EMLH - NHL 04 PC Online Hockey League, Since 2006
Player leaders
Goalie leaders
Defensemen leaders
Rookie leaders
Stanley Cup Champions

2006-07  Vikfee
2007-08  Konopes
2008       Konopes (2)
2008-09  Juventus
2009-10  Vikfee (2)
2010-11  Maestro
2011-12  Konopes (3)
2012-13  LandStalker
2013-14  Juventus (2)
2014-15  Maestro (2)
2015-16  Steel
2016-17  Gargamel
2017-18  Alaq
2018-19  FixxxeR
2019-20  FixxxeR (2)

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Interviews

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INTERVIEW WITH VIKFEE, founder of the league (OCTOBER 2019)

VikfeeMaster**, founder of the league in 2006, 2-times Stanley cup champion and honored member of league’s Hall of Fame is an untouchable legend of this league.

He agreed to give an interview and bring his point of view on the very first seasons as well as other interresting moments of his legendary career.

I am glad to announce that he as well agreed to become a 4th member of Council of Elders, replacing Valter in this honorable role for this season.

Enjoy the best interview in the history of this league.

First league season.

1/ How started idea of founding an online league in late 2006?

Vikfee: At that time I was still at high school and my school friend started FIFA online soccer league. I joined his league for a moment, and it seemed a fun. However, I enjoyed playing NHL 04 much more and so I took an inspiration from my friend to start the NHL online league. The online playing world was at that time booming too and given that NHL 04 league didn`t exist yet, I decided to change it. But I think that the idea originated at times when NHL 04 actually came out. At that time, my older brother, Radfee, who also played in our league, introduced me to the game. Soon we purchased second computer at home, and we also lured our neighbors to the game; we would have 5-6 people ready to play on LAN (not internet) platform. We then used to play small tournaments (often World Championship). This had been about 1-2 years before I started the online league.

2/ As an admin, how was you able to collect first 12 players for the first season?

Many people don`t know this, but I turned to online chatting platform, pokec.sk. I would advertise it there for about 3 weeks, 2-3 hours every day. It was a stretch and the worst part was that these people usually had no clue how to set up NHL and concomitant software to connect online. So, I spent then countless hours, explaining and troubleshooting one-on-one via ICQ. Interestingly, first season was actually a success in a sense that people were quite responsible in playing games. I spent whole my time on setting up the website, rules for website, creating system, schedule.. etc. There was no one to help. Just my determination.

3/ After winning the regular season (22 wins from 22 games) and the Stanley cup very smoothly, did you already able to imagine that later seasons will include world-class competitiveness including very best players in the world?

Not at all. I didn`t anticipate that league would go on, nor did I plan any further seasons or thought of future. It was only after Andrew joined the league that also many administrative and organizational aspects of the league improved. He brought the league to another level. After all hard work I did, my imagination was somewhat limited. When he started helping, and later even took over the league, I was actually positively shocked by how many new dimensions the league acquired. And I should say that the same is true for when Maestro took over the administration. My version of league appears amateurish to its current condition.

 

Second and third league season.

4/ Second league season 2007-08 had admin success, league grew to 16 players including big names like Konopes, Kalio or Hanes. In the 3rd year came Juventus and Maestro. As a founder, you had to be happy how was the league quality developing in such a short time, wasn’t you?

Absolutely! All named players were incredible addition. Honestly, during the first year, I was becoming little bit bored as the only competitor was my brother, Radfee, to whom I gradually became superior. (although there were times, when I lost the game 5-6 to nothing when the game came out. 😊 ) Konopes especially was an exciting acquisition, for I finally had a competitor. I learned that I am not necessarily the best in the world. 😊 I was actually happy to lose to Konopes because I wanted to believe that more people understand this game as good or better that I did, and I think I actually lost by contumacy to him due to technical issues with my internet at that time. It might sound strange, but my losing to him felt like a divine sacrifice made on the altar of this gracious game.

 

Further seasons.

5/ League was doing good next years too, the same as you. In season 2009-10 you won your 2nd Stanley cup and in 2011-12 you ended 2nd after regular season behind Krungthep but ahead of Maestro, Konopes and Juventus. How do you remember on this „golden era“ of the league?

Well, the 2009/2010 was a season were the gracious times that I mentioned above ended. The league was heavily competitive. I remember the final. It was an incredible victory for me. I turned the Stanley Cup Final from 0:3 to 4:3. Couple articles and comments were successively written about this final, so I don`t want to elaborate to much on it, but I just remember that this was crazily tight. In one game, I remember scoring a second or so to the end of the game. That was the moment were my surrender turned to strong confidence in winning. And I did. Juventus had to take 2 weeks off after the loss in final before he replied to me on ICQ. 😀 The season 2011/2012 was the actual golden era, and I couldn`t catch up on Krungthep`s skills and style. That season made me really proud as a founder of the league. We lived the golgen era…

6/ You ended your career in 2014 on epic 4vs4 Olympic tournament. No matter the result of Slovakia, memories remained?

In those years I started playing 4vs4 with Russian guys, who were immensely skilled in this type of game. I remember that this was a lot of fun and I always enjoyed having the player locked, because that`s were one must have not only have skills but also must have an understanding of the hockey itself.

7/ During the years, beside 2 Stanley cups, you achieved alot in your career. Dozens of league trophies including record 4x William and Jennings, Hall of Fame induction in 2015, List of 10 best league players of all-time in 2017… How would you evaluate your legendary career?

Looking backwards, I am proud for things I achieved, but there could have been much more. Sometimes during my playing times I was more oriented to a gameplay than to wining. Don’t get me wrong, I always wanted to win, but I was not a type of player that would win ‚regardless of what it takes.‘ Contrarily, I always valued more interesting and nice, hockey-like play over wining by using software programmed-like way of scoring goals. Here I am referring to many bugs that this game used to have and still has, even though many have been removed by the unbelievable rebuilt of the game. There were players who would shot the puck diagonally across the net in 10 of their 10 attacks. I wanted to be diverse, use back passes, puck possessions, play from behind the net and other versions of attacking play. Ted Lindsay award was one of my favorite awards. Funny fact: I was always a contender for this award and once people voted for me even though I didn`t actually play that season. The admin then put a stop to it. I think they just assumed that the voted for this trophy should go my way regardess of whether I participate. (laugh)😊 Nevertheless, there were big wins and bit losses during my career, and I learned during that time some lessons to my personal life too. I also think that this league actually cultivates even more legendary players, like Markow or Maestro, for their incredible consistency. Here I would like to take a moment and thank to not only winners, but to all players that have participated during times of my playing. It has been an honor to drop the puck agains all of you!

 

Afterwards.

8/ The league continued successfully away. Players like LandStalker, Zalta, Steel, Alaq, North Star, FixxxeR and others become without doubt to a group of best players in the history of world’s online hockey. Actually EMLH is only one of the two still running leagues in the world with oldest history. How does it listen to a founder after all those years?

It`s almost unimaginable. Thinking that the best players of the world participated in our league shows that our league was the one to provide the best platform available world-wide. It must have been an honor to everyone to be a part of those times. There was a time when vikfe blog looked couple levels below the NEHL. But EMLH subdued its rivals in consistency, organization and history. Nowadays we are the legend in the playing world and the rest really Is a history. 😊

9/ It would be very special for the league if such a legend like you would stay with us somehow. Maybe as the 4th honorable member of Council of Elders only responsible for participating on chosing next Hall of Fame member after this season, would you please accept such an offer?

It would be a privilege to function in this role and I am happy to accept the role. I visit the website almost on daily basis, mostly from a habit. I know the schedules, the standings and particularly pay attention to the end of the season and then during playoff. In a sense, I have never left the league.

INTERVIEW WITH FIXXXER, CHAMPION 2018-2019 (MARCH 2019)

Maestro: Hi Master FixxxeR, congrats to the Cup. You will ever be considered as one of best players of this league and to my opinion you are closer than any other to become a Hall of Famer in the near future. Yeah. Nice career so far 🙂 If possible I’d like to ask you couple of questions for your fans (they are lot! ).

FixxxeR: Thanks for the congratulations, Maestro. It’s very nice to become a champion here and stand next to such legends as Vikfee, Konopes, Landstalker, Steel, you … 🙂

1/ It was nice season with a great finish, wasn’t it?


Yes, despite the small number of participants, the season was not only successful for me, but also interesting. Of course, the standoff against Arta stands apart. Just as it was usually very difficult to resist Tiborr, Ice Cold and Maestro. By tradition, Joseph was able to take away my points. But Dave could not take points with me, although he was very aiming and deserved at least a couple points for sure. Doberman, Valter, Salud – each of them is also able to impose a fight and play against them was not easy.

 

2/ You have finished the regular season only one point behind sovereign Hart trophy winner Arta. How would you evaluate your regular season performance and results?

In general, of course, I am satisfied with the results of the regular season. Arta and I went all along side by side and we decided to postpone the battle for the first place to the final round. He was stronger and rightfully won first place.

3/ Playoff. Round 1 against Joseph and win 4:1 in series. It looks like Joe resisted in first three games pretty much, didn’t he?
Yes, to be honest, with Joseph it was harder than I thought. In the first three meetings, I invariably missed a goal first. I lost one game, I dragged the other two into overtime, and there I could hardly win. Then apparently Joe was upset that he could not take at least 1 victory in OT, and could not show the same cool game as in the first three matches. But it was a very worthy performance, Joseph!

4/ Semifinals against strong TibOrr. How was it?
Semifinals against Tiborr on the heat could be compared with the final. He won the first game, led the second one and a half minutes before the end, and I was already resigned to the fact that he would lead in the series 2-0, when Tiborr unsuccessfully played as a goalkeeper and Johansen took advantage of this, equalized the score and gave me a chance, which I used at the start of overtime. Then I won the next 2 games and led the series 3-1. I do not know how it would have happened further if it were not for the mistake of the Pittsburgh goalkeeper at the end of the second game.

5/ Superstar Arta and Stanley cup Finale. You were already down 1:3 !!! How did you managed to come back? What was your feelings?
It was my first Stanley Cup final, as for Arta. Arta without defeat passed the first round and the semi-finals, which, I am sure, added to him great confidence in his abilities. He also had an advantage in the form of his host. But I knew that his host is very good and I would be quite comfortable playing on it, so I did not look for neutral hosts for my home games, and we played all the games on his host.

I already managed to forget the first game, which I won again in overtime. It seems so long ago.

But I remembered the second match – it was a turning point. I controlled the game (as it seemed to me), and led with the score 2-0 by the middle of the match. But in less than 3 minutes the scoreboard was 2-2. Arta won back very easily and quickly returned to the game. The third period took place with an equal game, and then a loss occurred at LA. I took time out in the hope of using the powerplay, but it turned out the opposite – Arta scored in the shorthanded and won a strong-willed victory, after which he took 2 more games quite confidently and was one step away from the Stanley Cup.

Before the next game, I just thought that losing the final 1:4 would be too easy, and I need to hook at least one more game. I managed to do this thanks to Arvidsson’s winning goal 18 seconds before the end of the 3 period.

Having won the game number 5, I believed in myself, and was very charged in the next game. But already the beginning of the game was undermined by my mood – having received the powerplay, I again missed a goal. And how – Subban got the puck from his goal and launched the puck in the direction of his own goal – Rinne did not expect such nonsense and was powerless. In the first period, the second goal also happened – and Arta went to the first break leading 2:0. When I score one goal at the beginning of the second period, I soon missed again – 1:3 by the middle of the match. I was overwhelmed with emotions, time played against me, but I told myself that I needed to calm down and continue playing without fuss. After 5 minutes, I again reduced the gap to one goal – 2:3. Then I had one period left to save the game. It did not take long to wait – leaning on the goal, Arvidsson and Johansen made the score equal.

Well, then was the magic of numbers, not otherwise – Ryan Ellis through the center entered the opponent’s zone and made a slapshot – it’s a goal! Why magic of numbers? Because the scoreboard was frozen at 11:11 of the third period! Then LA rushed to the attack – and the most memorable was a responsive slapshot from Kovalchuk, but the puck, hitting the Rinne trap, jumped into the crossbar. The score remained unchanged – 4:3.

My emotions after a comeback to 3-3 are hard to describe. On the one hand, I got out of a difficult situation, on the other – now I could not let myself down and still lose the series. Before the 7th game, we took a pause of one hour, and I just got distracted from thoughts about the game, brewed tea and put the emotions in order =D

 

6/ Most of your finale games were about 1 goal difference. How the hell did you managed to win the game 7 by 4 goals?
The 7th game – here the thriller did not happen. Perhaps it was my best game in the entire NHL 04 online career. I was very attentive and played almost perfectly in defense, and in the attack I managed to use my chances.

P.S. An interesting fact – playing playoffs in two leagues – here, in EMLH and EAPHL, at the same time 2 players from Omsk city were my rivals. In parallel with this, the KHL playoffs have now started – and there the team from my city in the first round also plays against the team from the Omsk. And the most interesting thing – after this final, Arta and I will meet again in the second round of EAPHL playoffs! It will be hot!

Maestro: Thank you for the interview Master and enjoy feeling of a champion!

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