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Lemo Pihl SMJHL introductory piece
#1

(First media piece, hoping for those double points, obviously Wink)

New Estonian sim hockey hope Lemo Pihl attempting to break into Simulation Hockey League! But who is Lemo Pihl? Let’s find out!

Lemo Pihl as a character was born - or ‘dates back’ would probably be a better expression – some time in the mid-1990’s when three young Estonian boys met each other and became friends during their summer vacations in one of many compounds of summer houses on the northern coast of Estonia, just west of the nation’s capitol Tallinn. As it turned out after a little bit of playing together on and around the local playground and nearby forest and beach, all three of them had also just recently begun to draw their own comic strips, inspired by the wave of both western and local comic strips and books that had sprung up after the nation’s independence from the great big bad Soviet Union some years earlier. As they added comics-drawing gatherings to all the other stuff they got up to together, after a while an idea emerged of collectively producing an action comic combining characters from all their creations. This new production called for a new pseudonym – and Lemo Pihl was born!

Now that’s all well and fine, you might say, but how does this actually pertain even remotely to anything hockey, you might ask, since this is indeed a hockey-centric site here?

Well, fast forward a few years from there to the beginning of the new century and suddenly two of these three boys discover quite by accident – in this country surrounded by great hockey countries, but certainly not at all a hockey country itself – the incredibly action-packed wonder that was the new NHL2000 by EA Sports! From there on these boys were hooked on hockey! - at least the virtual kind, anyway. This was also to be the beginning of Lemo Pihl’s virtual hockey career, as he was soon created to be a member of the boys’ custom expansion team!

To follow NHL2000, of course came some of the sequels and then another level beckoned for Lemo Pihl, as he stepped up to become a general manager when the legendary Eastside Hockey Manager by finnish hockey-buff programmer Risto Remes got picked up by the great Sports Interactive and given the actual Championship Manager engine to build a new version of the game on. Quite the dream come true for Risto Remes, to be recruited to work on your own creation by the team that inspired you to start working on it in the first place, but also a dream come true for all those hungering for virtual hockey manager game to rival the great Championship Manager of football.
And Lemo wasn’t going to miss this for the world! Over the next few years and editions of EHM, he went on to claim countless virtual cups managing his teams.

By the beginning of the new decade though, disappointed in the discontinuance of EHM by SI, Lemo had grown tired of what the aging EHM editions had to offer him and sought new challenges elsewhere. But the last gift that EHM still had to make him was an advert on EHM’s The Blue Line forums, drawing attention to a new online hockey manager sim, WebSim Hockey. Under an assumed alias, Lemo decided to check it out.

Although initially skeptical of what this browser-based hockey manager could offer him, WebSim Hockey turned out to be almost exactly what Lemo had been craving! It had a contract with the actual NHLPA, allowing them to officially use the names and likenesses and real-life statistics of NHL players to base their player pools on. They provided two different styles of player evolution – Real-evo, where the players’ attributes change after each season according to their real-life performance in the past season; and Virtual-evo, where the attributes evolve more or less according to set formulas. Together with the ability to play multiple leagues simultaneously and the possibilities of creating custom player sets for leagues, it was easy to find oneself neck-deep in a multitude of different leagues in no time at all! Although the game’s day-to-day seemed slow at first and it had no play-by-play commentary for the matches, it made up for that with other interactive gimmicks like user-generated newspaper articles and tough in-depth financial systems and an active community.

WebSim Hockey once again fulfilled Lemo’s thirst for virtual hockey for the next several years as he grew from an eager rookie to successful established veteran in the community there. But as all things lose some of their lustre over time, no matter how many times they are polished over, so also did this hunger for something new start to grow sprouts again in his hockey heart and mind.

So when an invite to the newly rebooted Hockey Dynasty was presented him through some WebSim friends, Lemo decided to check that out as well. Now in his third season there, his hopes are already on advancement to the top tier.

But what are all these described travails worth to the context of this introduction? Only this…

As one thing has led to another throughout Lemo’s virtual hockey career, so did joining Hockey Dynasty finally present him with the invite to where we are now, the Simulation Hockey League.
A sort of going back to his roots as a custom player before becoming a general manager of his own right, here Lemo will again be lacing up his virtual skates and taping up his virtual stick and attempt to prove his mettle once more on the virtual sheet of ice, like he did already once long ago…

***

SO, that’s the backstory, but Who is THIS Lemo Pihl then, anno 2020 and what are his aspirations in this league?

- Hello! I am Lemo Pihl from Estonia. It looks like I might be one of only two Estonians here and to be honest, I’m not too sure if the first one is even really Estonian – Kalevolaripaavo Käspertommevisnapuu, that sounds awfully like joke name up by some finnish bloke ?. Besides, the traitor now plays for Norway!

- Anyhow, I am a 200lbs 6’ 2’’ left wing looking to become a good counterattacking forward in this league. My aim is of course to help my team win every game and I will try to do whatever is in my power to help us reach championships together!

- I’d like to think that my playing style is balanced and responsible and maybe a bit more about solid positioning and smart plays rather than just running around wild-eyed looking for something to hit or shoot, but I do like to be on the lookout for a good outlet pass and maybe go a bit avant-garde sometimes too, when the moment seems right ? Can’t wait for that reality check though, when my coaches start giving me some proper feedback :D

- Although I missed the SMJHL entry draft this summer, I am very glad to have come to terms quickly after my arrival with the Anchorage Armada and very thankful for the opportunity they have given me to advance both my own skills and their quest to reach the SMJHL championship once again. I am confident that I can become a valuable member of the team and that the work I will have put in will not go unnoticed when the next SHL entry draft comes.

- So far this first week has been a busy one, learning about the way things are done in this league, getting to know my new team and new home town. It’s been pretty overwhelming at times, but my teammates have been super helpful and supportive, which is great to see.

- Since the season had already just started when I signed with the team, I got plugged into the lineup pretty much right off the proverbial boat and that transition was kind of a tough one at first – I think I was on the ice for like 4 of the 5 goals scored against us in one game in the beginning there, which was just crazy embarrassing for me – but luckily the coaches haven’t lost faith in me and things have gotten better over these last few games now too.

- Going forward, I’m looking to just get on up to speed on all the ways that I can best earn my updates and trying my best to make the most of them!

- Anchorage, and Alaska in general so far looks like a beautiful and awesome place to be! I can’t wait for the opportunity to see more of it first hand! It’s sort of like my home country Estonia too,  which is also close to the same latitude and next to the sea, but of course the sheer scale of the ocean compared to the Baltic Sea and then the MOUNTAINS make it very different at the same time!

- Big shout out to all my Estonian fans who are rooting for me back home! I will try to keep you updated weekly with my new Twitter account @lemopihlSHL. Come follow me now!

- Also big thanks to my finnish friends @jänkkä for putting me onto HD and this here too, looks like great fun and I’m sure I’ll come to enjoy it even more as I get used to things a bit more ?

- Here’s hoping for a great season of progress from myself and the Armada! I think we have a great team capable of making some big noise! We’ll certainly be coming at them with all cannons blasting, they can be sure of that!
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