IBlend99:Wochl original, elite defenseman, analytics extraordinaire, fan of the color red.
Lou and his Redrum have had a storied tenure in the WOCHL. Let’s hop into the time machine and review how Redrum was birthed and their time in the league.
Season 2: Lou rebrands “red team” to “Redrum”. The team misses the playoffs by a few games. The year was a good learning experience in the young league.
Season 3: The team finishes 1 point out of a playoff spot in a heartbreaking fashion. As Redrum beat Easy Work twice convincingly in a final push to clinch, Spittin Chicklets pushed their final game of the season to OT, grabbing the point that kicked Redrum from playoff contention.
Season 4: Redrum makes the playoffs convincingly. They sweep familiar foes in Easy Work and then beat Rampage in a game 5 thriller, controversy included. The team faces defending champions, Kraken, in the finals. The mango cup slips away from Redrum as Scotties’ Kraken repeat
Season 5: Redrum finished the season 4th in the coastal conference and 7th in the league. The team were dark horses that could make a deep run. Possibly avenging the finals lost the season prior and finally bringing the Mango Cup to the heritage club.
They were swept by the Cowboys in 4 in the first round and the explosive offense of redrum was stifled. The irony? The Cowboys were led by former Redrum player, FreckleSpeckle… a part of his coaching tree.
As we can see, the journey that Lou and the redmen have embarked on has been remarkable, yet they have never won silverware. People have given owners comparisons, such as Greatcottie to Bill Belicheck. I think with Iblend99’s hard work, his revolutionary stats website, and his gradual growth from having a fringe playoff team to being a game away from the Mango Cup, Lou would earn an honorable comparison to Bud Grant. The Season 4 Redrum team stands out as his version of the Purple People Eaters. The explosive offense of Xiforce, ridiculous Mark, Fc_Buck was stuff of legend. The team generated 316 goals in total a season, breaking a league record while running through opponents to the finals. They then broke their own record with 327 goals the next season, while allowing 48 fewer goals, showing just how good a team Lou can build.
Knowing what I know about Iblend99, I was able to get an interview with him and find out how he started owning, what keeps him coming back, and how his coaching tree has grown in the league.
ATC: “What drove you to become an owner and continue owning?”
Blend: “To be honest, I was just helping out some friends at first. Enzo and Jawn asked and I said I'd give it a shot. I had never played NHL20, I actually don't think I've played video games since college but because of COVID-19 I bought myself a PS4. I think at the time in season 1 there were only a handful of teams and we went by color name - I was RED and that evolved into RedruM. I compare owning in WoCHL a lot to my Fantasy Football addiction - drafting a team and setting lineups. What keeps me coming back is to be better than the season before - to learn from mistakes and improve. It's not an easy job but it's rewarding when it all comes together.”
ATC: “You have been stifled at your attempts of claiming the Mango cup each season. What keeps you going at it as an owner and makes you bring Redrum back season after season? Where do you find the motivation?”
Blend: “Let's just say the first couple seasons didn't go so well but things have turned around since then. We've been making the playoffs in more recent seasons and the Finals in Season 4. Still looking for that Mango cup.
What keeps me coming back? Well, besides making improvements to my draft strategy and trying to improve the roster/record, I really enjoy meeting and playing with the guys in the league. I'm amazed to see how much WoCHL has grown since last March, it's insane. Seeing the progress we've made each season is another big part of what keeps me coming back.
I also try to help out the league management where I can. I helped Enzo with a rotating WoCHL logo a few seasons back. With help from Enzo and Jelm I created https://wochl.wpengine.com/ so we didn't have to take photos of post-game stats and then manually input them. I really enjoy contributing where I can and it helps that TJ and Jawn pay me in High Noons and cigars. I think Silva and the SI team can take this tech to the next level.”
ATC: “Another thing I found interesting is how many owners have been former Redrum players. Could you, in-depth, go into detail about who went from redrum to ownership?”
Blend: “You're right, I've noticed this too. I like to tell myself its because they've learned so much from me and want to spread the knowledge to their own teams but realistically it's probably more like "oh, we can do better", haha.”
Here's a list of people that were on RedruM one season and then became owners the following season:
ATC: “Do you have any tips/ guidance for new owners?”
Blend: “Be social, do your research and avoid toxicity. It's a long season, so if you're down, don't give up, just make adjustments. If you're up, don't get too comfortable cause you could get swept by the Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs…”
ATC: “Alright, I think that's good. I want to say thank you for the interview! It has been a long time coming. Good luck at the draft and the upcoming season!“
Will Lou and Redrum finally win the big one? Will the multiple seasons of trials and tribulations finally produce the ultimate reward in his 6th season? Only time will tell! The only place to find out is on the PHA Youtube Channel!