Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple weeks, you’ve probably heard about a global phenomenon called Pokémon Go. The app has taken over the world, getting people to go outside and search for Pokémon in their hometowns. But if there’s one thing that Pokémon have yet to invade, it’s the world of sports.
With the World Cup of Hockey just over the horizon, I decided to try putting together the ultimate Pokémon hockey team in time for the tournament. But since I’m fairly new to the game, I brought in a couple of the world’s top Pokémon experts to help put this team together.
The rules for the team were simple:
- The team must have the same amount of roster spots as the World Cup teams: 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 3 goalies.
- Pokémon must come from the Pokémon Go game, otherwise known as Generation I characters.
Now without further ado, please welcome the Team Pokémon roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Line One: Lapras – Raichu – Arcanine
The top line puts together some of Pokémon’s most powerful members, including team captain and ice monster Lapras. Lapras is slow but tall, and is according to analysts has one of the best Porsi (Pokémon Corsi) in hockey. His playmaking skills work perfectly with Raichu at centre, whose goal scoring abilities and speed can rival the likes of Crosby, Ovechkin, and Kane. Completing the top line at wing is Arcanine, who can score, set up plays, and throw a hit if needed.
Line Two: Jolteon – Vaporeon – Flareon
Building the right team involves great chemistry, and no group in the Pokémon universe works better together than Eevees. The “Eevee Line” works together like Sedins with telepathic abilities. Vaporeon has the technical skills to work the puck into the attacking zone and finding room in even the smallest passing lanes to set up plays. Flareon is a two-way specialist who can both score in the offensive end and take down opponents in the defensive zone. Jolteon is the natural sparkplug of the group, whose speed gives him the ability to pass defenders with ease and capitalize on a number of his linemates passing plays.
Line Three: Mewtwo – Gyarados – Nidoking
This line features some of the most technical players in the game. Despite Gyarados’ inability to hold a stick, his tail helps him stickhandle and deke like no other. His clutch faceoff skills are a huge piece of the line’s chemistry, helping to set up linemates Mewtwo and Nidoking. Mewtwo provides a heavy amount of the goal scoring while Nidoking adds muscle to the wing. The line’s collection of speed will set it apart from the competition on a nightly basis.
Line Four: Pinsir – Sandslash – Machamp
Even in a high powered offensive tournament like the World Cup, teams need a solid cleanup defensive line. The combo of Sandslash centering Pinsir and Machamp can shut down the best forwards in the game, but can still chip in on the scoreboard. Machamp has been known to make even Zdeno Chara shudder with some of the thunderous hits he throws around. Pinsir is no slouch either, and has a wicked snap shot to boot. Sandslash has been known to take a few too many penalties (usually slashing), but still manages to put up large goal totals even with fourth line minutes. An overall solid line to round out the forward group.
Defensemen: Golem – Alakazam – Blastoise – Poliwrath – Rhydon – Golduck
The defensive core was built with strength and size in mind, with players like Golem and Rhydon patrolling the blue line. Golduck and Alakazam provide a fast paced game with lots of offensive talent, while Poliwrath and Blastoise each play a hybrid style of hard hitting and playmaking. The analysts believe that this six man group could rival even that of the Nashville Predators.
Goalies: Tangela – Charizard
Tangela’s quick vine hands made him the obvious choice for the starting goalie role. Charizard covers up the net with his giant wings and blocks the puck with his massive dragon frame. Overall, the pair make a better tandem than even Finland’s Rask and Rinne.
Healthy Scratches: Scyther (F) – Venusaur (D) – Dewgong (G)
Rounding out the roster are some of Pokémon’s most legendary monsters who simply couldn’t crack the final lineup. Scyther brings speed and precision hitting if called upon, Venusaur is a big puck blocking machine, and Dewgong can make even the most difficult cross crease slides look easy. Injuries or poor play could see the trio log ice time, and it wouldn’t take any chemistry away at all.
Who do you think should’ve made the team? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet at @LachInTheCrease.
Special thanks to Pokémon Heads of Central Scouting Matthew Ashlock (Kanto Region) and Sarah Burfoot (Sinnoh Region) for helping put the team together.