South Bay Squirrels
PCFL Member Since: 2008
GM: James Anderson
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Best Finish: 4th (2009 & 2015)
Former Names: Los Angeles Brewpens (2008-2021)
From their very beginnings as the PCFL’s first franchise, the Los Angeles Brewpens have been a team based on blind support of Swedish prospects and desperate hopes of finding the next great goalie. The history of the Los Angeles Brewpens pre-dates the PCFL by several years. In fact, the Brewpens first appeared in Yahoo! public league 76977 in 2005 where, despite the powerful offense of rookie sensation Sidney Crosby, and the stalwart goaltending of the legendary Manny Fernandez, the team hobbled to a 9th place finish thanks to the likes of Freddy Meyer, Tom Preissing, and Darius Kasparaitis. A year later, a move to Yahoo! public league 59929 proved disastrous for the fledgling franchise. Poor goaltending from Fredrik Norrena and uninspired performances from Alexei Zhitnik, Fredrik Modin, and Brenden Morrow led to a disappointing 11th place finish. Fortunately, 2006 proved to be the final year of Yahoo! public leagues for the Brewpens. Joining the Ultimates League, the ’06-’07 Brewpens built a powerful offense starring Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and the mighty Cory Stillman, coupled with strong goaltending from second-year player Niklas Backstrom and superstar backup Craig Anderson. Nonetheless, the misery continued, as the Brewpens finished 8th of 10 teams in their only year in the Ultimates League.
Maybe it was years of bad luck, or maybe the GM just wasn’t any good. Whatever the reason for their past failures, the Brewpens struck out on their own, determined to find a league where they could be competitive. When no such league could be found, they created their own, and the PCFL was born.
As might be expected, a new league didn’t change anything for the pitiful Brewpens. Despite the acquisition of such superstars as Evgeni Malkin and 2007-08 All-Rookie selection Nicklas Backstrom, the Brewpens still finished just 10th of 12 teams. Blame it on bad luck, a bad draft lottery, or the selections of Cory Stillman, Bobby Holik, and Cristobal Huet; whatever the reason, the fan base was growing restless. In a bold move after just one season, the Brewpens traded Evgeni Malkin for Ilya Kovalchuk, Chris Kunitz, and two first round picks. A strong draft year brought in the talents of Daniel Sedin, Martin Havlat, Matt Duchene, and the legendary Ty Conklin, and the Brewpens were poised to break out.
And they did just that. Kovalchuk’s 41 goals, and the 20+ goal contributions of 8 other players, carried the Brewpens to a 2nd place finish in the regular season. A narrow semifinal loss to eventual champion Motherpuckers sent the Brewpens on their way to a 4th place finish overall, but at last the fan base was satisfied.
As the years went on, the glory of 2010 was never reclaimed. The team drafted an impressive list of Scandinavian long-shots (Johan Backlund, Toni Rajala, Ilkka Heikkinen, Dick Axelsson, Joakim Andersson, Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel, Joonas Donskoi, Erik Gustafsson, Linus Klasen, Lucas Wallmark), and even found a way to draft Ty Conklin for a second time. Nonetheless, a 6th place finish is still the best the team has been able to muster in 4 tries since 2010. But the future is bright! After failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 2012, the team re-branded itself with a sleek new logo, and young stars like Duchene, Carl Hagelin, Tyler Johnson, Mats Zuccarello, and Frederik Andersen who will surely carry the Brewpens to brighter days ahead. Right?