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BHL: Leg One of Round One (Preliminary) of the Flowering Branch Cup 336 NR


The Flowering Branch is the eternal symbol of the health and vitality of the Borschic nation. You can visit the Branch in the Rijksmuseen (National Museum) in Staff Borsch, although you are not likely to see it flower, as it is legendarily only supposed to do so every 300 years and it just flowered 2 years ago. You can read about the adventures of the Flowering Branch as it became a political football (or hockey puck) in the book The Skater and the Saint.

Here are the results of the first leg of the preliminary round of the Flowering Branch Cup 336 NR:

(Image by David Mark from Pixabay

5 Brouwergild v. Linblad 5: This central Borschland rivalry ended with Brouwergild scoring 3 unanswered goals in third to knot the score. But now that Linblad has five away goals, Brouwergild has to win away from home to get to the next round.

3 Itasca v. Octavion (Vinasola) 0: Itasca, behind the stellar goaltending of Bevinlunz protegé Koort ter Eduardus, blanked the visiting Romans.

4 Zwischellund v. Eahnstaff 3: A very tough game with 9 penalties ended in the home team taking down the win. Zwischellund has the Meenesanne prospects, Eahnstaff has veteran experience. Anyone’s series as we head back to the mouth of the Borschland River for the deciding game.

6 Noj-Sporting-West (Dafna) v. Ereblad 4: Dafna’s Holtzlund recruit Dujter Gelterkint scored four goals to blunt the Shepherds’ feisty visit to the mountains.

12 Pohlmatische v. Gerijnigen Brandujwijn 4: Pohlmatische had two players with hat tricks as they overwhelmed the apple pickers of Lisandra country. Look for centerman Horst Rucktescheeld on Dohmatische soon.

7 Rubujnsteen Mijnsoort #8 v. Hijst 7: The Ruby Miners, who punched their ticket to this competition by winning a play-in game versus mountain division cellar dwellers Genk, do not have an up-to-spec home rink, so they had to travel to Dafna for this game versus the Bjaward-area town of Hijst. It was a wild and wooly game with the lead changing five times, and Rubujnsteen would have won except that Hijst managed two goals without a goalie in net for the last 1:57. Miners’ coach and goaltender Kevin Busby took personal responsibility for the team’s lapse: “In the provincial league no one ever pulls the goalie. We’re not that serious. So the boys were a little at loose ends on what to do.”

8 Kanaal v. Schmendefergild 0: Kanaal, which is loaded with Matexiparian prospects, put an old-fashioned whipping on the Railroad Men of Rjaward. Defenseman Jens te Bracht had four assists.

2 Skujklub Jorkë v. Retter 3: The Coast Guard Academy boys had an excellent showing versus the veteran club from the mountains. Retter's airship ride back over the mountains to the coast was a rollicking affair, but after the game the cadets had to go back to training for water rescues.

4 Eschmass v. Groot Maalstaff 4: A seesaw battle ended with Groot Maalstaff securing 4 away goals for a good start to the series. Eschmass features 17-year old Bernt Sneecklachen, a defender who figures to play on Lojren or Sajbell in the coming years.

6 Verbrodering-Hammerspujl v. St. Benjamujn 3: Verbrodering-Hammerspujl won in convincing fashion as fans of Tarlunz swelled the crowd to over one thousand standing supporters.

3 Veenknechtgild v. Gull-Overboom 11: Chanting “Here comes the Overboom,” supporters of this small beach town celebrated their team’s convincing victory by drinking the night away in the pubs of Atterische. Gull-Overboom is blessed this year with a trio of excellent forwards (Nils Nujenhuus, Philippe van Drescher, and Wiebe Oonk) and they are poised to make headlines in the Flowering Branch Cup.

3 St. Grundel-Mittelmascht v. Wootenmaas 1: The Swampers took advantage of the late arrival of their opponents, who were delayed by an unexpected snowstorm that grounded their airship (the only way in and out of St. Grundel). Wootenmaas could only manage 11 shots on goal for the game.

2 Fratres (Vinasolan ex-pats) v. King-Frujdrick-Nojkapeel 9: The Fratres were hampered by the average age of their players (37 years old) as King-Frujdrick, with several Sajbell hopefuls on their team, ran rings around them even at home.

3 St-Pujtr-Altstaff v. Veefgoodergild 3: Rjaward’s unofficial second team came to this historic coastal town and left with their destiny in their own hands. The Red Deacons of St-Pujtr-Altstaff were game opponents with a large crowd of supporters. It took a late short-handed goal by Marius Lammers of the Packers to knot the score and guarantee an invitation to the next round if they win at home next game.

0 Brachtebold-Krosstop 4: Krosstop’s excellent team, which includes the half-Vinasolan skating sensation Marcus Feelsbruck-Marcellinus, held the hapless Brachtebolders to 15 shots on goal. Brachtebold recently held the distinction of “the worst ice hockey team in the history of Borschland” when they went 1-23-4 in the year 333 NR. It’s ironic since Brachtebold has a first division field hockey team and many of the same players play on both teams.

2 Patineur Alma-St.-Nicholaas-Meechenstaff 2: A tough-fought game with the Meechen second-teamers showing up well away from home versus a disciplined Mountain Skaters squad. It’s too bad one of these teams has to leave the competition after the next game, as both are top-flight clubs in the Mountain division.

Week Four - Borschland Hockey League

Check out the standings---> look right under Borschland Deep Dives!

3 Bjaward Te Staff 1

Te Staff’s early season woes continued as they traveled to a spirited Bulltown to find their opponents tough and energetic on the puck. Bjaward built a 3-0 lead before Te Staff finally got a marker from veteran Bernt Gruun. Bjaward’s Breet van Hejgl stopped 28 shots while defender Joris Sudmaas chipped in two assists.

4 Holtzlund Onatten 1

Back on home ice, the Axe Men made short work of the traveling Longshoremen. Onatten tend to do much better at home than away, and they have never done well in Erichels at the foot of Mt. Borschika. Lourens Noordhall, the winger who is the son of famed mountain climber Bengt Nordhall, had two goals in this one, while goaltender Schmidt Max gave up only one (power-play) goal in 20 shots. The Lumberjacks took four penalties in this one, uncharacteristically high for Borschland hockey. "I don't mind the boys taking a penalty now and then if it means keeping the other team honest in our attacking zone," said coach Dirk Eechen after the game.

2 Dohmatische Bevinlunz 3

Dohmatische scrapped hard in a matchup between a veteran, smooth-skating team (Bevinlunz) and a young team still trying to find its identity on the ice (the Swamp Hawks). Dohmatische was holding tight at 2-2 in the third period when defensebear Valiant Black was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for baring his teeth and snarling at Bevinlunz center Severin Handschin. The penalty proved costly, as Handschin assisted on a wrister from Gunther van Wijk at 2:37 to go. Bevinlunz is the only team with a perfect 12 points from their first 4 games.

3 Meechen Sichebach 2

Meechen’s Wiebe Kappe, beloved forechecking defender, got the game winner for the Proud Lions at 11:52 to go in the third, after Sichebach had tied it earlier in the period. Sichebach’s defense has stabilized after giving up 6 goals to lowly Meenesanne, and their performance against a disciplined Lion side was admirable, but they will need to find ways to score more if they want to stay out of the bottom of the table. Meechen looks solid and confident as they lean on Zimrothian goaltender Welneth Ungarth, a four-year veteran.

5 Rjaward Lojren 2

The Cattle Drivers continued their winning ways at home, dispatching traveling Te Lughaus and their star winger, Kai Ganesmund. Ganesmund had an assist, but Rjaward’s Jens Klijnehoop had a brace of goals and an assist while netminder Franck Pharendaal did an able job in stopping 21 shots. Pharendaal is indeed the grandson of former second minister Klaes Pherandaal and is sometimes called Mr. Parliament (in Borschic, Meester Volksvertegenwoordiging) by his teammates. Rjaward has now scored 20 goals in their first 4 contests, tops in the league.

2 Atterische Sajbell 0

Atterische’s regular netminder Markus Ortel yielded to his younger and more handsome counterpart, Wiebe Minther, in this one and Minther did not disappoint, turning away 31 shots against a frustrated Triton squad. Afterward, Minther brushed off the idea of a competition between him and Ortel, saying “I play when the coach tells me to play.” Atterische got goals from winger Jens Jeppernackt and Zimrothian defenseman Koldar Vorochel.

4 Matexipar Meenesanne 0

Matexipar’s Jaan “The Brick” Brichterglad was not tested much in this one, foiling 17 shots from outmanned Meenesanne, while Matexipar’s dynamic duo of Vitellius Vitellienus and Sigiswald Zberg shook 19-year old Zimrothian goaltender Gareth Valneth for three goals and three assists between the two of them. Valneth has given up a total of 23 goals in the four games he has played and will be replaced in net next game by journeyman Erick Ritsche.

4 Wrischer Tarlunz 3

Wrischer’s offense got enough to best the determined Steelmen, who were hoping for a point away from home up until 47 seconds left to go in the game. The first line for Wrischer had contributed 2 goals and 3 assists, but it was young Silvius Silvulus, the Vinasolan third-line winger, who potted the fourth and deciding goal for the Bargemen on a breakaway.

The Flowering Branch Cup Open Tournament 336 NR

The Flowering Branch Cup is the open tournament for all sanctioned hockey clubs in Borschland, from the most professional and high-powered to the local town teams.

The Borschland Hockey Federation sanctions a total of 64 teams in the tournament each year, 16 in the top BHL, 16 in the second division, and 32 in the 4 regional open divisions.

The first phase of the tournament is contested between the open division teams; each team is given a number and matched randomly with another team, also picked at random. There is no advantage for high finishers from the year before. The 32 teams then play a home-and-home series with that matchup, to produce 16 winners out of the open division. The tie-breaker is always number of away goals. If this is even, the teams finish the series with a shootout.

After the first phase, those 16 open division winners are entered into a pool of the 32 remaining teams to create a 48-team draw, again with random matchups. Another home-and-home series winnows the field down to 24, at which time the matchups are again randomly determined and the field narrows to 12, then to 6.

With six teams left, the two teams with the best goal differential in all games receives a bye into the semi-finals and the four teams left are randomly drawn to fight out a home-and-home series.

The four teams then enter the Holy Garland Finals, always played at a neutral site, one game per matchup, with the Championship contested on the rink of Te Staff in the heart of Staff Borsch.

So, without further ado, here are the matchups for the Round One (Open) phase of the Flowering Branch Cup, 336 NR. Pick your favorite team and may the puck land wherever Fate and the Saints will it.


Brouwergild v. Linblad: The Brewery Boys of central Borschland fight it out against local rivals Linblad, an apple and brandy town. Expect lots of drunk fans.

Itasca v. Octavion (Vinasola): The holy island of Itasca, just off the coast from Bevinlunz, features fishermen and sailors against the only team sanctioned in the Borschland Hockey League from the nation of Vinasola, the last outpost of the Roman empire.

Zwischellund v. Eahnstaff: The second team of Meenesanne goes against the tough-as-nails rivermen from the mouth of the Borschland River in Borschland's extreme south-east.

Noj-Sporting-West (Dafna) v. Ereblad: Mountain climbers and skiers from Dafna battle the shepherd boys from the foothills. Dafna is the second team of Holtzlund.

Pohlmatische v. Gerijnigen Brandujwijn: Peat-cutting country clashes with the national brandy guild located in the city of Lisandra.

Rubujnsteen Mijnsoort #8 v. Hijst: Ruby miners from the over-the-mountain province of Borschland go against the small-town boys of Hijst. The miners also include criminals who are doing hard labor in the mines but who have showed their mettle on the ice and earned the right to play in the Cup.

Kanaal v. Schmendefergild: Kanaal is the second team of Matexipar and probably too good for the open division, but that's where they find themselves. Their opponents are the Railroad Union Men, headquartered in Bjaward.

Skujklub Jorkë v. Retter: Jorkë is a small mountain town whose team is affectionately nicknamed the "Ski Club." Retter is the Coast Guard Academy located in the town of Onathav'n near Onatten.

Eschmass v. Groot Maalstaff: Eschmass is in the heart of hop country in central Borschland while Groot Maalstaff is on the coast near Sajbell.

Verbrodering-Hammerspujl v. St. Benjamujn: Verbrodering-Hammerspujl is the guild of iron workers based near Tarlunz. St. Benjamujn is a well-to-do suburb of Staff Borsch, so the matchup is local.

Veenknechtgild v. Gull-Overboom: Veenknechtgild is sponsored by the Peat Cutters' Union and is located near Atterische. Gull-Overboom is a coastal town near Lojren.

St. Grundel-Mittelmascht v. Wootenmaas: St. Grundel-Mittelmascht is one of the most isolated towns in Borschland, located in the middle of the Borschland River lowlands where timber and peat-cutting are king. Wootenmaas is an apple town in between Lisandra and Tisbe.

Fratres (Vinasolan ex-pats) v. King-Frujdrick-Nojkapeel: The Fratres are a team of diplomats and other Vinasolans living in or near Staff Borsch. King Frujdrick-Nojkapeel is a suburb of Sajbell and a historic place where the first church in Borschland was founded.

St-Pujtr-Altstaff-Veefgoodergild: St.-Pujtr-Altstaff was the first settlement of the Dutch in Borschland in 1646. It is now a small town in the suburbs of Lojren. The Veefgoodergild is the national association of meat packers located in Rjaward.

Brachtebold-Krosstop: Brachtebold (also known as Brachtebald) is a lovely hop-country town in central Borschland with a proud tradition of field hockey in the summertime. Brachtebold's team is in the first division of the field hockey league despite its small population (13,000). Krosstop is the sister town of Eahnstaff on the Borschland River delta.

Patineur Alma-St.-Nicholaas-Meechenstaff: Alma's second team goes against Meechen's second team in a matchup of the mountainous south. Patineur Alma has the tradition of being founded by Walloon Belgians, although no Borschic folk with pure Belgian ancestry now play for the team.

Week Three Results - Borschland Hockey League

New! Standings found in the sidebar to right under Borschland Deep Dives.

0 Sichebach Te Staff 2

Te Staff got well on the road after two straight home losses. Sichebach’s defense stiffened, but that wasn’t saying much as Te Staff’s anemic offense again scored only 2 goals, a welcome one by Sherm Reinhardt. The City’s Loflin first-line goaltender Korka enjoyed an easy night thanks to captain and defender Jeeluj Sudmaas.

4 Bevinlunz Holtzlund 3

Bevinlunz won a controversial game as Holtzlund gave the Merchantmen everything they wanted and more. With :58 left on the third period clock and the score tied 3-3, Holtzlund netminder Schmidt Max stopped a shot from Bevinlunz’s top winger Albuj Ploof and left a rebound in front of the crease, which centerman Roger Wijkenschaud gratefully scooped toward the top left of the net. But at the last possible second defenseman Frenz Ulbrecht deflected the puck with his stick and it went over the crossbar. Ulbrecht was called for high sticking and Bevinlunz poured on an attack that Holtzlund could not contain, winger Jens Holsloot potting a tip-in with 8 seconds left. Holtzlund Coach Dirk Eechen  put the situation this way: “It never was high sticking and never will be.”

2 Meechen Matexipar 2

An early-season monster matchup ended with the Iron Sticks earning well their point away from home against a game Lions squad that got off 37 shots but came away with only 2 markers. Matexipar principal goalie Jaan “The Brick” Brichterglad, a victim of an undisclosed illness the week before, returned to put in a stellar evening. Vitellius Vitellienus, the international from Vinasola, got his third goal of the season and an assist.

6 Rjaward Onatten 2

The Cattle Drivers made short work of an overmatched Longshoremen crew in their home opener for the season. Onatten’s Zimrothian netminder, Cendar Perdath, was pulled after giving up 4 goals on 7 shots in the first period. The rest of the way was better sailing for the Longshoremen, but a brace of goals each from linemates Gerd Zijterwoode and Henrick Te Kleerk made the difference for the confident Lassomen. Rjaward coach Conrad Ujdellin praised his boys this way: “They came out with fire in their eyes and never looked back.”

3 Sajbell Dohmatische 1

Sajbell held serve at home versus a Dohmatische team that was disorganized on offense and error-prone on defense. Six penalties on the Swamp Hawks, two on Loflinder defenseman Parn Uptek, resulted in only one power play goal, but it was the difference, as the Sea Gods’ winger Klaes Gootwen broke a 1-1 tie early in the third. Sajbell’s last goal was an empty-netter. Dohmatische is putting the most diverse team in the league on the ice with 8 international players and it remains to be determined whether this team can gel enough to contend for the championship or the Flowering Branch Cup.

4 Bjaward Lojren 0

The Bulls of Bjaward dispatched their opponents from the coast with ease amidst the pomp and ceremony of Bjaward’s traditional opening ceremonies, which featured a Grain Goddess pageant and the team entering the ice from an airship with a huge Bjaward logo on its balloon. The Grain Goddess is a local beauty who, once elected, is bestowed with the power to betroth one couple whose parents are unwilling to bless the union. This year’s Goddess, Hannelore Noordwoode, remained mum on who she might pick this year, as the Bjaward team put forward four individual goal scorers, including centerman Aleex Meessenhammer, who also had an assist.

3 Atterische Tarlunz 2

Trinity! Atterische’s Rijk Rijkstad was the hero of this game as he found the net thrice on the night to overcome the tenacious Steelmen. Traditionally in Borschland a “hat trick” is called a “trinity” and instead of hats raining down on the ice, women throw roses or other flowers, and if the goalscorer picks one up, the thrower is entitled to a kiss. Occasionally there is a dispute over who threw the flower, and tonight there definitely was as two young ladies claimed the honor. Rijkstad, Solomon-like, gave a kiss to both of them. Atterische’s netminder Markus Ortel, who stopped 26 shots, told the press in the merry and noisy changing room afterwards that there should be a similar honor for goalies that make shutouts. Rijkstad quipped, “You make a wall, you don’t let anyone through, not even the women.”

7 Wrischer Meenesanne 3

Look out for Wrischer! The Weavers of Meenesanne are not the best competition, but the Bargemen, two seasons past their historic championship, are looking unstoppable on offense. The prolific first line had four goals tonight, 2 by Beenz Grechtlin and one each by Tomas Scheelgrav and Korin Kugellicht. Meenesanne’s second-line winger Kai Grootlund had two goals, though that was cold comfort on a night when their netminder Gareth Valneth, 19-year old Zimrothian, had to be pulled early in the third period, having given up 7 goals on 22 shots.

Week Two Results - Borschland Hockey League

2 Te Staff Bevinlunz 3

Te Staff lost its second straight game at home to begin the season and in the process lost high-scoring centerman Christoff Anselm to a lower-body injury. Bevinlunz’s excellent goaltender Heiko Moordfors frustrated a second straight opponent, stopping 30 shots, and winger Wulf Noiklaes had a goal and an assist for the Merchantmen. Christopher Sacrament, Bearish defender, blocked 8 shots.

2 Meechen Holtzlund 3

Upset! Holtzlund defeated Meechen on Meechen’s own ice for the first time in eleven years. Little-heralded winger Grundel Masur, had a goal and two assists and goaltender Schmidt Max stopped 28 shots while the Holtzlund defense blocked 25 more. Axemen star defender Klaes Dievenhoven said, “The boys stuck together and weathered the storm against a great team.” Does this portend better things for the Timber Boys? Time will tell, but one thing is certain: the thousand-strong Holtzlund traveling fans had a enjoyable train ride back up the river to Erichels after the game.

4 Matexipar Rjaward 5

Upset #2! The Cattle Drivers came into Matexipar after a tough loss to Bjaward and hung in the game until 1:22 left in the third when defenseman Antonius Mujrefeld unleashed a lightning bolt from the right point that centerman Gerd Zijterwoode tipped past Matexipar goalie Nicholaas Untergrujn, who was playing for top goalie, Jaan “The Brick” Brichterglad, a victim of an undisclosed illness. Zijterwoode had two goals and an assist to counter the two markers for Matexipar’s Vinasolan international Vitellius Vitellienus. After the game, Zijterwoode praised Mujrefeld for firing away from distance: “With that little time left, we had to get something going. Toni always steps up. He was like the fire brigade today.”

2 Onatten Sajbell 1

Kip van Meeter was the hero for Onatten, scoring both goals for the Longshoremen. Onatten’s Zimrothian netminder, Cendar Perdath, didn’t have much work to do on the day as the Tritons of Sajbell came out extremely flat and stayed that way for the balance of the game.

2 Dohmatische Bjaward 2

Dohmatische held on against a determined Bulls team to save a point. Dohmatische is going with an all-bear first-line penalty kill this year, the first ever: center Grayson Mulebear, and defenders Valiant Black, Hubert “Hube” Bearishwood, and Clawson Rhododendron; they were perfect this game, killing three penalties, with Mulebear scoring a short-handed goal.

3 Lojren Atterische 3

Te Lughaus shined bright for two periods, taking a 3-1 lead into the third, but Atterische scored two early in the third and then held on for their point. Lojren’s Kai Ganesmund scored his second goal of the season, while Atterische’s star center Rijk Rijkstaff added a marker for the Peatmen.

1 Tarlunz Wrischer 3

Wrischer look to be a tough team to beat this year in the Borschland Hockey League. Their first line of Beenz Grechtlin, center, Tomas Scheelgrav, left wing, and Korin Kugellicht, right wing, accounted for all points in this one while goaltender Bengt Ambrooderhejm stood tall to deny the Ponders a second win in a row.

6 Meenesanne Sichebach 3

Sichebach’s porous defense has now let in 11 goals in the first two games, although this was closer than the score looked. With Meenesanne up 4-3 and a couple of minutes to go, coach Brig Kortlund pulled goalie Arnesten Schupinck, and Meenesanne proceeded to pot 2 empty-netters in a space of 24 seconds. Meenesanne’s veteran defenseman Philip Rooker had 3 assists to lead the team as six different players chipped in goals for the Weavers. Marck Munchmann had a goal for the Fox Hunters.

Week One of the Borschland Hockey League

With the NHL on pause, we at Breakfast with Pandora Books thought Twitter hockey fans might appreciate a little fantasy hockey. Today we bring you Week One of the Borschland Hockey League, year 336 NR, and the 77th of the league.

If you want to learn more about Borschland Hockey, click here.

Otherwise, enjoy the results and be sure to tweet @truenorthwrite with your comments, questions, rants, and favorite teams. Remember that the more you root for your team, the more likely it is to win the championship!

Week One Results


2 Te Staff Tarlunz 3

North American hockey star Sherm Reinhardt began his seventh season in the Borschland Hockey League with a disappointing loss to rival Tarlunz, only the third time in the last twenty years that the City Men have lost at home to begin the season. Sherm, now 31 years old, has lost a step from his earlier days and many wonder whether he should retire or be sold to a team in a lower division.

5 Meechen Meenesanne 0

Meechen looked particularly dominant in this year’s opener versus neighbor Meenesanne, as rising star Henk de Wilde scored two goals and assisted on another while the defense limited Meenesanne to 17 shots on goal. Meenesanne is again a true underdog this year, though they are hoping for big things from 19-year old Zimrothian goaltender Gareth Valneth, the latest prodigy from goalie guru Mendar Nurnar.

4 Matexipar Wrischer 2

The Iron Sticks clamped down on the Bargemen with a tough defensive stand and added a late empty-net goal that made the win look easier for Matexipar than it was. Wrischer’s first line, consisting of Beenz Grechtlin, Tomas Scheelgrav, and Korin Kugellicht, is set to light up the league this year and it was only the goaltending of Jaan “The Brick” Brichterglad that kept this game from going in Wrischer’s favor.

1 Onatten Lojren 1

Onatten and Lojren do not figure to be big factors in this year’s championship, and they played to an uninspiring tie before the Longshoremen faithful. Lojren’s Kai Ganesmund, veteran winger, provided the late score that spoiled Onatten’s home opener.

2 Bevinlunz Sajbell 0

Bevinlunz are loaded again this year with strong skaters in their prime, along with their anchor at goaltender, Heiko Moordfors, a perennial Waalter Trophy winner as top netminder. This year they have added a new bear to the mix, defender Christopher Sacrament, who is but twenty years old and yet as graceful a grizzly as anyone has ever seen in the league. Look for plenty of zeroes on Bevinlunz’s opponents scorecards this year.

2 Dohmatische Atterische 2

The old rivals of the Borschland River plain renewed their grudge match again for the 74th year, and it was a penalty goal by Quentin van Vleet, Atterische’s third line right winger, that knotted the score at 2 with 3:25 left in the second period. Van Vleet had a breakaway and was knocked off his feet by a brandy bottle thrown from the stands which shattered just under his skates. Play was stopped for several minutes to clean the shards of glass. The Atterische side of the stands were cleared for the rest of the game and an inquest as to the guilty party was initiated.

4 Bjaward Rjaward 3

The Bulls of Bjaward managed to hold off a late surge by neighbors Rjaward to claim a home victory to start the season. Bjaward, up 4-1 in the third with a few minutes to go, seemed to wilt after a second goal scored by Rjaward’s Jens Klijnehoop. The Cattle Drivers shot 22 times in Period 3 (44 overall), and goaltender Breet van Hejgl of Bjaward stood on his head.

5 Holtzlund Sichebach 5

This was a wild game played in the southern highlands of Erichels, with Sichebach’s centerman Marck Munchmann scoring three goals in the first two periods. With Sichebach up 5-3 and ten minutes to go, the Timberland Boys went to work, tying the score with only :34 left on the clock, thanks to veteran defender Klaes Diefenhoven.

The basics of the Borschland Hockey League

Borschland.mapWhile the NHL is on pause, we here at Breakfast with Pandora Books figure it's time to give hockey fans on Twitter something to root for.

And so we inaugurate the Borschland Hockey Blog, a full season of fantasy hockey from the league based on the Borschland Hockey Chronicles, of which the first book is Skater in a Strange Land.

OK, so here's the deal: you read up on the country of Borschland, the league, and the teams, and then you announce your allegiance to one of them. Tweet out your cheers, your questions, your rants. The more you tweet, the more likely your team is to win the championship.

Let's hope this hockey hiatus is a short one, but for however long it's gonna go, you'll have the Borschland Hockey League there for you.

So here are the basics:

Borschland: A country on a lost continent in the southern hemisphere about a thousand miles south-southwest of Perth, Australia. It's a land that time forgot: running on steam power produced from the country's native super-peat, technology is about on par with that of the turn of the 20th century. The country was colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century, and so the language is somewhat like Dutch. But it is also influenced by German, French, and the native peoples called the Loflins, who are highly ironic.

All you really need to know about Borschland, however, is that the locals are mad about ice hockey.

The game: Borschic hockey is played on a rink that's bigger than the regulation NHL rink. Skating, passing, and stick skills are at a premium. Fighting is rare and highly penalized. Borschland hockey is graceful, dance-like, but the players are tough and proud of their national game.

The teams: 16 teams compete in the professional first division, with dozens more in two lower leagues. The league plays a thirty game, home-and-home season. There are no playoffs, but there is the Flowering Branch Cup, which is the open competition between all eligible teams in the league.

1. Te Staff (Tuh Shtahff) “The Staff”: Staff Borsch is the heart and soul of Borschland culture and government, a real international city. The team oozes with tradition and its fans expect the team to win the championship every year. Championships: 29. Nickname: None, te Staff means "The City" and everyone knows who that is. Colors: Black, white, yellow. Logo: A goalie defending a city wall.

2. Tarlunz (TAHR-luhnss): This city is Staff Borsch’s industrial sister; it is also called the City of the Lakes because of its hundreds of small ponds and lakes, where hockey is played non-stop once winter has frozen them over. Its team is sometimes called the Ponders, the Lakers, and the Steel Men. It is the perpetual underdog to The Staff. Championships: 3. Nickname: Ponders, Lakers, Steelmen. Colors: Red and white. Logo: Fiery smelting bucket. 

3. Meechen (MEH-khehn): A beautiful university city on the upper Borschland River. The university team is used as a feeder to this traditional southern powerhouse. Championships: 8. Nickname: Roaring Lions. Colors: Blue and gold. Logo: Lion.

4. Meenesanne (Meh-neh-SAH-nuh): Absolutely stunning seminary city on the banks of the upper Borschland, with the mountains to the south behind it, it is not known for its hockey team. Meenesanne is a suburb of Meechen. Championships: none. Nickname: Weavers. Colors: Baby blue and white. Logo: Ram.

5. Onatten: Extremely important port city and processor/exporter of wood pulp. It is a rough and ready city of working-class people. They love their hockey and their Longshoremen. Championships: 5. Nickname: Longshoremen. Colors: Navy, red, white. Logo: Whale.

6. Bevinlunz (BEFF-in-luhnss): The main port city for goods arriving by rail from Staff Borsch metropolitan area. Hockey team is rich and always a contender. Championships: 3. Nickname: Merchantmen. Colors: Green, blue, white. Logo: Clipper ship.

Telughaus7. Lojren (LOHY-ruhn): A regional port and market center for the peninsula of Northern Borschland. They call their team in Borschic “Te Lughaus,” the Lighthouse. Championships: 1. Nickname: The Lighthouse. Colors: Black and white stripes, gold. Logo: Lighthouse.

8. Sajbell (SAHY-buhll): Sits at the north-eastern tip of Watravbai. It is a summer beach resort and a regional port. Sajbell’s team is sometimes called the Nor’westers, after the storms that come through in the winter. Championships: 1. Nickname: Tritons. Colors: Blue and silver. Logo: Trident and storm.

9. Matexipar (Mah-TEG-sih-pahr): The largest single city, population-wise, in Borschland. It is a working-class city of which the most important industry is steel. The Iron Sticks are consistently among the top five in the league standings. Pittsburgh Penguin fans, this is your city. Championships: 11. Nickname: Iron Sticks. Colors: Black and white. Logo: Raised hockey sticks made of steel.

10. Wrischer (VRIH-shur): A small regional center, dwarfed by Matexipar, with a university. Last year it won its first championship. Championships: 1. Nickname: Godmen, Deacons. Colors: Gold and red. Logo: candlestand with six candles.

Bjaward.logo11. Bjaward (Bee-YA-vahrt): Cattle and grain center in the southern plateau, it also has the best university team in the country and the pro team is not bad, either. Championships: 10. Nickname: Bulls. Colors: green and gold. Logo: Bull head.

Rjaward.logo12. Rjaward (REEY-vahrt): Small sister city to Bjaward, has the largest stockyards in Borschland. Working-class all the way. Chief Rival: Bjaward. Championships: 3. Nickname: Cattle Drivers. Colors: Purple and rust red. Logo: Lasso.

Atterische.logo13. Atterische (Ah-TARE-ih-shuh): Agricultural center and terminus for superpeat-cutting industry. The closest Borschland gets to an oil town. Chief rival: Domatische. Championships: 2. Nickname: Peatmen, Diggers. Colors: Scarlet and white. Logo: peat shovel.

14. Dohmatische (Doh-MAH-tih-shuh): Located in the fertile lower Borschland River area, it also serves as a peat center. The local Borschic dialect is heavily influenced by Loflin language here. Chief rival: Atterische. Championships: 2. Nickname: Swamp Hawks. Colors: Brown and orange. Logo: Swamp hawk.

15. Sichebach (SIH-khuh-bahkh): Textile mill city on the Borschland between Staff Borsch and Meechen. Perpetual cellar-dwellers in hockey. Chief rival: Menesanne. Championships: none. Nickname: Fox Hunters. Colors: Heather green and brown. Logo: Blunderbuss.

16. Holtzlund (HOLTS-luhnd, “Timberland”): Located in Erichels, the heart of the south-west tree-cutting industry of Borschland, this is a hearty working-class team that almost never makes any waves in the league. Nevertheless its fans are fanatically loyal. Championships: 1. Nickname: Timber Boys, Axemen, Lumberjacks. Colors: Green and white. Logo: Axe.

Next up: Week 1 results!