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Volkian Hockey League

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Volkian Hockey League
Volkian Hockey League logo.png
SportIce hockey
FoundedMarch 21, 1955 (67 years ago) (1955-03-21), Volkgoroda, Volkia
Inaugural season1956-57
CommissionerMakar Uspensky
No. of teams24
Countries Volkia
South Hills
Most recent
champion(s)
Zarinsk Wolverines
(3rd title)
Most titlesVolkgoroda Statesmen
(15 titles)
TV partner(s)VTK Sports, NT, SRS, TCB
Official websitewww.vhl.vol

The Volkian Hockey League (VHL) (Volkian: Волкскийская хоккейная лига (ВХЛ), Volkskiyskaya hokkeynaya liga) is the top professional ice hockey league in Volkia. It comprises of 24 member clubs who compete annually for the Polivanov Cup, which is awarded to the league's playoff champion at the end of each season. The VHL is considered to be the premier professional lupine ice hockey league in the world, and is one of the major professional sports leagues in Volkia.

The Volkian Hockey League was founded in 1955 after the suspension of operations of its predecessor, the Volkian Hockey Association (VHA). The VHL began play in the 1956-57 season with teams originally from the VHA. The Polivanov Cup was brought over by the VHA's former teams, and is still competed for by the VHL today. The highest ranked Volkian team receives the title Champion of Volkia at the end of the season.

The VHL began play with eight teams from the VHA, and expanded to a total of 10 in 1965. Four additional teams were added at the 1976 VHL Expansion for a total 14 teams. By 2006 the VHL had expanded to 18 teams, becoming larger than its predecessor was by one team. In 2013, the first non-Volkian team from the neighboring nation of Tano entered the league. After seeing success with the addition of a foreign team, three additional Tanoese teams joined the VHL in 2015. An additional Volkian team was also added at this time, bringing the total number of teams to 23. In 2017 South Hills replaced Tano in the league after the ascension of Tano into the UCCS following the 2014 Dverian War. The VHL added its 24th team in 2018 and is currently in talks with multiple cities for possible expansion.

The VHL draws many skilled lupine players from around the world, though Volkians have historically made up the majority of players in the league.

History

Organizational structure

Board of Governors

The Board of Governors is the ruling and governing body of the Volkian Hockey League. As each team is a member of the league, they will appoint a Governor (typically the club owner) and two alternates to the Board. The Board's current chairman is Birsk HC's owner Valerii Chernoff. The Board of Governors exists to establish the league policies and uphold the league constitution. Some responsibilities include:

  • review and approve any changes to league rules.
  • hiring and firing of the League Commissioner.
  • review and approve any purchase, sale, or relocation of any member club.
  • review and approve salary caps for member clubs.
  • review and approve any changes to the structure of the game schedule.

The Board of Governors meets semiannually in March and September, with the exact date and place set by the League Commissioner.

League Executives

The chief executive of the league is League Commissioner Makar Uspensky. Some of the principal decision-makers who serve under the commissioner's authority include:

  • Deputy League Commissioner: Leonid Kravchuk
  • Chief Legal Officer: Vlad Ponomaryov
  • Executive Vice President & CFO: Yemelyan Loginovsky
  • Chief Operating Officer: Ilya Nikiforov
  • Executive Vice President & Hockey Operations Director: Mitrofan Bychkov
  • Director of Player Safety: Nikita Sharapov

Season structure

The league has been divided into the Northern Conference and the Southern Conference since 1976. In the current season, both conferences are divided into two divisions which contain six teams each. Each team plays four games against each division opponent (20), three games against each non-division conference opponent (18), and two games against each non-conference opponent (24) for a total of 62 games.

The league's regular season standings are based on a point system. Two points are awarded for a win, one point for losing in overtime or a shootout, and zero points for a loss in regulation. At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points in each division is crowned the division champion, and the league's overall leader is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy.

Eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs: the top three teams in each division plus the two conference teams with the next highest number of points (wild cards). The playoffs are organized as an elimination tournament where two teams play each other in a best-of-seven series in order to move on to the next round. Within each conference there are quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. The winners of the conference finals proceed to play each other for the Polivanov Cup.

In all rounds, the higher-ranked team is awarded home-ice advantage, with four of the seven games played at this team's home venue. In the Polivanov Cup Final, the team with the most points during the regular season has home-ice advantage.

Teams

The VHL has consisted of 24 teams since the 2018-2019 season. The league is divided into two conferences containing twelve teams each: the Northern Conference and the Southern Conference. Each conference is further split into two divisions of six teams each. The conferences first came about after the 1976 VHL Expansion.

The most recent expansion of the VHL occurred in 2018 with the addition of the Ozyoretsk Knights in Zuyevka, Ozyoretsk Oblast. As of May 2021, the league is reportedly in talks with multiple cities in Volkia for potential expansion teams.

Division Team City Arena Capacity Founded Joined Head Coach Captain
Northern Conference
Boreal Deyevsk Lumberjacks Deyevsk Gorma Center 17,472 2006 Vanya Kolesov Filipp Isayev
Tulunsky HC Tulunsky VorkutaGas Arena 18,915 1923 1955 Georgy Dementyev Anton Sychyov
Yadrin Penguins Yadrin Rekelta Arena 18,526 1916 1955 Stas Tsvetkov Rostislav Balabanov
Repyovka Ice Wolves Repyovka Bank of Volkia Arena 20,149 1965 Oleg Kutuzov Venedikt Korotkov
Kovdor Falcons Kovdor VolkiaWest Bank Arena 19,174 1976 Pavel Zarubin Kuzma Kuzmetsov
Grenitsagorov Icemen Grenitsagorov Grand Northern Hockey Center 23,806 2015 Yuri Orevolikov Kantov Feravov
Metro Volkgoroda Statesmen Volkgoroda VSB Arena 21,872 1915 1955 Yaromir Samoylov Patya Bogdanov
Uzlovaya Monarchs Askiz King's Coliseum 17,186 1992 Markus Soosaar Gennady Ibragimov
Kalinibinsk Atoms Georgiyevsk Alexander Lapidus Arena 18,120 1976* Sergei Zaporozhets Orev Sleniki
HC Kodinsk Kodinsk Petroyva Center 18,920 1919 1955 Valentin Kryukov Fedir Lavrov
Ozyoretsk Knights Zuyevka Besprov Center 17,508 2018 Alexei Bobrov Sasha Bezrukov
Yugrepyovka Ice Warriors Yugrepyovka Sultana Alice Jbenamin Center 19,806 2013 Jakob Valentinorov Johan Darensen
Southern Conference
Central Kursavka Golden Eagles Kursavka Yekartovsk Airlines Arena 21,504 1927 1955 Albert Vinogradov Pavel Ozerov
Zarinsk Wolverines Zarinsk TIK Arena 17,879 1976* Petya Tereschchenko Maksim Ulyanov
HC Svetlogorsk Svetlogorsk Svetlogorsk Ice Arena 18,375 1943 1955 Anton Kapitsa Evgeny Chkalov
Kyaktha HC Kyakhta Velox Motors Center 20,941 1965 Yuliy Zaytsev Gennady Engalychev
Birsk HC Birsk Mishin Motors Arena 17,059 1976* Erik Nielisov Timur Aksyonov
Polonov Pitmen Polonov Tuyav Stadium 20,422 2015 Vlad Previkov Olaf Nilsen
Coastal Vladinsk Sharks Izumrud Volktel Center 19,025 1925 1955 Vadim Nikiforov Vasiliy Tsereteli
Osinsky Stingers Petrovskoye Air Volkia Center 17,562 1919 1955 Zahkar Lavrov Kir Gagarin
Beryozovka Panthers Beryozovka Osokin Financial Arena 17,365 2000 Igor Kalashnik Leonid Yevdokimov
Likhoslavl Thunder Likhoslavl Big Slice Center 21,302 2015 Yuri Zhdanov Leonid Seleznyov
Makushin Cyclones Sigayevo Zhazh Center 19,104 1995 Ipatiy Balandin Aleks Yakubovich
Ozerokov Oracles Ozerokov Standard Tano Oil Arena 17,039 2015 Alloni Polinski Richard Yenskov
Notes
  1. An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.

Game

Diagram of a VHL hockey rink: 1. Penalty boxes 2. Team benches 3. Scorekeepers' area

Every Volkian Hockey League regulation game is 60 minutes long. The game is broken up into three 20-minute periods with an intermission between each period. At the end of regulation time the team with the most goals wins the game. If a game is tied after regulation time, overtime ensues. During the regular season, overtime is a five-minute, three-on-three sudden death period in which whoever scores first wins the game.

If no winner has been determined after overtime, the game enters a shootout. Three players from each team take turns taking a penalty shot. The team with the most goals during the three-round shootout wins the game. If the game is still tied after the three rounds, the shootout continues but becomes sudden death. Whichever team wins the shootout is awarded a goal in the game score and thus receives two points in the standings. The losing team in either overtime or a shootout receives one point.

Shootouts do not occur during the playoffs. Instead, multiple sudden death, 20 minute five-on-five periods are played until one team scores. There have been three games to reach five overtime periods, but none have gone past five. During playoff overtime periods, the only break is to clean the loose ice at the first stoppage after the period is halfway finished.

Hockey rink

Games are played on a rectangular with rounded corners surrounded by boards and plexiglass. It measures 200 feet (60.96 m) by 90 feet (27.43 m). The center line divides the rink in half and is used to judge icing violations. There are two blue lines that divide the rink roughly into thirds, creating one neutral zone and two attacking zones. Near the end of both ends of the rink, there is a thin red goal line spanning the width of the ice, which is used to judge goals and icing calls.

There is a trapezoidal area behind each goal net. The goaltender can play the puck only within the trapezoid or in front of the goal line; if the goaltender plays the puck behind the goal line and outside the trapezoidal area, a two-minute minor penalty for delay of game is assessed.

Rules

The Volkian Hockey League's rules are one of the standard sets of professional ice hockey rules in the world. The league's rules come from the first organized indoor hockey game in Volkgoroda in 1873, updated by subsequent leagues up to 1955 when the VHL adopted the existing VHA set of rules. The VHL's rules are the basis for rules governing most professional and major junior ice hockey leagues in Volkia. Infractions of the rules, for example offsides and icing, lead to a stoppage of play and subsequent face-offs, while more serious infractions leading to penalties to the offending teams. The league also determines the specifications for playing equipment used in its games.

The league regularly modifies its rules to counter perceived imperfections in the game. The penalty shot was adopted from the Southern Hockey League to ensure players would not be blocked from scoring opportunities.

Fighting in the VHL results in major penalties being assessed against the players. A penalized team usually cannot replace a player that has been penalized on the ice and is short-handed for the duration of the penalty. However if the penalties are coincidental, for example when two players fight, both teams remain at full strength. Minor penalties end after either two minutes or if the team on the power play scores a goal. In contrast major penalties must be served to their full completion, regardless of number of goals scored during the power play.

Trophies and awards

Teams

VHL championships
Defunct teams not included.
Team Titles
Volkgoroda Statesmen 15
Yadrin Penguins 8
Kursavka Golden Eagles 5
Vladinsk Sharks 4
HC Svetlogorsk 4
Kalinibinsk Atoms 4
Makushin Cyclones 4
HC Kodinsk 3
Tulunsky HC 3
Repyovka Ice Wolves 3
Zarinsk Wolverines 3
Osinsky Stingers 2
Birsk HC 2
Kovdor Falcons 1
Kyakhta HC 1
Uzlovaya Monarchs 1
Deyevsk Lumberjacks 1
Beryozovka Panthers 1
VHA championships are not included.

The most prestigious team award is the Polivanov Cup, which is awarded to the league champion following the end of the Polivanov Cup playoffs. The team that has the most points in the regular season is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. With the addition of foreign teams, the title Champion of Volkia was created in 2015 and is awarded to the highest placing Volkian team.

The Volkgoroda Statesmen are the most successful franchise in the league. Since the league's first started play in 1956, they have won the Polivanov Cup 15 times and previously won it eight times as a member of the Volkian Hockey Association. The Volkgoroda Statesmen have the highest number of championships of any major professional sports league in Volkia.

The longest streak of winning the Polivanov Cup is four, held by the Volkgoroda Statesmen from 1976-77 to 1980-81.

The second most successful VHL franchise is the Yadrin Penguins with 12 total Polivanov Cups, most recently in 2018. The Penguins' won four cups Cups as a member club of the VHA.

The same trophy is reused every year for each of its awards. This makes the Polivanov Cup unique in Volkian sports, as the championship trophies of the country's other professional sport leagues are made new every year for that year's champion. Although only one trophy is used, the names of the winning teams and players are engraved every year on the Polivanov Cup. The same can be said for the other trophies reissued every year.

Players

There are numerous trophies awarded to players for their statistics during the regular season. They include, among others, the Leonid Alexandrov Trophy for the league scoring champion (goals and assists), the Damir Gorokhov Memorial Trophy for the goaltender(s) of the team with the fewest goals against them, and the Fyodor Krutikov Trophy for the goal-scoring leader.

The other player trophies are voted on by the team general managers or the Hockey Writers' Association of Volkia (HWAV). These individual awards are presented at a formal ceremony held after the completion of the playoffs. Arguably the most prestigious individual award is the Petrenko Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the Most Valuable Player. The 200 voting members of the HWAV vote on the player considered most valuable to his team during the regular season. The general managers of the VHL teams vote annually on the person they consider to be the best goaltender and awards them with the Tsyganov Trophy. The Daniil Yurasov Trophy is awarded annually to the Volkian Hockey League's best defenseman, the Somov Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the league's top rookie, and the Viktoriya Usova Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player deemed to combine the highest degree of skill and sportsmanship; all three of these awards are voted on by members of the HWAV.

Besides the regular season awards, the Boris Leskov Trophy is awarded annually to the most valuable player during the VHL Polivanov Cup Playoffs. While the trophy rewards the player who performed exceptionally well during the entirety of the playoffs, it has never been awarded to a player whose team did not at least reach the Polivanov Cup Final. Additionally, the Pavel Aslanov Award is presented to the top coach in the league as selected by a poll of the VHL Broadcasters Association. The league publishes the names of the top three vote getters for all awards, then reveals the winner during the VHL Awards Ceremony.

Players, coaches, officials, and team builders who have had notable careers are eligible to be voted into the Volkian Hockey Hall of Fame. Players cannot enter until five years have passed since their last professional game. The Hall of Fame is located in Volkgoroda and holds exhibits about players, teams, VHL records, memorabilia, and VHL trophies, including the Polivanov Cup.

List of champions

Flag of Volkia.png Volkian Federative Republic Flag of Volkia.png
Main article: Volkia
Important Topics: CultureLupineVolkian languageLunarismVolkian koronaDefense Forces
Government: Federal GovernmentPresidentCabinetNational AssemblyFederal Supreme CourtPolitical Parties
History: Grand Principality of VolkiaDuchy of VolkiaKingdom of VolkiaVolkian Civil WarNorthern RevoltVolkian Revolution
Important Figures (Past and Present): Yuliya SurkovaAleksey PushkarevStefan GurkovskyIvan OgarkovVasily TolmachyovYulian Lebedev