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Howdy! Welcome to "Around the League"...a feature sponsored by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Every now and then, GM Elco DeBoer will interview a central figure from the GM Hockey League and talk to them.  Enjoy and stay tuned for updates!

This week, it is our pleasure to feature the founder of our league, the honorable Mike Heppner. We asked him questions about his visions when starting the league, the events that led to his eventual exit from the league, and some more light-hearted stuff.
 
Live conversation transcript:

Mike Heppner's Favorite NHL Enforcer
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Krystof Oliwa

1.) How are you doing?

I'm really busy, I've got finals coming up, and after that I'm going back to work.  I got engaged in January, so that is some good news, but along with the engagement comes responsibility, so that's why I'm busy.  Anyway, I'm doing pretty good.

2.) What are you up to these days?

Well, I guess I just answered that in some ways.  I am going to school, and I am starting work in a couple of weeks.  I am going to be watching a lot of hockey, especially if the Flames make a run in the playoffs.

3.) Did you think the league you started would last through an entire season when you left?

I wasn't sure.  I never really planned on leaving, and I never really thought about whether it would last when I left.  I'm glad it's lasted though.  You guys obviously did a good job of picking up the slack when I left.

4.) Some people in our league, myself included, refer to you as Lord Heppner and want to rename our cup the Lord Heppner Cup. What are your thoughts on this? :)

Go ahead, that's nice of you guys, and funny.

5.) What inspired you to start our league?

Well, I love hockey, and I have always wanted to join a league like this one, so I decided that I would start it.

6.) Who was your favorite GM in the league?

I think that's an unfair question because a few of my friends were in the league, but not including people I know personally, I suppose my favorite was Columbus.

7.) Answer in as great or little detail as you want...What were the circumstances that lead to your absence in the league?

Well, I got really busy, like I said, I got involved in a serious relationship, plus I started working 60 hours a week, and between those two things, pretty much all of my time was taken up.  Sorry about doing that to you guys, I never really intended to.

8.) Are you still as an avid hockey fan as you were a year ago?

Definetly, even more probably, the flames are my team, and they are now in the playoffs, so I have been watching a lot of hockey.

9.) If there was a GM position open in our league (SJ Sharks wink wink), would you ever consider returning as a GM?

I would consider it, but I need more time to think about it, I would want to give a proper comitment this time, and if I am unable to because of other things (you know, real life) then I would not, but yes, I would consider it.

10.) A lot of talk in our league has been about increasing roster sizes. What was your reasoning behind electing a 40 man roster when you started the league?

Well, I didn't want to have to deal with anymore players than I had to, but I thought that 40 gave everyone a chance to ice a good team, and have some prospects to look forward to.  Of course, I would have liked more too, but I didn't want to put the effort in.

11.) Considering what round he was drafted, what player where you most proud to draft when you did? (if you can remember your favorite sleeper pick lol)

I think that at the time I was most proud of Stanislave Chistov, who I got in the 10th or so.  But, looking back, I think my best pick was probably Andrew Raycroft, who I think I got around 22.

12.) Our website is http://www.geocities.com/olivia1299/fantasyhockey.html . Have you ever gone back to our sites to visit us?

I have never, but I will now.

13.) If you have time to look at our standings and the rosters, is there any team that strikes you as being the best contender for this year?

I'll take Chicago to win your league championship.

14.) Who is going to win the cup in the real NHL this year?

I think Detroit is the best team, they probably have the best shot at it.  If Ottawa can get past Toronto, and Lalime, who was the number one overall pick in the league, can play well then they have a chance.  But, I'm cheering for the Flames, of course they have no chance, but I'm still cheering for them.

15.) If you were still commish, would you have gone with NHL or FHL for the simulations?

FHL, what are you guys using?

16.) When you were GM, you drafted a lot of young players...only young players in fact. What player aged 24 and under strikes you as being the best young player in the NHL today?

I hate to admit it, because I don't like him, but probably Ilya Kovalchuk.  Of course, Sidney Crosby is coming up, and he should be a good one.

17.) Are there any ways we could improve our league judging by what you know?

I don't know much, so I couldn't probably tell you. Sorry.

18.) What is your favorite NHL video game?

oh man, I guess NHL2004, even though I haven't played, lol.  If I were to pick any video game that I wanted it would be that one.

19.) Favorite Ice Cream?

Chocolate, maybe.

20.) Favorite NHL Enforcer?

Well, I am a flames fan, and I love OLIWA!!!

21.) Leno, Letterman, O'brien?

1. Letterman; 2.O'brien; 3.Leno

22.) Best player currently playing in the NHL?

Once again, I hate to admit it, but Peter Forsberg.  If I could take anyone I'd take Todd Bertuzzi (yes, even though he broke Steve Moore's neck, and everyone hates him) though.  He's just so dominant.

23.) What have you got to say to the New York Rangers in real life?

I love it that their losing.  I can't stand Messier, I hope he retires, and Jagr's a bum.  I don't mind Lindros, but he's such a bandaid.

24.) What have you got to say to the New York Rangers in our league? (everyones fav GM)

Well, if I remember correctly I loved trading with him, but that's a long time ago, so I could be mistaken.

25.) What would you say if you had to address all the GM's in our league?

I guess I would just say way to go for keeping up the league.  That's pretty cool, I hope you guys do well, and let me know if there's a spot open, maybe I'll rejoin.

If you would like to be featured on "Around the League" be sure to email me at elcodeboer@hotmail.com