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09-25-2012, 05:16 PM
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Help bigduga pick a CHL team:

If you would be so interested, Please help a wayward hockey fan (or fans, really) out. I need some CHL experts, and I figure this is as good a place as any to ask.

With the NHL season once again teetering on the brink of collapse, and the CHL leagues now offering video packages, a group of guys I usually watch Blues games with (we’re all – nominally - from St. Louis.) have decided to split the (sorta ridiculous) cost of the online video package, and adopt a CHL team for at least the season, and hopefully longer – to slake our thirst for hockey games to watch. We’re hockey guys, we love the sport, most of us play (badly) weekly, and we want to love your CHL team.

The difficulty here, is that apart from late-season look-ins to follow draft-eligible prospects, and casually following the teams associated with the randomly cast crop of baby-blues…none of us have any real sense of which team we should pick. It’s just not easy to come by coverage here. What say you, CHL fans? Can the afflicted loons on this message board community at least help us narrow this down a little?

Some things to (hopefully) help make an argument for your team:

The Baby Blues: There’s no team stocked with enough Blues talent right now to merit outright favor. One is mostly as good as the next, and there’s no super-prospect among our current CHL prospects that we feel like we *must* watch. Rattie is close, but Portland has other things working against it. That much being said, Having a Blues property on the current roster certainly won’t hurt.

Sleeping with the Enemy: Conversely to the previous item, we don’t want to find ourselves following a team with multiple prospects set to become Red wings (ick), Blackhawks (gross), or Predators (ick, gross, and worse) As we’re fully planning on making this “our” CHL team and – while we appreciate that these factors are fluid, we’re not about to spend time developing a massive fan-crush on some Austin Watson/Brandon Saad type only to have to break up with him later. The star attraction of any serious contender for our fan-hood can’t realistically be a fledgling Red Wing, Blackhawk or Predator. It won’t work.

Time should (preferably) be on our side: We’d like to be able to watch most of the games in real time, because – especially if we take to the team like we hope to – we’re going to be incapable of stopping ourselves from checking out the score ahead of time. 7:00 Games in the Pacific time Zone start at 9:00 local. That crummy practicality may realistically eliminate all the teams in the Dub. As it is, we’re not wholly opposed to forgoing this time-zone bit because:

Puncher’s Chance: We’d like our team a little on the salty side. Not “Vityaz Chekhov” salty, mind you…but nastiness will sway some support. Think Brian Sutter. We will take to a guy – or group of guys - that relish the chance to finish their checks. And while an enforcer certainly isn’t a must, a legitimate, fear-worthy pugilist doesn’t hurt anything. I’m of the impression that – if we could just watch the majority of the games in the right time zone – this would be a huge bargaining point for like, half the teams in WHL. That being said, no sissy “finesse teams,” please.

Bad is Bad: We’re suffering enough, having potentially lost all or most of our NHL Season. Please don’t attempt to sell me on the OHL equivalent of the Blue Jackets. That’s just mean. I don’t need (or necessarily want) the League Favorite, but any truly *sh!tty* team will just sour the whole experience for everyone.

Language Barriers: We’re all Midwestern English speakers. Having to learn French (I’m looking at you skeptically, Q.) is a lot of work. If you’re going to convince me to become bilingual, you better be bringing me “l'équipe parfait” with the rest of the argument.

A Truly Great Barn: This I know absolutely nothing about, and I really want to know better. Who has the best live atmospheres in the Canadian Juniors? I’m realistically hoping to adopt this team for the long haul, and – while I’m not sure I’ll feel worthy of a road trip this first season, having recently jumped the bandwagon – the prospect of a future road trip and an awesome trip to see the team play on rowdy home ice in a distinctive building is always a plus.

That’s about it.

If you’re inclined to lobby for your team, please *please* do so. I really don’t want to pick a team for some lame reason like “because their jersey looks cool,” and exhaustive research into all 60 CHL teams is – frankly, exhausting. I’ve been reading up previews and news for a few weeks now, and I’ve even taken some notes, but at the end of the day, I’ll never come to love a team by studying alone, and I’m hoping maybe someone here can either make an awesome, impassioned case to recruit a new fan to their side or at the very least I can get enough of a response to whittle my list down to a few solid finalists or whittle away some bad choices.

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