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.