot, Colossus, and Iceman) from the two middle lines, I decided not to make any room for them on this fourth line.
Quicksilver was a late addition to last years team, racing to make the line up right before cut off. I decided to keep him on the fourth line because of how quick he will be on the face-offs, on top of his abilities to get the puck up and down the ice lightning fast. He compliments his line-mates extremely well since one is built for strength and the other has the eye of an eagle. (Just had to point that I stayed with Evan Peters as Quicksilver because unlike Aaron Taylor-Johnson, he actually survives his one and only movie appearance.)
Right Wing: Wolverine
Wolverine serves as the strength of the fourth line. He hops over the boards and just bulldozers the opponents while shredding their jerseys to add insult to injury.
Left Wing: Hawkeye
Hawkeye made the team and will stay on his team for his ability to snipe goals at ease. His eye sight is out of this world. Instead of rushing down the ice to score goals, he can manage to light the lamp from the other end of the ice. Hawkeye also has a family to support and could use the multi-million dollar contract.
Superheros/villains who didn’t make the cut
Here’s the part where you fire up the pitch forks, get the wood ready, and burn me at the stake. I did not want to put Groot on this team. No matter what you say, he can not contribute on or off the ice and only speaks one word. I was worried that if he hung around the dressing room that the players would chop him down and make wooden hockey sticks out of him. Sure he could have been our mascot, but do you really see the fans coming out to support the trees…or do you think they would rather root for the raccoons?
I mentioned before that to make room for new players, some players needed to be cut. Iron Patriot aka War Machine was the only cut that I regret and wish I could have found a way to keep him on the team. Colossus and Iceman are kinda fringe X-Men characters in the movies and would never have their own stand alone movies. I don’t mean any offense to those characters, creators, or actors, they just didn’t belong on this championship calibre team. The only reason they made the team was because I was running out of people with movie appearances and they fit the bill.
Next year’s team will probably get a make over again since Ant-Man, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool hit the big screen in the upcoming months. It looks like Canadian Ryan Reynolds may finally crack the line up. Let’s face it, has anyone seen him play hockey in Just Friends and Van Wilder? Yeah, it is almost as bad as his performance in Green Lateran. Maybe The Thing can finally get into the line up, while Captain America’s right hand man Falcon may one day jump up from the minors to the big club.
I don’t watch TV Shows so any characters that make weekly appearances on the tube will never make this team. I know The Flash has appeared in a movie or two, but his TV show won’t save his hockey career. Just like last year V didn’t make the anti-hero line while Dr. Manhattan and his Watchman friends just couldn’t break into group. Gamora was the only character from Guardians of Galaxy not to make the cut this year.
In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to read, laugh, and get mad at my superheros hockey team. I look forward to many comments and replies as to how you may have structured your own team based on my characters or your own. Just remember the one simple rule I used, in order to be eligible for the team they must have appeared in a major motion picture.