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12/17/2019 5:18 pm  #1


History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

So this is (hopefully) my first real full historical simulation that I will be posting. I had posted once on Sportslogos.net but I didn't have any concepts cause I was dumb back then (except I still can't create good concepts), but people liked how I wrote my write-ups. Ive been simulating my own leagues since I was like 6, thought I was the only one. But here I am. I thought about bringing my 60+ year soccer league to this forum but I feel like thats too much information for even me to write-up. So for now I'm going to start a new league. The American Handball League. 

To start off with, what is handball? I doubt anyone on here has heard of it. It’s an indoor sport popular in Europe and growing around the world. It is played with a ball slightly smaller than a volleyball so that one can hold it with one hand. It is 7v7, including the goalie, the object like many sports is to get the ball in the goal more than your opponent. There is a 3 meter area around the goal that only the goalie is able to step in, the defense nor offense is allowed to step in. The game is split into 2 30-minute halves. Minor penalties are awarded with a free throw, more major penalties receive a yellow card and a potential 2-minute suspension, which results in something similar to a power play. Three yellow cards equal an ejection.  

For more information here is the wikipedia page [color=#1155cc]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handball and here is a highlight video https://youtu.be/EvQPD4Q3QAo  [/color]

Now my experience of Handball is extremely limited, only watching it during the Olympics and occasionally finding it on YouTube. As my country doesn’t play the sport. But i will try my best to get all the information correct during the season mock-ups. 
The positions are:
Goalkeeper. Pretty self explanatory there. 
Center. Similar to a point guard or quarterback they set up the offensive attack, normally score a lot of points. 
Pivot. Similar to the Point/Center except they are usually inside the defense trying to score, also are a major scoring position. 
Winger. Usually 2 on a team, they are on the sides of the court and are the fastest players and can score easily by jumping over the line for an advantage. 
Backs. 2 on a team, these are the more defense oriented players but are big enough to plow through the line or shoot from far away. 
However teams can have any number of positions as players can substitute on the run similar to hockey, but I will try to keep it to these positions  As a side note… I do not have a way to create jerseys and logos and I cannot draw so unless someone asks to help on this project… there probably won’t be any visual stuff for awhile. 


Prologue/Introduction. 
The year was 1918, a young Samson Hughes just came back from the Great War. While he was in Europe he saw some German kids playing a sport he had never seen before, it intrigued him enough that when he became a school teacher he began to teach his students the rules of the game. He called it Handball. As his students graduated and moved away it became a common recreational game in schoolyards around the nation. Now we move forward a bit in time. Hunter Bell, a decently well known real estate salesman in the northeast wanted to bank in on sports, however, the NBL, PFL, and MLH all declined his inclusion for other expansion candidates. Thus, Mr. Bell decided to create his own league, for him the question of what sport wasn’t hard. He had played Handball in his youth and knew that it was time for the sport to receive national spotlight. He was able to gain some investors, but nothing close to what he had hoped. He was nearly bankrupt by the time the league was set to start, five years in the making led to the first season in 1951. The season would consist of only 12 games, with the top 2 teams playing in a championship game for the humbly named Bell Cup. The four teams that would compete in this inaugural season were: The New York City Lightning, Pittsburgh Lions, Philadelphia Athletic Club, and the Washington Warriors. Bell pulled all the stops to get the games on radios and tvs all across the northeast, all of his investors called him crazy for spending so much when the league had not even played yet, heck the teams had not signed players until only a month before the season began. Bell would not let the world stop him as the first game was televised between Philadelphia and New York City, to a surprising amount of viewers. The talent on the teams initially were not the greatest, with fouls all over the place. But as time went on, better players got interested and the current players learned discipline and strategies. The season continued and in the end the 2 teams meeting for the Bell Cup were the New York City Lightning and the Washington Warriors. Both teams cruised to impressive 9-3 and 8-4 records respectively. They would meet in the Amsterdam Arena, owned by the MLH’s New York Skyscrapers. This would complicate things as the Skyscrapers would be playing later that day as the owner of the Skyscrapers said he had not even heard of Handball before (as the Lightning played their season uptown in a much smaller collegiate arena). Luckily, Bell was able to smooth things out and delay the final game for the next day. 

Bell Cup Final
Finally on Monday, November 19th, 1951 the first ever American Handball League Finals were held. For the season, the Lightning had defeated the Warriors in 3 of their 4 matchups, only losing in the first match of the season. The Lightning had one of the fastest attacks in the league, with leading point getter, Josiah Myers averaging 6.7 assists per game, equal to 80 assists on the season, add his 21 goals and you got the league’s first 100 point scorer. His main target was winger Joey Phillips who had 56 goals and 13 assists on the season. Opposite to this the Warriors have the player with the most goals, being pivot Cyrus Richardson who scored 71 goals for the season, as well as the league’s best goalie Eli Sanchez. The favorites were undoubtedly the Lightning going into the match. The Lightning took the lead early, 17-8 at halftime. Washington rallied for a 9-1 run to start the second half, 8 of which were scored by Richardson. The final 2 minutes were rough for both teams, as when Lightning winger Johnny Woods jumped up to shoot, two Warriors defenders sandwiched him to the ground, shoving ensued after the play and the refs gave three players 2-minute penalties, thus the final minutes were played 5v6. 20-19 the Warriors led going into the 2-minutes. Josiah Myers would tie things up, right before Lightning back-up winger, Moss Roberts intercepted the ball and scored himself, Lightning 21-20. Now with the lead the Lightning would not relinquish it and they won the first ever Bell Cup 23-21. The games MVP went to Josiah Myers with 12 assists and 3 goals as he played all 60 minutes of the match. The game not only received great reviews from the fans in attendance but also gained good reviews by fans listening and watching the game across the northeast. Bell now had the attention of the media, and not a minute too late, as he was about to file for bankruptcy before NBC asked for the exclusive television rights. Now the real test began, can this new league keep its momentum going forward? Only God knows. We will see how next season.   -Jesse Orr, Philadelphia Inquirer.   



Season Standings.          W-L 
New York City Lightning   9-3
Washington Warriors        8-4 
Philadelphia A.C.              6-6 
Pittsburgh Lions               1-11  


Bell Cup Final Match
New York City Lightning   23
Washington Warriors        21


Off-season news. Lions owner, Edward Waters decides to keep his coach despite the 1-11 season but fires almost every player on his team, a ‘fresh-start’ he says. The other teams focus in on signing players that became interesting in the league after the first season. Notably, Philadelphia which signed over 30 players, all of whom are going to have to fight it out for roster spots. Their coach, Charles Miles said they should be the most aggressive team in the league because each player is fighting for their job every game.  

Despite the owners clamaring that there should be some sort of entry draft, which other leagues such as the PSL has done since the 30s, Commissioner Hunter Bell decides to hold off on that for now. He also announces that no new teams will be joining the league during the second season. But that he is taking applications for potential owners. Hunter Bell also looks towards the Premier Soccer League for inspiration on how to run the league. He announces at the end of the following season there will be player awards, a draft for any eligible player in the nation (over 18 and an American citizen), and that the Bell Cup will be played in a chosen city every season. For the following season the Bell Cup will be played in Philadelphia. 

 While I have some of the history kinda planned out, it really is only a few team names. Thus, if you would like to partake in the history of the AHL you can submit a fictional character name and a city you would like to join the AHL following the next season. I will eventually do full expansion councils but for now this will suffice and allow some interactivity. 
I have the 1952 season simulated and am working on the write-up, I want to bring more detail into the whole season instead of just the final game. Hopefully I will have it out before the weekend.  

Last edited by master BDoof (CodeG) (12/22/2019 8:49 pm)


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12/17/2019 5:23 pm  #2


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

Not sure why the links are looking like that. Well, those should be the only links like that I post. 


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12/19/2019 1:15 pm  #3


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

The second season of the AHL was looked on by its newly established fans in wonder, within the young league anything could happen. Could Pittsburgh go from 1-11 to 12-0? Of course not. Despite retooling nearly every player on the team, Pittsburgh was only able to win 3 games, 2 against New York and 1 against Philly. This time the owner was furious, he fired Pittsburgh coach, Thomas Howell minutes after the final game, some say you could even hear him screaming on the broadcast still. Pittsburgh’s start to the AHL is laughably bad, but perhaps in the upcoming ‘player draft’ they can sign players to help turn it around. New York City following their championship dropped off a little bit, they still had one of the best attacks in the league, at one point they won a game 41-17 against Pittsburgh, the biggest win in AHL history so far. They finished the season 1 game away from making the playoffs, their season even came down to the final game against Philadelphia. Philly had a strange off-season, Philly owner, Bobbie Nolan, acquired nearly 30 players. In his own words he said “This is the best way to keep the team aggressive, because every game each player will be fighting for their job.” Not only that, their defense became scarily aggressive, led by big men, Cam Gallagher, 6’3 245, and Ellis ‘Island’ McKay, 6’6 250. They gave up an average of 22 goals a game, they even forced Pittsburgh to score only 8 goals in a match. Despite this their offense is not melding together, they used 7 different starting centers and 5 different starting pivots throughout the season their highest scorer was their winger, Jimmy Bloggs who only had 52 points (38/14) total throughout the season. Their season came down to the final game against New York City, in which McKay set the Philly record with 13 assists in one game (only scored 1 goal). McKay used his size as an advantage to draw defenders on him and then passing to his wingers for diving goals. Philly won that game 29-25 to make it into their first ever Bell Cup Finals, which will be held in Philadelphia which could give them an advantage over Washington. Unlike NYC, Washington bolstered their roster in the off-season, adding depth and former Lions Back, Dan Ingram, who when paired up with star Pivot Cyrus Richardson created a huge 1-2 punch scoring combo. As either were strong enough to draw extra defenders, one could even call Ingram a second Pivot. Ingram then also set the AHL record for points by a Back, with 62 (38/24), though Ellis McKay wasn’t too far behind with 56 (16/40). Richardson also led the league in goals and points with 94 (66/28). This combo led the Warriors to first place in the league, and a second chance at taking home the cup.


Season Standings.       W-L 

Washington Warriors    8-4 
Philadelphia A.C.          7-5 
New York City Lightning 6-6 
Pittsburgh Lions            3-9 

Bell Cup II. Philadelphia A.C. vs Washington Warriors. 
PHILADELPHIA, PA - For mid November in Philly it was a rather warm day today. I’ve been here for all my life. I’ve witnessed the Philadelphia Quicksilver FC win all 9 of their Schell Cups, most recently only 2 years ago on a field only 3 blocks from where i am currently writing this. In a way, the atmosphere tonight was similar, but way different. While the Quicksilver rely on finesse and skill, the A.C. rely on brute force and aggression, attempting to wear down their opponents so that they can score much easier. Over the course of the last year, I’m not sure that I have ever witnessed such a low-scoring affair. At half-time neither team cracked double digits, 9-6 in favor of Washington. But between Gallagher and McKay’s constant pounding of the Warriors offense, eventually the defense broke along with it. Melville Pond, Philly’s newest leading Pivot, was able to break through and scored 5 goals in 8 minutes to start the second half. Washington did not back down from this challenge as Dan Ingram scored twice in the same time frame. With 20 minutes left in the half and both teams even at 11, Washington finally collapsed. Despite scoring 5 more times, their defense got completely obliterated. Most notably, Cam Gallagher had 4 instances of just getting the ball and nearly walking past the defenders uncontested, he scored on 3 of the chances. The game finally ended in a 19-16 final, only a 3 goal difference but after witnessing it, it felt like Philly won by 10 or more points. The game MVP went to Melville Pond, for his 10 point game (7/3). After the game league Commissioner and Founder, Hunter Bell, awarded the trophy and announced that for the upcoming, “Players Draft’ that any player was elligible if they were over 18 years of age.” This means teams could sign European players, if the players wanted to come overseas. He also formally announced the formation of the voting committee which would vote on all player awards at the end of each season. More on that soon. One thing Mr Bell did not mention was if more teams would join the league, as he had mentioned previously. In loom of this, the off-season will begin soon, a new beginning for the teams that failed, and a new challenge for the victors.    -Jesse Orr, Philadelphia Inquirer.

 Bell Cup II
Washington Warriors   16
Philadelphia A.C.         19


Off-season news will be out shortly, there is a lot to cover… Players Draft, Rule changes, miscues on my part, possible expansion, and more!

    

Last edited by master BDoof (CodeG) (12/19/2019 1:16 pm)


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12/19/2019 5:14 pm  #4


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

WHOO. Time for the first real Off-season post for the American Handball League. 
So I’ll start with something I noticed. The goal/point totals i have are completely bonkers. I didn't do enough research (as it's hard to find pages in English) so some of the point totals are crazy. For instance, Cyrus Richardson had 66 goals in 12 games, an average of 5.5 per game. I looked up Nikola Karabatiċ, one of the best players in the world, he has 1,185 goals in 305 appearances for the French national team, or 3.8 a game. I looked up a German Bundesliga team and found most players averaged between 2-3 a game. However i do not wish to redo the stats already done, i have been purposely making the games low-scoring compared to nowadays (as the few games i could find did have an increase of goals as the years went on)... So I’ve come to the conclusion that back in the 50s players played more minutes of the game and happened to score more, less bench play essentially. I just wanted to clear that up if from now on players don’t score as much, once there is a game increase the point total will go up naturally. 


Player Awards. (edit forgot originally to add these)
MVP: Cyrus Richardson, WAS, 94 (66/28)
Offensive POY: Cyrus Richardson, WAS, 94 (66/28)
Defensive POY: Ellis McKay, PHI, 56 (16/40) 
GOY: Eli Sanchez, WAS. 33.2% save percentage
ROY: Wayne Christensen, NYC, 36 (17/19)


Rule Changes

Following Philadelphia signing 30 players the previous off-season, Bell institutes a rule that teams can only have at maximum 15 per team and a 5 man practice squad, which can only fill in for injured or empty roster spots. 

The league will also start limited player contact in the air, this was due to several teams arguing that defenders were purposely targeting airborne players to either injure them or deter them from trying such attacks next time. The players in question, while not named, were obviously Cam Gallagher and Ellis McKay. This rule was then nicknamed ‘the Philly rule’.

Bobbie Nolan argued that both rule changes were to spite his championship team and said he would file a lawsuit against the commissioner, the league, as well as that he would make sure his team will repeat as champions.

Expansion News
The AHL officially announces that 2 new clubs will enter the league in the following season, the Boston Unicorns and the Cleveland Kings. Boston is owned by Albin O’Malley, 45, which makes him the youngest team owner by 10 years. Cleveland’s owner is politician Dave Ponce, who is 62 years of age. 

The league will also expand the schedule to 16 games next season. 3 against every team, and 4 against each teams ‘designated rival’ which is chosen by proximity. Boston/NYC. Philly/Washington. Pittsburgh/Cleveland.
 

Boston and Cleveland would not enter into any sort of ‘expansion draft’ instead they had an exclusive 2 weeks before the players draft to sign any players, however it had to be less than what drafted players would receive so most collegiate players and some, such as former Lightning winger, Johnny Woods went the route of the draft.


Coaching Changes
Pittsburgh, quite literally fired their coach, Thomas Howell. The Lions now choose a more defensive oriented Russel Fertig, who is a defensively-minded coach, as the team is trying to model themselves after Philadelphia. Another interesting note about Fertig, he is the first non-American player/personnel in the AHL, he was born in England to German parents and had learned Handball at an early age and wanted to bring it to the states. 

Thomas Howell did not have to look long for a new job. Boston hired him right away to take over for their rather young team. Howell said he will not squander this opportunity and will make Boston a championship calibre team.

Cleveland picked up Clay Franklin, who is relatively unknown by the media, he quotes his preferred style of play as ‘a mixture of finesse and anger’.


Players Draft
Unlike the drafts in leagues such as the PSL and NBL, for the AHL it will draft any player not on a team at the end of the season. This included foreign players as well. 
1 - Pittsburgh Lions - C, Jordan Dunst. 19, fresh out of collegiate Handball for Penn State. 
2 - Boston Unicorns - W, Geffrey Hepburn. 20, collegiate player for Maryland. 
3 - Cleveland Kings - W, Johnny Woods. 27, formally on NYC 
4 - New York City Lightning - B, William Higgins. 24, large former collegiate player who missed out on the first 2 seasons of the AHL. 
5 - Washington Warriors - C, Stanford Varnham, 28, a relatively unknown player, but did play collegiate Handball for Princeton.
6 - Philadelphia A.C. - G, Tedd Weiss, 23, should help fix the hole in Philly’s goal. 

Nothing too outstanding in the draft, though Varnham was relatively unknown to the rest of the teams. Despite Russel Fertig’s efforts he wasn’t able to lure a European player to the league. Once all 3 rounds of the draft was complete teams could continue to sign players if they so choose.


1953 season may take some time coming up due to the holidays and work, but expect it to be up around Christmas (my Christmas present to you readers)
    

Last edited by master BDoof (CodeG) (12/19/2019 7:19 pm)


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12/22/2019 4:18 pm  #5


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

Now with 6 teams and more games the AHL’s third season was quite a crazy one. Philadelphia, despite the rule changes put in play to limit what people had thought made them good, with many of their depth players leaving for Boston and Cleveland. They not only made the Bell Cup they completely dominated the league, posting a 21.6 points against per game average. Their goaltending was one of their few weaknesses before, but their draft pick Tedd Weiss got the starting job and is competing for the Goalie of the Year award. McKay and Gallagher continued their dominating defense, McKay still outshined Gallagher in scoring though, netting 60 points (16/44) however Gallagher improved and got a new career high in points with 51 (27/24). Reigning Bell Cup MVP, Melville Pond also had a career year in the first full year of starting, with 73 points (54/19). With this team Philly won the Samson Hughes Trophy (most wins in the league) with 2 more wins than Washington. Again, the Warriors were strong. This time though they were led by the darkhorse Stanford Varnham, who set the bar for outstanding rookies with 79 points (23/54) which led the team as Cyrus Richardson had an off year scoring only 68 points (44/24). Despite this the Warriors depth was still able to overcome every other team in the league, with a winning record against every other team. As for New York City, they seemed to have lost all speed and flair from their first two seasons. Josiah Myers had his career worst assists with only 28, as seemingly no one could get open enough for a big play. Luckily the team was solid enough to still finish 8-8. Pittsburgh did surprisingly well… for Pittsburgh. They finished 6-10, which is double wins from last season. As for the expansion teams. Boston did very well, going 9-7, led by a tandem of young Boston natives  C, Van Williams 64 points (31/33) and W, Rudolf Sutton 49 points (40/9). However, the Unicorns did not have nearly as good as a defense and had a huge hole at net that neither Ruben Osborne nor Leo Page could fill. Cleveland on the other hand had an abysmal first season, worse than the Lions. They only scored over 20 points a game once, which was their final game of the season in which Philadelphia used only bench players to not injure one of their stars. Due to poor outcomes both New York City and Cleveland fired their coaches, Saul ‘Benny’ Benjamin and Clay Franklin, respectively.


In other news, Philadelphia owner, Bobbie Nolan tried to go to court with how the rules changes were directly made against his team, the court ruled in favor of Commissioner Bell. Nolan was furious, but said he’d keep the promise that Philly would win the next championship, and that when they do he would scrape off the part that says “Bell” and write “Nolan”.

 
1953 Season Standings   W-L
Z Philadelphia A.C.          13-3
X Washington Warriors    11-5
Boston Unicorns                9-7
New York City Lightning    8-8
Pittsburgh Lions                6-10
Cleveland Kings                1-15



Bell Cup III. Philadelphia A.C. vs Washington Warriors, the rematch 
BOSTON, MA - Washington fans clammerred that this was finally their chance, they believe last year was stolen due to the game being played in Philadelphia. I’m not sure if i agree, perhaps due to bias. Perhaps not. Nonetheless. The game got underway, the way it was expected, 4-4 halfway through the first half. Some thought this game would also help decide who would get the Goalie of the Year award as both Washington’s Eli Sanchez and Philly’s Tedd Weiss had done phenomenally throughout the year. Both stars were on point, matching each other after each incredible save. Halftime rolled around and I felt like only mere moments had passed. Right out of the half Warriors came blazing leaping right over Philly’s nearly unstoppable defense, 13-10 Washington. The Warriors, could they actually do it? A Warriors fan next to me said that he spent so much on these tickets that he may become homeless after the game. Truly some hardcore fans here after only a few years in the league. However, the dreams of the fans would be cut short as Washington’s star Pivot, Cyrus Richardson was leaping up for a shot on goal, he was hit by Ellis “Island” McKay in air and fell on his elbow, breaking it completely. Suddenly, the entire building went quiet, even Philly took a knee as the doctors took Richardson to the nearest hospital for treatment. This was a play that would have been ‘legal’ last season as McKay did not appear to do it intentionally, but with the new ‘Philly Rule’ in-place, people could see the importance of the rule. Now with Washington’s star player out, the Warriors lost moral and gave up 6 goals unanswered. Washington’s young stud, Stanford Varnham attempted riling his team up and scored while charging straight into McKay. Unfortunately for the Warriors, and their soon-to-be homeless fan, Philadelphia never budged and was able to come on top again. Leaving the Warriors in second place for their 3rd time in a row. Despite McKay getting 9 points (3/6) the Bell Cup MVP award went to the goaltender Tedd Weiss, the first goalie to ever win the award. While I may be a Philly fan, I do feel sorrow for Washington’s loss. I do wish them the best next season.   -Jesse Orr, Philadelphia Inquirer.

After the trophy presentations, Bobbie Nolan kept his promise and ordered that the ‘Bell’ in Bell Cup be scratched off and for his own name to be etched in. Commissioner Bell fined Nolan $5,000 dollars for the defilement however it is unknown if Nolan ever paid up.


Bell Cup III 

Philadelphia A.C.           26 
Washington Warriors     20



The 1953 off-season should be up later today.
    

Last edited by master BDoof (CodeG) (1/10/2020 1:56 pm)


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12/22/2019 8:44 pm  #6


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

Off-season news 1953

Player Awards
MVP: Stanford Varnham, WAS, 79 (23/54)
Offensive POY: Melville Pond, PHI, 73 (54/19) 
Defensive POY: Cam Gallagher, PHI, 51 (27/24) 
GOY: Tedd Weiss, PHI, 32.1% save percentage
ROY: Stanford Varnham, WAS, 79 (23/54) 

Coaching Changes
Both New York City and Cleveland fired their coaches, Saul ‘Benny’ Benjamin and Clay Franklin respectively. Cleveland immediately hires Benny Benjamin as he has won a Bell Cup previously and never a losing record. His style is lighting quick offense with playmakers and good wingers. 

New York signs Manhattan native Walter Cannon who has coached local high school teams throughout the city, winning state championships 7 of the last 10 years. His offensive play style should mesh well with the Lightning’s previous speed. He also is the first coach in the AHL to use the 1-5 style of defense. In where 1 player (usually the Center) will guard who ever has the ball, this is in turn different from the usual and preferred 0-6 style where everyone guards the line.



Trades
While trades have been extremely rare in the early days of the league, Lightning winger Joey Phillips seemingly was about to walk out of the team. Quoting his teammates ruined the season and he was disproving of the new coach as he preferred Benjamin’s style. Thus, the Lightning traded him to Cleveland to follow Benjamin, in exchange for 1st round picks in the next 2 drafts. Last season Phillips had only 34 points (30/4) but had been phenomenal during the first 2 seasons.



Players Draft 
1 - New York City Lightning (CLV) - Stefan Elliot, P, 25, leading collegiate scorer when he was at PITT
2 - Pittsburgh Lions - Willi Traves, B, 21, 6’5 260 beast, modeled after Ellis McKay
3 - New York City Lightning - Urban Thorn, G, 22, first goalie to win Collegiate POY
4 - Boston Unicorns - Howard Carpenter, W, 20, looks to help Rudolf Sutton get open with his speed
5 - Washington Warriors - Merlin Clemens, B, 23, one of the strongest throws according to opposing goalies
6 - Philadelphia A.C. - Dennis McCormmick, W, 22 should add speed to the offensive rush

New York City retools in the draft scoring 2 picks after the Joey Phillips trade. Stefan Elliot could be a reliable goal scorer in place of Phillips and Urban Thorn could help bolster the defense. Willi Traves also should be someone to watch as he is similar to McKay and should dominate the defensive side, though his offensive side is unproven. 
This will also be the last ‘players draft’ where anyone can be drafted. Starting next year it will be exclusively collegiate players, and international if any player would decide to come to America. It will still be deemed the Players Draft.


Expansion News
Commissioner Bell mentioned in an interview that he was looking to expand the AHL to 8 teams within the coming seasons however he was willing to wait for a new TV deal first, as he had decided to opt out of the previous contract with NBC after the league started doing a lot better than previously thought in its first three seasons. 



​Similar to before, if you would like to participate In the history of the AHL you can submit a name, age, city, etc for a team owner. Once the league gets a bit bigger I will do full expansion councils, for now I figured this could work.
1954 season should be out this decade, perhaps by Christmas, depends on my work schedule.   

Last edited by master BDoof (CodeG) (12/22/2019 8:45 pm)


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1/10/2020 12:42 pm  #7


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

Sorry for the delay, work and the holidays got me kinda busy. But for the 6 ghosts that read this here you go! First one of 2020.

The 4th season of the AHL started with a bang, New York City Lighting absolutely routed the Cleveland Kings in the first game of the season. 45-9. This score would go on to sum up both team’s seasons.


  • New York City turned right around this year. Both of their drafted players, Stefan Elliot and Urban Thorn did outstandingly well in their rookie seasons. Elliot was a top scoring option for the teams star Center, Josiah Myers who had league leading 97 points (23/74). Elliot finished with 59 (48/11). The Lightning also had one of the league’s best defenses now with Thorn in goal, Elliot proved to be a force of nature with the teams new 1-5 scheme, he had more interceptions and unassisted goals then  anyone in the league had in previous seasons, with 34 interceptions, scoring on 19 of the breakaways created from them. New York’s starting Backs, Les Landon and Theodore Miller proved to be forces in their own right, some even compared them to Cam Gallagher and Ellis McKay. This all combined into a Samson Hughes Trophy for the team, the first official one won by the team (the trophy wasn’t officially given out in the league’s first season in which they had the best record)
  • Philadelphia, their weak offense came to hurt them this season. Melville Pond had an off year scoring below 50 points. But nothing hurt them more than Ellis McKay’s loss of confidence. After inadvertently injuring Cyrus Richardson in the previous Bell Cup, in the first week of the season a similar play happened, this time to Warriors Winger, Dale Collier, who’s season and potentially career came to an end because of it. McKay played slow and methodically, rarely scoring. Cam Gallagher on the other hand ended up the opposite, he became one of the league’s most explosive players, both defense and offense he was nearly unstoppable, leading the team and Backs in points with 81 on the season (most for a Back in AHL history) with 47 goals and 34 assists. 
  • In a close third place was Boston, who for the second time in a row were one game from making the playoffs. Their defense was still a mess but that didn’t seem to phase them when they had 3 players with over 60 points, C Van Williams with 78 (40/38), W Rudolf Sutton with 67 (59/8), and P Humbert Hamilton with 62 (45/17). They were tied in second but played Pittsburgh the last week of the season, a surefire win, but they choked as Lions’ Center Jordan Dunst scored 14 points himself (8/6) to win 34-29 and leaving Boston still without a playoff appearance. 
  • Fourth was the always admirable Warriors who continued to have injury problems. Cyrus Richardson’s injury from the Bell Cup continued to plague him throughout, as well as their winger Dale Collier. Warriors goalie and former GOY winner Eli Sanchez however decided to put up career numbers, only once allowing more than 25 goals in a single game with an astronomical 41% save percentage. But was still not enough for Washington to return for the fourth straight time. 
  • Pittsburgh under coach Russel Fertig for the 2nd year did not fare as much as a fan might hope. Sophomore center Jordan Dunst did have an outstanding year with 71 points (24/47). But the rest of the team could not step up. Tensions broke when Russel Fertig spoke in an interview how the team was failing due to Edward Waters’ (owner) not getting better players and wanted to play cheap. Despite the pot boiling Waters decided to keep Fertig for following season to fulfil his contract. More accurately, Waters believed the angry coach would become a spectacle for fans to show up. 
  • What 2 words don't belong in the same sentence? Kings and winning. For the second straight season the Kings record was 1-15. Despite pretty much copying the Lightning’s formula from the first season they just could not win if their life depended on it. However, their singular win came against Boston early in the season where their attack was able to have a field day against the lack of Boston defense, winning 28-27. Saul “Benny” Benjamin lasted only halfway through the season before getting replaced by interim coach Bill Leverenz, who will most likely go down in AHL history as the only coach to never win a single game in his head coaching career. 



  • In other news around the league, Commissioner Bell continued to attempt to secure an even better television contract for the league. Previously under a 2 year experimental contract with NBC, Bell wanted something bigger and better for the league. He called NBC childish and run by babies attempting to give himself into a rival company for the big bucks. While it was not considered a good business deal to seemingly burn the bridge with NBC, it did allow enough exposure that both CBS and ABC put offers into the hat. Eventually, before the fourth annual Bell Cup, Bell announced that ABC won the exclusive rights to air AHL games on its broadcasts, including the impending Bell Cup.


    1954 Standings                     W-L 
    Z
    New York City Lightning    12-4
    X
    Philadelphia A.C.               11-5 
    B
    oston Unicorns                    10-6 
    W
    ashington Warriors              9-7 
    P
    ittsburgh Lions                     5-11 
    Cleveland Kings                     1-15



    Bell Cup IV. New York City Lighting vs Philadelphia A.C.
    PITTSBURGH, PA - Hello I am coming at you live on ABC - Actually you will be reading this quite a bit after the game. Both NYC and Philly have never lost in a Bell Cup match, granted this is only the fourth Bell Cup. Before this game the teams were not that big of rivals. But similar to the PSL’s New York City Pirates and Philadelphia Quicksilver F.C. once they meet in the championship game, nothing is the same. The story going into the game was definitely how well Ellis McKay could play and how much Cam Gallagher could bail out his team. The answer to the second question was, quite a lot. Gallagher essentially played as a center for the entire game. Bringing the ball up court. But this center was 6’3 240 pounds of muscle. He practically bullied New York’s defensive front of Les Landon and Theodore Miller. Gallagher became the first player to not only score a double-double in an AHL game, but he did so in the Bell Cup. He tallied 14 goals and 10 assists for his team. Most of them were against New York’s top defenders. I couldn’t believe my eyes witnessing Gallagher’s greatness. Everytime he got the ball he seemingly scored, inside, outside, over, once he even jumped so far he was in the goalies face before scoring. He was in the zone and the zone was called Camden Joseph Gallagher. However, despite Gallagher’s performance, New York had their own offensive powerhouse, well three powerhouses; Josiah Myers, Stefan Elliot, and Les Landon. The three of them were just as potent as Gallagher on offense. The game was neck and neck the entire game. For every Philly goal, New York came right back and scored. Finally with 12 seconds left New York up 28-27, Melville Pond was dribbling up court and attempted to pass to Cam Gallagher but Stefan Elliot came out of nowhere intercepting the pass and scoring would close the game as a win for New York City. Walter Cannon, the first year coach won his first Bell Cup, with most likely many more for him on the horizon. Despite Gallagher’s effort, only a winning player can win the Bell Cup MVP award, which was given to New York’s Josiah Myers who had 2 goals and 9 assists. This was not only the most exciting Bell Cup to date, but also the most exciting game these Pittsburgh fans have seen all season. -Jesse Orr, Philadelphia Inquirer. 


    Bell Cup IV 
    N
    ew York City Lighting 29 
    P
    hiladelphia A.C. 27  

    I should have the off-season out either today or this weekend 

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1/10/2020 3:51 pm  #8


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

1954 Off-season 

Player Awards 
MVP: Cam Gallagher, PHI, 81 (47/34) 
Offensive POY: Josiah Myers, NYC, 97 (23/74) 
Defensive POY: Cam Gallagher, PHI, 81 (47/34) 
GOY: Eli Sanchez, WAS, 41% save percentage 
ROY: Stefan Elliot, NYC, 59 (48/11)


Coaching Changes
The
only team with a new coach this season is the Cleveland Kings, who fired Saul “Benny” Benjamin halfway through the 1954 season. They hire Walton Osborne, who formerly coached the Ohio State handball team. He brings a more balanced approach to the team compared to their previous 2 coaches who were both offensive minded.


Trades
The trade market continues to be pretty stale with only 6 teams. However Philadelphia moves to add more firepower on offense by trading their draft pick this year to Cleveland for Winger, Johnny Woods, who previously was on New York City and won the first ever Bell Cup.


1955
Players Draft
1 - New York City (CLV) - Daren Robinson, W, 23 acrobatic
2 - Pittsburgh - Spencer Henson, B, 22 2-way
3 - Washington - Willard Sieger, W, 22 speed
4 - Boston - Al Fenstermacher, B, 21 defensive
5 - Cleveland (PHI) - Bucky Esser, C, 20 playmaker 
6 - New York City - Roddy Elliston, B, 21 defensive 

New York City continued to reap the benefits of the Joey Philips trade, this time drafting another offensive player to help spread out the floor, as well as a defensive guy to come off the bench. Henson is considered the best prospect out of the ones drafted however, Pittsburgh has not had the best of luck with the draft so far. Boston drafted a nearly completely unknown Al Fenstermacher, coach Howell said he had him back when Howell coached high school and considered him one of the best defensive players he had ever seen, he compared him Ellis McKay, but obviously smaller than him. As Fenstermacher is the smallest Back in the league at 5’10.

Expansion News
On
New Year’s Day, Bell announced that the league is looking to expand in either 1956 or 57 to 8 teams. With a long term goal of doubling that by the 1970 season. As well as that the next few Bell Cups will be hosted by cities the league is considering for expansion. Primarily, Baltimore in 1955, Toronto in 1956, and Chicago in 1957.     

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1/13/2020 11:40 am  #9


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

Sorry for the slight delay

The AHL’s 5th season would also be the beginning of what is known as the Dark Age. Which is mostly known by the low number of goals that are scored and by the numerous talented goalies on the small amount of teams. Nearly every team had a star goalie or good defensive core. Teams would also start substituting players between defense and offensive shifts, allowing the best defenders out at all times. 


  • In first place was the only team with a good enough offense to break through the mold. Josiah Myers continued to be the leagues best playmaker, he totalled 83 points this season (17/66). Urban Thorn is the real MVP of the team however, after a great rookie campaign he followed it up with a GOY calibre season leading the team to 15-1 and only allowing 20 goals against per game on average. Their only loss on the season came against Philadelphia midway through the season, 16-14. 
  • Second place is the biggest surprise of the season. A day before the season started Washington announced that they traded star Pivot, Cyrus Richardson to Cleveland for their draft pick and Cleveland’s own Pivot, Nick Steed. Richardson had seen some wear on him entering into his age 33 season, but that did not stop him leading his team in goals with 65 points (51/14). Cleveland also got help from rookie Center Bucky Esser who got the starting role halfway through the season, to end the season he had 53 points (5/48). Cleveland also has the aging Joey Philips who had a good comeback season with 57 points (50/7). Goalie Irvine Polley also had a good season, though defense was still a slight issue with Cleveland throughout the season. 
  • Despite trading their franchise player, Washington was able to finish the season 1 game away from a rematch with NYC. Their aging core, now all over the age of 30, has only a few seasons left to make some magic happen. Dan Ingram comeback season scoring the most points for a Back with 56 (29/27). Filing Richardson’s hole was Nick Steed who finished with 46 points (22/24). Stanford Varnham really put the team on his back throughout the final games of the season, but still wasn’t quite enough to get over the Kings. 
  • In a league where defense is the most key factor, what do you do when both of your defensive keys get injured? You fall from contender to just mediocre at best. Cam Gallagher and Ellis McKay both received foot injuries during the beginning of the season, Gallagher attempting to play through them but just couldn’t keep his usual pace. McKay came back with 3 games left and was able to lead the team to win all three, scoring 18 goals in said games. Goalie, Tedd Weiss however lead the defense to still be taken seriously by opponents, and was second in the league in goals against per game and save percentage. Offense was still a factor in the loses pilling up. Fans were wondering how well owner Bobbie Nolan would take the first losing season in club history.
  • Again in fifth place, were the Lions. The Lions seemingly have a monopoly in fifth place finishes. This year was no different. While Jordan Dunst was continuing his dominance as a Center, netting 75 points (43/32). However the team did show some signs of life with a good defensive core led by Backs, Willi Traves and Corey Beake, as well as veteran goalie Dean Garner, who was previously on New York City before Urban Thorn took over as the starter. Yet, at the final game of the season, Edward Waters gave another one of his infamous “You’re fired before you leave the field” speeches to coach Russel Fertig who got right back up into his face and nearly punching the 77 year old owner before finally cursing him out before leaving, saying he will make sure his next team desecrates on the Lions when they play each other. 
  • After being one win away from a Bell Cup appearance, Boston is now struggling to even get wins. Being one of the only teams without a good defense, coach Thomas Howell decided to double down on the attack. Bringing extra wingers, two centers, Howell tried nearly every strategy to get an edge on the offensive floor. However, goalies Ray Beake and Alex Chesley seemingly could not stop anything. In their 2 games without Howell the team tried a 1-5 defensive scheme similar to the Lightning, this time with Winger, Emmet Paul being the odd one out, as well as they let first round pick Al Fenstermacher start at Back. With this new set the team was able to dominate Cleveland’s attack 21-13 as well as lost a close overtime game with the Warriors 26-25. Van Williams had a career year with 86 points (53/33), which lead the league.


  • 1955 Standings                   W-L
    Z New York City Lightning  15-1
    X Cleveland Kings              10-6
    W
    ashington Warriors           9-7
    P
    hiladelphia A.C.                 7-9
    P
    ittsburgh Lions                  4-12 
    Boston Unicorns                  3-13



    Bell Cup V. New York City Lightning vs Cleveland Kings.
     
  • BALTIMORE, MD - I was surprised by how many fans showed up to the game on this cold, windy day despite neither team being remotely close to the city. Going into the game was the story of the underdogs and redeption. Cleveland had multiple players that were on either Washington, a team who failed to win the cup in three consecutive years, and the Lightning, the team that they would be facing. Cleveland won only two games in the previous two seasons, now having won ten, how well would they be able to handle the success. During the season, the Lightning won all three matches between the teams. One of the top player stories coming into the game was Kings’ Winger, Joey Philips, who was apart of the Lightning’s Bell Cup in 1951, but due to grievances with the team demanded a trade away from New York in 1953. The Kings’ starting Pivot, former Warrior, Cyrus Richardson will enter for his fourth attempt to win an AHL Championship. Richardson showed his veteran presence on the team by scoring a hat trick just six minutes into the match. After the first half the Kings lead, 16-12. Sad for them, the Lightning had one of the most dominating second half performances I have ever seen. Goalie, Urban Thorn only let one, singular goal in the half, scored by Winger, Joey Philips. Josiah Myers put up a passing clinic assisting or second assisting on nearly every single goal for New York. Back, Les Landon, and Pivot, Stefan Elliot both scored five times this half as well. In total the Lightning scored fifteen goals in the second half. By all means the effort put forth by the Lightning was no match, I fully expect to see New York back here for the foreseeable future.    -Jesse Orr, Philadelphia Inquirer


Bell Cup V, Baltimore, MD
New York City Lightning 28 
Cleveland Kings             17 

  • After the game, Commissioner Bell came out and spoke well on behalf of the Baltimore fanbase, saying their potential for an expansion club was high. He called the city hungry for a pro-team, as throughout the Professional Sports Coalition they only host the NBL’s Baltimore Lions, who are in talks to leave the city for venues out west. Though Bell also stated he would take his time in choosing the next two clubs.

    (EDIT) idk what the hell happened to the formatting on this post
        

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1/17/2020 4:40 pm  #10


Re: History of the American Handball League - 1953 season and off-season

1955 Off-season

Player Awards
MVP: Josiah Myers, NYC, 83 (17/66)
Offensive POY: Van Williams, BOS, 86 (53/33)
Defensive POY: Les Landon, NYC, 44 (21/23)
GOY: Tedd Weiss, PHI, 39.8% save percentage
ROY: Bucky Esser, CLE, 53 (5/48) 

Not too many surprises this year, Josiah Myers finally winning an MVP award, he lead the league in points twice, and assists in 4 of the 5 AHL seasons thus far. Bucky Esser and Van Williams are the first players for their respective clubs to win an award. The only team without an award is Pittsburgh. As well as Les Landon became the first player to win Defensive POY award who was not apart of Philadelphia. Tedd Weiss and Eli Sanchez continue their tradition of taking turns with the Goalie of the Year Award. 


Coaching Changes 
After a surprising turn of events, the normally ill-tempered Bobbie Nolan, kept Charles Miles as coach of Philadelphia A.C. claiming that the team failed not due to his coaching but to the lack of depth. Thus, he became the first owner to hire a General Manager separate from the team’s coach. Which in its own way spoke how Nolan thought about his coach. Rube Garey, was the man hired as Philly’s GM. He was the coach of Villanova’s Handball club in the 40s. 

Both Boston and Pittsburgh fired their coaches. Former Pittsburgh coach Russel Fertig was expected to be a valuable commodity, despite 3 straight 5th place finishes, due impart to his ties to European Handball. While the two regions have not been on the best terms (the USA was not even considered for the 1954 Handball World Cup) they thought Fertig could be the branch between the two, whether or not he coached a team remained up for debate. Fertig made it clear he wanted to coach and only coach. The only team willing to risk it to get Fertig was none other than the Boston Unicorns. An unlikely pairing as Boston ranked 2nd in offense last season while Fertig is a defensively oriented coach. Fertig also announced that he will travel to Europe during the winter to coach a junior level team in Germany called Munich Wanderers, and while there he will promote the AHL to the European leagues.  

Pittsburgh on the other hand landed on PITT coach Ridley Horsfall. Ridley will attempt to coach both teams at the same time as they both play in the PITT arena. Horsfall is a generally balanced coach which should aid the teams developing defensive core of Willi Traves and Dean Garner, as well as should be good for developing the star talent of Jordan Dunst. 


Trades 
Nothing crazy on the trading block this year unlike last years Cyrus Richardson trade. However, a three team trade took place between Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. Pittsburgh receives former MVP winning pivot, Melville Pond from Philadelphia. Philadelphia receives former starting center, Earnest Lynwood from Cleveland. While Cleveland gets pivot Alex Hutson from Pittsburgh that they plan on turning into a defensive side pivot, as Cyrus Richardson is aging and his defensive capabilities have slowed. 


1956 Players Draft 
1 - Boston Unicorns - Reggie Elvis, B, 22 - PITT 
2 - Pittsburgh Lions - Talbot Baker, W, 21 - Ohio State
3 - Philadelphia A.C. - Kelley Hiedler, W 22 - LSU
4 - Washington Warriors - Joseph Read, G, 20 - Michigan 
5 - Washington Warriors (CLE) - Cody I’Anson, B, 21 - Ohio State 
6 - New York City Lightning - Blythe Kurzmann, C, 23 - Penn State 

Boston gets one of the best 2-way back prospects the AHL has seen thus far. The 6’4 Back is drawing comparisons to a larger, more athletic Cam Gallagher. Both Wingers taken in the draft, Baker and Hiedler have just as much potential as Elvis. Hiedler being the faster of the two and is the first player from LSU drafted into the AHL. Washington drafted Cleveland local Back, Cody I’Anson who has one of the hardest shots in the NCAA. 


Other News
It appears Russel Fertig’s pilgrimage to Europe has paid off, some members of the German Bundesliga have appeared interested in the AHL as well as some of its players. However, so far no European player has decided to make the transition over to the AHL. Fertig has 3 more seasons left on his contract with the Munich Wanderers to promote the league. On the other hand. Commissioner Bell in preparation to Bell Cup VI being played in Toronto has finally announced that any non-american player looking to play in the AHL must enter through the draft, but once drafted can negotiate for any size contract, not just the regular draft contract players sign. The only international players of note that will enter the next draft is Canadian Goalie, Gilles Lesauvage. 


Expansion NewsOnly thing of note was the announcement that the 1958 Bell Cup will be located in St Louis, Missouri. Which makes the next three; Toronto, Chicago, St Louis. 
 

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