Do you miss sports?
For most, the answer to this question is ‘more than I could ever imagine’ and that’s certainly the case for me, especially that both the current season and future season for our beloved teams are in jeopardy.
So, in order to get my sports fill, I contacted the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA for short, in order to collaborate on a mission to find alien planets which have perhaps invented sports we don’t even know of. However, after my initial lift-off, having broken out of the stratosphere, I was pulled in to a wormhole and, in complete terror, piloted back to this world’s version of earth as fast as I could. When I eventually arrived, I discovered that in this reality, ice hockey is the only sport that exists!
Here, as opposed to cleats and bats, the Phillies lace up skates and tape up sticks, as do the Sixers, Eagles, and Union. So, in this alternate universe, who would be crowned champion of the first annual Philadelphia ‘other sports play hockey’ tournament? The voting will be later, but for now, let’s go over the rules.
Obviously, as the Flyers are a professional hockey team, they won’t be participating as they would wipe the floor with anyone else involved. Each team will have two forward lines, two defense pairs, and one goaltender, and will be seeded based on how well they finished their most recent season. We will also presume that in this universe, everyone knows how to skate poorly, and any real world possible ability to actually skate will only improve their chances in this thought exercise.
First, however, we will actually create our teams.
At the number one seed, by far having the best season of any of the teams, are the representatives of the NBA, the Sixers. They finished third overall in the Eastern Conference in 2018-19 (51-31, 0.622 winning %), and made it to the Eastern Semi-Finals where they were defeated by the Toronto Raptors in seven games on a ridiculous Kawhi Leonard shot.
They will line up as follows:
They will be led by goalie captain Joel Embiid, who is playing in net because he is literally seven feet tall, and presumably will take up most of the net by sheer size alone. The rest of my selection I’ve made on a very rough basis, since I know very little about basketball.
From what I’ve seen, Ben Simmons is quite fast and agile, and is a decent finisher from in close, so he becomes our goalscoring winger on the first line. Additionally, he can actually skate...or so I thought. Kendall Jenner was skating in Philly, though Simmonds was watching from outside the ice.
Al Horford, as a basketball center, presumes to be very defensively responsible and so he’ll become our hockey center. Josh Richardson, as a three point shooter, can work the corners as the third forward on the line.
The second seed, having made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, are the Eagles. As we all know, they faced off against the Seahawks with essentially nobody at the skill positions, and bowed out in the wildcard round. However, their incredible resolve to get themselves to that point translates to some good ol’ fashioned grit and determination, which hockey men adore.
They enter with this line up:
Obviously, as an incredibly mobile quarterback, Carson Wentz will lead the first line as its center and primary playmaker, surrounded on either wing by the fleet-footed Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz, who I can only imagine would be a power forward.
The second line is a little more free-form, with pass catchers making up the entire line. Perhaps this team’s strength is their defense, with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham providing a punishing force at the back. I’d imagine they’d play a very 90’s brand of hockey, with large hits and net-crashing offense.
The third seed, having made it to the conference semifinals, are the MLS side, Philadelphia Union. They secured a 16-11-7 record in the 2019 MLS season, finishing fifth in the MLS table (I think the MLS playoffs are dumb but that’s another story). They line up as follows:
The Union’s strength lies in the international composition of their lineup. They also have an added bonus of having a number of European players from countries with a strong existing hockey culture such as Poland, Norway, Slovakia and Germany. This doesn’t guarantee at all that they can skate. However, it could help in terms of hockey smarts.
Union captain Alejandro Bedoya will captain their hockey team as well, joined on the top line by center-forward Kacper Przybylko, who as a target-man in MLS can play as a power forward up the middle. Matej Oravec, who plays as a defensive midfielder, can assist the line in winning the puck in the corner on the forecheck and provide energy in hassling the opposition.
Jakob Glesnes, a center-back from Norway, will hope that his powerful cannon of a shot will translate to the power play, and Andre Blake is one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, and as former Chelsea and Arsenal player Petr Cech has demonstrated, sometimes it translates well!
Finally, rounding us out with the fourth seed will be the Phillies, who went 81-81 in 2019, finishing in fourth place. They line up this way:
Perhaps the Phillies have an understated advantage in that their sport involves holding an object that isn’t the ball or puck used in play. This could mean they would be more used to holding a hockey stick, as with a baseball bat, as an extension of one’s body. Maybe that’s complete nonsense, but I’m trying my best here.
Bryce Harper gets the nod as captain, and honestly, the playoff beard alone means he’s deserving of that honor. As a home run hitter, his power should provide plenty of goals being fed to him from accurate-throwing playmaker Aaron Nola. Rhys Hoskins will play the other wing, and has the size to succeed in hockey. On the second line, Scott Kingery, aka Scotty Jetpax, can provide speed as a depth forward, and J.T. Realmuto, as the BCIB (best catcher in baseball) should do well in goal.
Now you know the teams, now you, yes YOU, get to vote on who moves on and who goes home.
Vote now! Poll ends in a week:
1 Sixers vs 4 Phillies
This poll is closed
2 Eagles vs 3 Union
This poll is closed