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My Tournament Experience


Bob Kudelski
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I have been jotting down notes about my King of 94 experience all week. It’s time to bite the bullet and just post what I have.

First of all, I’ve done the drive to Toronto hundreds of times, often for big and exciting events, but I’ve never felt so pumped as when I heard Halifax’s voice talking about the tournament on 102.1 the Edge at 9:45AM. That was awesome!

Now, to summarize my tournament games..

Game #1 (Jon W.) W BOS 10 - LA 0

I was placed in Group H with a few decent forum guys and I wanted to start things off on the right foot, so I picked two teams I like a lot - Boston / LA. I think Jon was a bit rusty and I had been playing guys like Annatar, AngryJay and the Saskatoon boys the night before, so I was ready to go. I got to 10-0 with about 2:30 left in the 3rd and that was that. Jon seemed pretty pissed, and later I found out why.. he was actually a strong player who ended up making the final 16 and even beat someone else 10-1.

Game #2 (Shayne M.) W STL 3 - QUE 2

I had a bit of a scare in this one as I regretted putting STL in play and got stuck with them. I am not very good with STL as I find them too slow and sluggish. This guy played really strong D and I eeked out a 3-2 win. Looking at the tourney results, you can see he is a strong player. He only lost by 1 goal to three guys from the forums (myself, Halifax and Omega Red). With a bit of luck, he could have finished top 10 in the tournament. He is a legit player and online would be a strong competitor in a Classic B league with potential to go to A.

Game #3 (Omega_red / Mathieu LG) W VAN 6 - WPG 2

I don’t remember much about this game, other than I like Vancouver more than I should. Linden and Bure is a killer combo. Omega Red is a strong player, he displayed good sportsmanship and was gracious in defeat.

Game #4 (Schwartz / Mat S.) W QUE 10 - MTL 5

This game was for 1st seed in Group H and I wanted that 1st seed pretty bad because I knew that a relative unknown (Jason T. / Ilve4NHL94) had already gone 4-0 in another group and I wanted to put myself in a good position to succeed in the final bracket. I knew from online play that Schwartz was a top player when he was on his game, so when I noticed him having a couple drinks, I decided to let him keep drinking before approaching him for our game! That’s probably why I put 10 goals past him. I don’t remember the game, but it was a pretty friendly match since Schwartz is a great guy.

I finished the group stage with a 4-0 record and now I could relax. I grabbed something to eat with my hype man (my wife Kristina) and the rest of our hardened crew from the streets (my British mother in-law and Kristina’s girlfriend Simran). Eventually, I found out my first matchup in the final 16 was an unknown guy named Mikail who scored a lot of goals in his opening bracket, destroyed my brother, and took Annatar to OT. Annatar said he was skilled, but I figured I would be able to shut him down defensively and teach him a thing or two when it comes to scoring goals. Boy was I wrong..

Finals Bracket

Game #5 (Mikail) L BOS 6 - NYR 11

I settled in to play Mikail and he picked a BOS/NYR matchup so I jumped at the chance to play with my fave team (Boston) on home ice. Everything was going great, and then the game started. Mikail plays fast and furious, which caught me off guard a bit. When he scored, his hype man yelled obnoxiously which is not ideal since I was used to playing alone in a dark room. I was rattled. He pumped in a bunch of goals and all of a sudden, I was down 9-1 or 10-1 in the second. I felt like I wanted to get up and leave, but I thought, there’s no way I’m getting mercied in this tournament, so I hunkered down and went to work. I slowed things down a bit and fought back to make it 11-6. It was a moral victory, but I knew right then and there that Mikail was legit. I remember walking away from that game and seeing the look on Omega-red’s face, who had watched the game. His look was one of shock and sympathy at the same time, like “oh s**t, sorry man”.

Game #6 (Mark F.) W WSH 7 - LA 0

Mark F. was a super nice guy and I had a good chat with him. I felt bad when I absolutely destroyed him as his significant other watched. This was a good confidence builder after the Mikail debacle.

Game #7 (stheds2000 / Brian G.) W BUF 3 - WPG 2

This was a big test for me as I met stheds2000 in the Classic A finals in 2012 and he was one of my picks to finish top 4 in the tournament. He is one of the best defensive players and we always have tight, low-scoring games. I took the Mogilny-led Sabres as I do not like the Jets. We had a super-tight game that was 2-2 until a lucky bounce landed on Mogilny’s stick with 30 seconds left in the 3rd. Game, set, match. It was a garbage goal, but I had to take it. I felt bad for the guy. This was the goal stheds2000 would later point to as the moment that things started to go downhill for him.

Game #8 (BoKnowsNHL94 / Adam C.) W WSH 5 - BOS 4 (OT)

After my earlier 7-0 win with Washington, I remembered that they had a killer defense and very solid team so I felt comfortable pitting them against Boston, knowing I could win with either team. The main thing here was to not bring Buffalo into the picture as we all know (other than that BoK loves Mogilny (although the90Jacket apparently didn’t get that memo). I don’t remember how the game went, I just remember feeling great relief that I beat BoK who was a definite contender.

Game #9 W (etevans / Etienne E.) W WSH 10 - NJ 3

I know etevans loves NJ, but he probably didn’t need to put Washington into play. I jumped at the chance to grab Washington as it’s a bit of a mismatch against NJ. Etevans’ burger and fries arrived during the opening faceoff so it was kinda funny as we had to pause so he could pay the server. The poor guy hadn’t eaten all day! I ran away with this one, but etevans was clearly distracted with that juicy burger sitting there getting cold.

Game #10 (Jason T. / Ilive4NHL94) W NYR 7 - WPG 2

I knew Jason T. was a strong player as he went 4-0 in the qualifying round and was putting up some nice goal totals. I felt fortunate again to get a favourable matchup, as I believe Winnipeg is one of the weaker teams in SNES despite having Selanne. Things went well for me in this one as I was able to score some pretty tic-tac-toe one-timers off the rush and I think I eased up a bit towards the end as I cruised to victory, feelin’ good.

Game #11 (Annatar / Oliver) L CGY 4 - LA 3

This was key matchup against the tournament favourite and my online rival. We always have close games and I knew it would come down to some small moment, like a post, or a penalty. I liked the matchup as LA is one of my preferred teams and I gave it my best but hit a couple posts at key times. In one instance, I had him beat on a penalty shot, but I hit the post. In another instance, I took THREE penalties on one whistle. Brutal. I had the game all tied up 3-3 in the 3rd when I got a partial breakaway with Carson while the clock winded down. I had the goalie beat and Carson’s backhand hit the post with literally 2-3 seconds left. Even the rebound off the post was batted around by Carson’s hand as he tried to put it away but somehow the puck stayed out! Annatar quickly put this one away in OT. I had to walk away for some silent, alone time after this one. I hate losing close games, but Annatar never gloats and is always humble in victory.

Game #12 (Jason T. / Ilive4NHL94) W CGY 4 - WSH 3

I had to play Jason T. again and felt pretty confident about it. I picked the matchup, but was not all that happy when he selected Washington. Calgary on the road against a tough Washington team is not ideal so I knew I had to stay focussed. Mikey placed $194 on the table between us and I quickly realized this was a big game to determine who was in the money, and who was going home. I think I got out to a 4-1 or 4-2 lead, but then Jason made it close by scoring with a couple minutes left in the 3rd. All of a sudden, I had a tiny 1 goal lead, and with everyone watching at this point, I was really feeling the pressure. As the clock ticked down, he got one last rush and of course it was a breakaway and he ended up with a penalty shot with 3 seconds left in the third. This was the biggest penalty shot of my life. His skater came in straight at me and made a slight move to the right where I met him with my goalie so he couldn’t get the shot off. It was over. I was in the money! I probably should have celebrated at this point, but I wanted to keep it cool and remain focussed on the ultimate goal. Jason has some good skills, he finished 4th in the tourney, and could probably be competitive in Classic A league.

Game #13 (Mikail) L OTT 6 - SJ 2

As Mikail was destroying guys and even handed Annatar a loss, I wanted to throw him for a loop by selecting two weak teams. I have played a lot with Ottawa so I was confident I could score some goals and play some good D with Maciver and Shaw. I figured most people regard San Jose as slightly better than Ottawa (they have Doug Wilson!), so I picked this matchup. Of course, after a few moments of contemplation, Mikail selected Ottawa! This was not good for me. I never ever play with San Jose. I didn’t even take the time to look at their lineup. I should have switched their D since I like a righty on the right and a lefty on the left. I also should have listened to Annatar and put Perry Berezan in from the get-go. I am so unfamiliar with SJ, I didn’t even know who was who. I still don’t even know what number Wilkinson is vs. Wilson. I was a mess this game. I kept it really close, but he got some goals that shouldn’t have gone in, and some lucky bounces. There were two goals where the puck just happened to rebound to his player in front of an open net. There was another goal on a mediocre shot from the sideboards when my goalie was set and square to the puck. I still don’t understand how that one went in. Even Mikail told me he’d never seen a goal like that. Nothing went right in this game. I regret not taking the time to set SJ’s lineup. I also regret trying this matchup. I should have gone down swinging, i.e. by picking two good teams like BOS, LA, PIT, WSH, DET etc. Immediately after my defeat, I accepted the 3rd place trophy and cash from Mikey, but it was hard to put on a smile and hide my disappointment.

Looking back now, I can say I am happy with my tournament. My goal was to win it all, but I told myself I would be happy with a top 4 finish, which I accomplished. I had some bad luck, but I had some good luck too. I had 4 wins by just one goal. Can’t complain about that.

The whole weekend was surreal and amazing. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything quite like it. I actually got PAID to play NHL ‘94!! I hope we can do something similar again in the future. Maybe next year the tournament weekend will coincide with the release of a film perhaps? Maybe some red carpet action at TIFF? One can dream.

And now, some acknowledgements:

Mikey – What an awesome event. It was a no-brainer for most forum guys to attend, and I think it was well worth the $45 for all the non-forum guys. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and I hope you got some great footage. If this can be repeated annually, even something similar, that would be amazing. Thank you, good sir!

Halifax (Darrell)– You are a true father figure for the SNES guys, as you were for pretty much everyone else at the tournament as well. Thank you for your hard work. I thought you might relax Saturday night after a long day, but there you were organizing the big pizza order for us at the hotel! Thanks bud! You also played great in the tournament by the way.

Evan - I was happy to meet the man who built a place for all of us ‘94 lovers to come together. Thank you man!

Chaos (John) - Great to meet you in person! You are a good dude. Thanks for returning my controller to me and lending yours to Annatar.

Annatar (Oliver) - Usually a rival is hated, but I could never hate you. In fact, my wife and mother-in-law were cheering for you more than they were for me. You are a great guy and I didn’t mind losing in OT to you because you are damn good. It was really great to meet you. Thanks for your support when I was playing other guys (i.e. Mikail). I had your back too. You finished the tourney as the best SNES guy from the forums, as expected. Congrats!

Schwartz (Mat) - I loved the hat! One of the most interesting and generous guys I met. I’ll never forget our cab tour to the LCBO at 11pm. Sorry I left your 2L ginger ale in the cab! Let me know if you ever want me to send you pics of my backpack - you seemed to be really into it.

Shaftman - One of my old sparring partners on SNES. It was great that he made it to TO for this event! He is as nice as he is tall (very). I’m pretty sure Shaftman is the name on his birth certificate.

Boknows (Adam C.) - I had a mental image of BoK as a large black man so I was surprised to find that he was a blonde dude. Funny guy, great player.

stheds2000 (gorecki) – part of the S’toon crew, a favourite going in, had a rougher tourney than expected. Probably due to his flight delays and arriving in TO late Friday night. Great guy, great jacket. I still do not know hwo to pronounce stheds2000.

the90jacket – A very welcoming dude. Thank you guys for hosting us in your room for our pre and post tournament games. Thanks for your encouragement for me and the other SNES guys in the final 16. I was really surprised you didn’t make it since you were playing awesome in our warmups Friday night.

Tylerdeanhill – The other brother. Great guy. Very chill. Thanks for letting us use your room and for the support buddy! If I’m ever in the S’toon, you guys will be the first ones to know!

SNESboy - I didn’t get to play Mike all weekend, but he looked like a very solid player. Great jers

Omega Red - I overheard someone talking in a French accent about how they recognized the name “Bob Kudelski” on the schedule so I had to introduce myself. It was great to meet this guy and his crew as I could tell they were pretty excited for the event. We were chatting about the tourney and online play, when we realized there was a boom mic and camera in our faces, so hopefully some of this footage ends up in the film.

Etevans - Super nice, quiet guy. Great to meet you dude!

McMarkis - Nice guy. Very surprised you didn’t make the final 16.

TonyTwist - did not get to meet you! s**t.

A few impressions of the Genesis guys I met:

AJ – It was pretty funny to hear the radio DJ’s saying the guy from Sacramento had no chance because they don’t have hockey rinks there! Nice guy in person despite the “come at me bro” persona. Finished third in Sega and probably could have just as easily finished third in SNES. Great player.

Smozoma – A fellow Ottawa guy I had previously met when Mikey was in town in February. awesome job on the spreadsheet and great playing with a top 10 finish.

Kingraph – It’s hard not to like this guy. Always smiling, great attitude. I’m glad to have met this legend. I can’t imagine how tough that it have been to come so close to winning it all.

KGMan – I saw him sleeping on couch earlier in the day and thought he was a random dude off the street. Then I see him later hoisting the cup over his head. Congrats!

Brutus - I’ve never seen anyone want to smash a SNES so badly. What a guy. Glad to meet you buddy!

Uncle Seth/Buck - I met these guys briefly - seemed like great guys with great attitudes.

I didn’t really get to meet and talk to other names I recognized like Icestorm, Sebe, Coach, TomKabs, Witt, Zeppelin, jer, but maybe next year!

I should also mention it was nice to have a few friends and family that either played in the tournament, or watched. I was worried it would be a distraction, but it was great.

I know I’ve forgotten someone, so sorry about that. If any of you guys are ever in Ottawa, let me know and I’ll point you in the direction of good food and good times, and we can play some ‘94 of course.

Edited by Bob Kudelski
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Great read, was surprised you got Mikail on your first match in the final 16 since you finished #1. I guess he finished 4th in his bracket? I'll obviously go check the SNES bracket to see how that happened. But two losses to the champ and one to Annatar, sounds like they were all tight except for that first blowout. Great job!

Are TylerDeanHill and the90Jacket brothers? I was talking to them Saturday night and then realized they were towering over me. Makes sense if they are...I wouldn't want to mess with that crew, lol.

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Great read, was surprised you got Mikail on your first match in the final 16 since you finished #1. I guess he finished 4th in his bracket? I'll obviously go check the SNES bracket to see how that happened. But two losses to the champ and one to Annatar, sounds like they were all tight except for that first blowout. Great job!

Are TylerDeanHill and the90Jacket brothers? I was talking to them Saturday night and then realized they were towering over me. Makes sense if they are...I wouldn't want to mess with that crew, lol.

They are indeed brothers

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Game #11 (Annatar / Oliver) L CGY 4 - LA 3

This was key matchup against the tournament favourite and my online rival. We always have close games and I knew it would come down to some small moment, like a post, or a penalty. I liked the matchup as LA is one of my preferred teams and I gave it my best but hit a couple posts at key times. In one instance, I had him beat on a penalty shot, but I hit the post. In another instance, I took THREE penalties on one whistle. Brutal. I had the game all tied up 3-3 in the 3rd when I got a partial breakaway with Carson while the clock winded down. I had the goalie beat and Carson’s backhand hit the post with literally 2-3 seconds left. Even the rebound off the post was batted around by Carson’s hand as he tried to put it away but somehow the puck stayed out! Annatar quickly put this one away in OT. I had to walk away for some silent, alone time after this one. I hate losing close games, but Annatar never gloats and is always humble in victory.

I got suuuper lucky at the end of this game. The way you described it is exactly how it went down. How the puck stayed out I don't know. I think it was probably so disturbing I was able to steal the win in OT. I don't remember exactly how I set up the winning goal but I think it was a quick one timer on the right side from Fleury.

In retrospect this was not a good matchup for me. Calgary is one of those teams that on paper should be awesome but in practice I never seem to get the most out of them. You like the same teams as me so I should have known you'd take LA. Again I remember nothing from this game except the very end, but it was the least stressful of all the knockout games for me cause I wouldn't have been overly upset if I'd lost.

Interesting how you also picked that WAS-BOS matchup. I didn't realize that. Really didn't work out for me in the last game but my team didn't show up either. I would take Washington against anyone... still. I liked your idea to take OTT-SJ against Mikail but those teams are tough on the road.

Great write up man! I will definitely have to make the trip to Ottawa sooner rather than later.

Edited by annatar
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Game #2 (Shayne M.) W STL 3 - QUE 2

I had a bit of a scare in this one as I regretted putting STL in play and got stuck with them. I am not very good with STL as I find them too slow and sluggish. This guy played really strong D and I eeked out a 3-2 win. Looking at the tourney results, you can see he is a strong player. He only lost by 1 goal to three guys from the forums (myself, Halifax and Omega Red). With a bit of luck, he could have finished top 10 in the tournament. He is a legit player and online would be a strong competitor in a Classic B league with potential to go to A.

Yeah I remember playing him and I squeaked out a win. I remember telling him I was outplayed.

I knew from online play that Schwartz was a top player when he was on his game, so when I noticed him having a couple drinks, I decided to let him keep drinking before approaching him for our game! T

Haha, I remember you telling me that on the day. I think schwartz could play with 10 beers in his system and still play admirably.

Brutus - I’ve never seen anyone want to smash a SNES so badly. What a guy. Glad to meet you buddy!

The video he recorded on this was great!

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I knew from online play that Schwartz was a top player when he was on his game, so when I noticed him having a couple drinks, I decided to let him keep drinking before approaching him for our game! T

Haha, I remember you telling me that on the day. I think schwartz could play with 10 beers in his system and still play admirably.

Hhahah how dare you all use the sweet nectar of the gods against me. As much as I would love to pin it on the beer, I was widely outclassed in that game with Bob.

Great write up man. See you in Classic.

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