The Klein Cup is officially destined for Quebec City, with Red Army prevailing as the Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League’s playoff champion for 2021. The undermanned Gators put up a good fight through three games of the final but Red Army broke it open in Montreal’s lone win and pulled away for the expected victory as Tampa Bay put the finishing touch on their repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Red Army won by 30.25 fantasy points — with an 11-versus-3 advantage in remaining players — to capture the Klein Cup, which will now be engraved and shipped to la belle province where franchise owner Luc Grenier plans on parading around Grande Allee and the Old city. He’ll certainly be sipping fine wine and perhaps savouring his favourite poutine from the Klein Cup, with photo ops being half the fun amid those celebrations. “The Red Army are proud of their playoff run that ended up with the Klein Cup. It kind of saved our season. Yes, we had finished second overall (in the regular season), but we wanted nothing but first place,” said Grenier, who spared no expense in bolstering Red Army’s roster for their inaugural campaign. “It’s a special feeling for me and my silent partner. We feel we had assembled a very special team, maybe the most talented group that this league had seen so far. So we’re proud to have delivered a championship to our fans.”
Backstopped by Carey Price and powered by Nikita Kucherov, Red Army rolled through the UFHL playoffs while riding the momentum of Montreal’s improbable run in the NHL — eliminating the Stallions and Grizzlies in the Gretzky Division bracket before downing the Titans in the semifinals, enjoying breakout performances from Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield along the way. Red Army was rewarded for their bold strategy of loading up on Canadiens — with seven of their 13 picks in the UFHL Playoff Draft after selecting Kucherov second overall — and no longer needed any luck in a final that was a foregone conclusion given their manpower mismatch. “Thanks to our players, who have been outstanding. Thanks to Nikita Kucherov, who has been a superb addition. Thanks to all the Montreal Canadiens’ players we had in our lineup (nine in total). We selected because we believed in them. Without them, Red Army wouldn’t have won the Klein Cup. A special thanks to Carey Price, who has been the Klein Cup playoffs’ best player,” Grenier said in a prepared statement that also shared the spotlight with his support staff. “Thanks to Jeff Rea, our Director of Amateur Scouting. He has been there every day and without him, all this would not have been possible. Thanks also to Jeff Rea’s assistant Andrew Grover, our affiliated scout. Thanks to my assistant general manager Adam Stephens, who has been a precious ally on this season and playoff drive. He is at home with his family after battling cancer again in the recent months. Our prayers and our thoughts are with him. And our players played for him in the final.”
Red Army was built to win this season but is presently in the process of retooling — shedding salary and accumulating SCORE Coin (SCO) in hopes of securing a UFAFL franchise in next weekend’s auction. That is the next goal for Grenier — to become a player in the Ultimate Fantasy American Football League. As a result, Red Army is bidding farewell to a dozen roster players, including established stars such as Mikko Rantanen, Drew Doughty and John Carlson as well as younger core pieces in Carter Hart, Adam Fox, Miro Heiskanen, Kirby Dach and Nick Suzuki, among others. “Red Army will have a different face next season,” acknowledged Grenier. “The economics play a great role in sport. We knew we would have to make hard choices in the future because of the cap. We received great offers, so we decided to move certain players. We thank them and we wish them the best. “Congrats to all owners and GMs of other franchises. Keep up the good work. Believe me, winning all is worth it!”
Grenier really won it all this year — also winning the second annual UFHL/NHL Playoff Pool thanks to betting on Montreal repeatedly as well as his Red Army franchise from start to finish. That netted Grenier an extra 495 SCO, finishing 20 points ahead of the runner-up, Marcus Borkowsky, for another convincing victory. Winning did come at a cost when it came to Red Army’s 13 leased players — each of whom earned $50.93 for their respective non-playoff franchises through the UFHL’s revolutionary leasing system. Even without that $662.09, Red Army managed to top $5,000 USD in total earnings this season ($5,034.72) — second only to the Ice Vikings, who surged down the stretch to overtake Red Army for the Founders’ Trophy ($7,940.03). Alas, Quebec City will be getting their long-awaited Cup parade this summer — with Red Army accomplishing in their first year of existence what the Nordiques failed to do over their 16 seasons in the NHL. But Grenier promises to throw a party that will help his fellow Quebecers forget that heartache of losing the Nords — and of the Habs’ loss in their latest Cup quest — while growing his fan base for the Red Army franchise. “As last words, we would like to thank the UFFS founders, who have created such a great league. We also want to thank all the UFHL staff from administration to broadcasting,” said Grenier. “Now let’s focus on the celebrations. We have a parade to organize. It will take place when the Cup gets here.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the league will shift their focus to the upcoming drafts and auctions, with the UFHL Expansion Draft slated for July 22 followed by the Entry Draft Auction on July 24. The deadline for protected lists ahead of the expansion draft is July 17, though half the league already has side deals in place with the Bentley Jacks — 15 picks are now locked in, to be revealed during the live broadcast, with 16 more selections to come, barring additional trades. Stay tuned for exciting times ahead!
2021 UFHL Entry Auction Draft Order NOTE: The Entry Auction is the UFHL’s version of the annual NHL Entry Draft but works a little differently with five franchises getting to bid on each draft spot. So 1-5 will be bidding on the first overall pick, with the remaining four and No. 6 bidding on the second overall pick. First Round 1) Duckman’s Domination 2) Eliminators (Royals) 3) Tornadoes (Royals) 4) Bentley Jacks (Generals) 5) Blizzard (Snipers) 6) Assassins (Tornadoes) 7) Norse Stars (Generals) 8) Warriors (Red Army) 9) Monarchs (Generals) 10) Generals (Snipers) 11) Mystics (Red Army) 12) Godfathers (Generals) 13) Snipers (Monarchs) 14) Dynasty (Monarchs) 15) Crypto Knights 16) Kamikaze (Tornadoes) 17) Stallions (Norse Stars) 18) Strong Island (Titans) 19) Battlehawks (Outlaws) 20) Brutes (Tornadoes) 21) Blades of Steel (Mystics) 22) West Coast Express (Outlaws) 23) Royals (Ice Vikings) 24) Yetis (Blizzard) 25) Grizzlies (Duckman’s Domination) 26) Stingrays (Duckman’s Domination) 27) Rock Republic (Titans) 28) Outlaws (Duckman’s Domination) 29) Titans 30) Ice Vikings (Kamikaze) 31) Gators (Kamikaze) 32) Red Army (Duckman’s Domination) Second Round 33) Duckman’s Domination 34) Tornadoes 35) Bentley Jacks (Tornadoes) 36) Blizzard (Tornadoes) 37) Assassins (Duckman’s Domination) 38) Eliminators (Monarchs) 39) Norse Stars 40) Warriors (Yetis) 41) Monarchs 42) Generals (Outlaws) 43) Mystics (Tornadoes) 44) Godfathers (Snipers) 45) Snipers (Monarchs) 46) Dynasty (Tornadoes) 47) Crypto Knights 48) Kamikaze (Tornadoes) 49) Stallions (Godfathers) 50) Strong Island 51) Battlehawks (Monarchs) 52) Brutes (Titans) 53) Blades of Steel 54) West Coast Express (Tornadoes) 55) Royals (Duckman’s Domination) 56) Yetis (Red Army) 57) Grizzlies (Tornadoes) 58) Stingrays (Battlehawks) 59) Rock Republic (Red Army) 60) Outlaws (Duckman’s Domination) 61) Titans 62) Ice Vikings (Godfathers) 63) Gators (Red Army) 64) Red Army (Duckman’s Domination) NOTE: Dynasty receives Duckman’s lowest (worst) 2nd Round Pick.