Wednesday, February 13, 2013

World Heroes

During my time at university, my friends Jake and Tom wrote a hockey version of Space Jam titled "World Heroes". It was so much more than that simple description, however.

It was a big hit among our friend group and made its 1500-word debut on Paul Maurice's Wikipedia page, where it lasted a few days before someone took it down. It was a constant topic of conversation, an endless source of hilarity, and even the inspiration for Halloween costumes. It eventually spawned a Facebook group that surprisingly attracted people who weren't in our friend group and consisted of people arguing over how badass a fictional Paul Maurice really was. He was much more badass than that fictional Chuck Norris, for the record.

I recently found the original story on my computer and just had to share it. Now, this is a period piece. There are players that made the alien-battling squad that seem laughable today, but it was written around 2006, so keep that in mind. Also, the roster was almost constantly changing and tongue-in-cheek at times; for example, at one point Roger Federer was playing defence. So, if you argue that so-and-so should have made it, then you're missing the point.

Aside from some minor grammatical changes, the story is the same as it was originally written.

In 2009, Zorp Orgad, a representative of the Martian Republic of Power will descend upon Earth and demand a seven-game series between the best possible compilation of human players and the Martian All-Stars. The Martians state that if the humans either decline or lose the series the Earth will be destroyed.

Shortly thereafter a team of players was assembled by Earth, aptly named "World Heroes". That day and the several weeks following would witness the most important inter-galactic Ice Hockey battle to ever take place, and arguably the most decisive moments in the 4.5 billion years of Earth's history.

Captained by the incredible Joe Sakic, World Heroes consisted of the nineteen finest men on the planet. Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla, Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin, Henrik Zetterberg, Dany Heatley, Gary Roberts, Teemu Selanne, and Chris Drury filled out the forwards. Even as impressive was the defence, led by Scott Niedermayer, and accompanied by Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger, Tomas Kaberle, Dion Phaneuf, and Jason Smith. Martin Brodeur was named the lone goaltender.

Though the team had been named, the world was still in need of a leader. On August 7th, 2009 the United States Government had no choice but to name Paul Maurice, currently on tour with the ILKF (International League of Knife Fighting), the coach of the team that would decide the fate of the Earth.

Immediately following his appointment as coach of World Heroes there were several attempts made on the life of Paul Maurice by Martian spies as well as the bitter Lindy Ruff, all of which were easily avoided and the attackers were swiftly dismembered.

When quizzed about the events Paul Maurice shrugged and promptly responded, "I've killed before and I'll kill again."

As you can imagine, controversy was rife even before the puck was dropped.

Allegations of outrageous cocaine use and constant solicitation of hookers were thrown at Maurice relentlessly by the media. On top of that, he had recently been arrested for the possession of thirty-two thousand guns and several rocket launchers. He publicly silenced his critics by staring into the news camera for thirty minutes without a blink. The world took notice. This was the man they needed, this was the man we wanted. The hero was born.

Outside of the Paul Maurice media circus there were other pressing dilemmas. Joe Sakic, controversial captain of World Heroes, was coming off his worst season ever, with only 12 goals and 48 points and a minus-19 plus/minus rating. Sakic and the Colorado Avalanche had missed the playoffs for the first time in the team’s history. A large group of would-be supporters, led by Jason Spezza, who was surprisingly omitted from the team, called for the prompt departure of captain Joseph Sakic.

At a press conference leading up to the series, Jason Spezza unleashed a verbal battering against Sakic. Before Sakic was able to reply Paul Maurice clutched Spezza by the throat and punched out the whiny centreman.

The stage was set. Games one, two, five and seven were to be played on Earth, while games three, four and six would be held on Mars. The Earth games were played in Rexall Place, Edmonton, Madison Square Gardens, New York, CSKA Sport Palace, Moscow and Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto. All games on Mars were played on the dreaded thirty-nine kilometre high, eight-hundred and fifty thousand seat Mount Olympus Chaos Arena. When questioned about whether he and his players would suffer a disadvantage playing in such a location, Maurice responded by saying, "I'm sure we'll enjoy the scenery," and took another puff of his cigarette.

Thus, the series began with Maurice looking on.

Games one and two were won easily by the Martian All-Stars. With 6-0 and 10-1 victories, respectively, World Heroes were collectively brought to their knees and the global population silenced. Hope dwindled.

On the shuttle flight to Mars, Paul Maurice gave what is now known, in Martian, as the "DALA-GRAK", the most inspiring and prolific speech ever given. Onlookers still wonder whether a small piece of the late Winston Churchill had been reborn inside the man who spoke before them.

In closing, Paul Maurice declared "Times will change... era's end... but we are all forever men, and as men, we write the pages of history and history does not end anytime soon."

Game 3 began.

World Heroes came out firing. They went ahead 2-0 in the first period on goals by Peter Forsberg and Henrik Zetterberg. The human side would have been ahead by even more if it had not been for the superb goaltending displayed by Nebulus-9.

The second period saw a dramatic change in play. With several questionable penalties called against World Heroes, the Martian All-Stars were able to capitalize and net three power play goals. Our Heroes were shocked. Going into the third period, World Heroes faced the possibility of falling to an insurmountable 3-0 series deficit.

With their biggest stars failing to impress and hope fading fast, it was the young Henrik Zetterberg who played the role of saviour. Two late goals in the dying minutes gave himself a hat-trick and gave World Heroes a badly needed victory.

Game 4 had quite a buzz while Head Coach Paul Maurice was badly hungover. While outing his smoke on Chris Drury's neck he looked on at the dressing room wall with brutal contempt. The demons inside Paul Maurice could not go unnoticed. Unaware of how his present condition affected his team, World Heroes lost the game 4-1 in what is generally regarded as the most lacklustre effort by a group of men. Contributing to the pain was the tragic death of a World Hero... Henrik Zetterberg. Caught squarely in the jaw by the shoulder of Rakton Klack, the Swedish Game 3 star was killed instantly. Paul Maurice, at the time, could hardly have noticed. He would.

Maurice was the first to realize the blame for the events of Game 4 fell solely on his shoulders. He was determined to make amends. He promised himself he would kick the alcohol for the remainder of the series, cigarettes and women would have to do.

On a more personal matter, Paul Maurice sought out and murdered Rakton Klack. He was ready to go back to Earth, he was ready to win.

Games 5 and 6 saw World Heroes put together some fine performances and force a game 7, with Alexander Mogilny coming out of retirement to replace the deceased Zetterberg and play some very fine, smart, and quality defensive hockey. As good as the Martian All-Stars were, World Heroes were that much better.

With victory no longer a certainty, the Martian Republic of Power turned to more devious tactics in order to win the series. They set out to end Paul Maurice's tenure as coach of World Heroes... permanently.

On the day of the Game 6 victory two Martian police officers were killed during a routine traffic stop. Somehow, Mars Judicial Council of Judgement placed Maurice under arrest for both murders. He was being framed.

When asked "how do you plan on defending yourself?" Paul Maurice explained that he would be his own attorney. As he was being mocked by the Martian judge for defending himself, Paul Maurice responded in a rising whisper and said, "Well, your honour... the best defence... is a good offence." After which he pulled out two guns and began unloading on those present in the courtroom. Once the guns were quieted the chase was on. Maurice leapt through the third floor courthouse window and fled the thousands of rampaging Martian soldiers who were hot on his tail. Maurice could see the end of his road, the Martian gorge opened up before him with his attackers still trailing—bullets whizzing past his head like flies. With no other choice, Paul Maurice leapt into the gorge. Shortly after jumping Paul Maurice ignited his jetpack, leaving the Martians in the dust.

Game 7 was here.

World Heroes hit the ice with intensity never before seen by men. They grabbed the opening goal on a classic Joe Sakic wrist-shot from just above the hash marks. The Martians, however, would not lay down and went on to score the next three goals. Stunned but not beaten, World Heroes fought back, once again led by Joe Sakic. A one-timer through the five-hole and a shorthanded goal that Nebulus-9 would certainly like to have back tied the game for World Heroes. Still, the Martians took the lead again before the end of the second. Though unrecorded, whatever it was that Maurice said in the dressing room was undoubtedly the deciding factor. Tying the game was Joe Sakic with his fourth goal. It would come down to overtime.

It was once again Joe Sakic scoring the goal with Paul Maurice looking on with adoring eyes. Scott Niedermayer sprung Joe Sakic on a breakaway where he fired the puck over the glove hand of the Martian 'tender. World Heroes had won, Earth was safe.

Bonds between captains and coaches have come and gone, but this was different. And while the glory was sweet, the battle for Maurice had not ended, the bitter taste remained. As a gesture of love to the father he never had, Joe Sakic cut the "C" out of his jersey and gave it to Paul. Then, with heavy heart, watched the world's most dangerous man blast away into the sky... forever.


Anonymous said...

I will never forget the sacrifice Henrik Zetterberg made for this planet. RIP

Anonymous said...

Thanks Hank, RIP.


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