Helloooooooooo VGHL! Here we are again with another volume of Hanging with Budz!! This one takes down to Pittsburgh to talk to a longtime veteran of the league and community and a VG Legend Kylej83 himself!!
Budz : Hello Kyle and welcome to Hanging with Budz! Glad to have you this evening! How are you my man?
Kyle : I'm excellent, happy to be here. How are you?
Budz : I'm great man thanks for asking! You are a long time veteran of VGHL but there has been a good influx of new players over the years to VGHL so please introduce yourself to the community for the ones that don't know you and tell them a bit about yourself?
Kyle : Well, I think most of the active community knows me by now. I've been here since season 3, was a big part of the staff team in building (and ending) the Disciplinary Committee, working for several seasons as an NHL Commissioner, and MVG Advisor before finally reaching the minimum retirement age of 10 years in the league! I'm old but not as old as Krilla. I'm from Saskatchewan where it's -40 this week and I'm a confirmed dumbass when it comes to the VGHL investment channel.
Budz : LOL well said my man. Well we all know why this interview is happening. As you know I'm an acquired taste and people are just jumping at this chance lol. But besides hockey what else does the legend Kyle like to do? Any cool, interesting hobbies or are you pretty boring?
Kyle : I live an eventful life to say the least. My top hobbies aside from hockey are Manchester United, running, cooking, baking, pool party memes, smoking the good stuff, and Twitter. I always have a couple jobs on the go and like to give back to the community both in the virtual hockey world and in my own area.
Budz : Oh nice, that is very eventful no doubt! I love to cook myself. I have never dabbled in baking yet but I actually plan to soon! What are some of your favourite dishes to cook and bake?
Kyle : I like to create, so whatever I'm in the mood I'll try to spin and do my own thing. It works or it doesn't but I enjoy it. Probably the most epic things I've done are full day cheesecakes from scratch. My favourite thing to grill is ribs where I make my own sauces and rubs. And I've been known to do some infusion if you're following along.
Budz : Yum! Cheesecakes are delicious and I love them! I am also the same when I cook and grill. I do my own thing and create my own sauces and rubs. There is just something about it that makes it so therapeutic lol! I have tried one infused 5 course meal and it was awesome. I want to learn to do that as well and it is on my cooking bucket list for sure. My favourite thing to grill is steaks with ribs right behind as well! Soooooo good!!
I have never heard about pool party memes. Please share what this is lol I don't know if I'm old, not catching on or something but I have no idea lol?
Kyle : Ya nothing beats grilling during our 6 week summers on the prairies, right?? Infusion is something I'm definitely passionate about and would like to spend some time working on in the future. I've joked about opening a hipster cafe but crazier things have happened. The fact that you live in Edmonton and aren't up to date on pool party memes is really showing your age my friend. Time to hop outside the VG discord for a few minutes and talk to some oilers fans LOL.
Budz : LOL True true hey! What do us Leafs fans know lmao... What is your favourite food to infuse? Do you do more sweets?
Kyle : Definitely prefer the sweets. But sweets are easy. You can hide the flavour and I definitely have more of a sweet tooth, but as you say imagine doing those 5 course meals... that sounds like a time.
Budz : The food was delicious for sure. I couldn't imagine doing it though lol. Seems like a lot of work to infuse all that food but I have never done it myself so not sure exactly the process and how time consuming it really is. What is your go to sweet? Chocolate? Candy? Fruits?
Kyle : Definitely cream cheese. Anything with the icing. I did low dosage rum and banana cake with THC cream cheese frosting and it was killer stuff! Talk about couch lock! If I'm making something quick or as a gift, bananas are usually quick and easy so banana breads, muffins, cookies etc.
Budz : That's awesome man! I will definitely keep some of that in mind for whenever I start doing that myself. Do you just make THC edibles? Or CBD as well? What do you prefer?
Kyle : I've never tried with CBD but there's definitely more potential there. I've dabbled in the drinks and they're really refreshing. As things move along here in Canada there's some tasty ones coming out so I figure that will be the next big thing.
Budz : There is another thing I have never tried either is infused drinks. I will have to get some of those as well. Thanks for sharing and giving some more insight into you and who you are. It is always great to get to see what other people are into and what they like! But now it's time to get into the real reason we are here! That being the VGHL. Like you said you have been here since Season 3, please tell us about your VGHL experience and where you see the league today from what it was back then?
Kyle : Well, I've been doing NHL e-sports since the mid 2000's dating back to 30 team franchise seasons in vs mode. So I've definitely seen things progress not just in VG but NHL in general. For the first few years on PSN people were starting to try to organize these events but nothing was gaining too much traction. Lots of infighting, drama, people spinning off or giving up etc. I was a really active online vs player at the time and not really up to speed on the 6's scene. The SOHL was making a big comeback after the PSN outages for season 3 and people were recruiting hard, so I decided to give it a shot. By the end of that season, I had applied for staff and the rest is history. I've been hooked ever since!
The league back then was smaller. All the teams were loaded with competitive EASHL players and the NHL was probably no more than 150 players total. It was competitive, the whole community was really tight and had a great rivalry. It was really the growth of a new online event. We quickly grew to become the first and only full simulation league on PSN. Had a full roster of NHL teams with AHL affiliates and were really the only place to be without competition. I'd say we used this to our advantage and created a product on our own terms. With the growth of PS4, newer leagues with deeper pockets came and tried to take over. LG succeeded, but most failed. We're still holding firm with a full simulation league and while things aren't perfect, it's clear to see how far things have come.
I definitely think I pre-dated the esports era a bit, when I was grinding hockey all day getting to the top of online vs leaderboards and building these leagues there was no money on the side. We were just doing it for a good time and friendly, organized competition.
Budz : I am right there with you in terms of seeing this game and community grow over the last 11 years and it's been amazing. Sometimes I question why I come back lol but I love the game and have made some great friendships over the years. What keeps bringing you back, staying competitive as once again you see yourself in the 2nd round of the VGHL playoffs and ready to take on the New York Islanders.
Kyle : The biggest factor that's kept me going, besides the love of the community, is the schedule. VGHL is really flexible and I've had a blast participating as both a full-time starter, and a part-time available depth player, so it keeps things fresh and has allowed me to play at my own pace.
For the playoffs, nothing beats it. VGHL is unique in its structure with up to 6 games of best on best hockey. We rose to the top on this feature and it still keeps people coming back to play and manage. Depth is important and there's nothing wrong with any of the other leagues, but I love playing in those playoff series. It's an absolute battle! The New York duo of Isles and Brandon have been in our division for a while and they always play us tough. I really look forward to the series.
Budz : How was this season for the Penguins internally and on the ice? Going through an owner quit and management change sometimes hurts a team but it didn't seem to affect the Penguins one bit. Walk us through what that was like and the way the team stepped up and handled it.
Kyle : Aside from the obvious issues at the start, it's been a really enjoyable experience. I've played for a lot of people in my time and stat is one of the best! The core players really stepped up and rallied to build a new group and I feel this is the strongest roster I've been a part of in many seasons. We don't really have any weaknesses. Stat definitely deserves a shoutout. He was grinding and talking trades every day all week and he just flipped assets until he found a core group he liked. Everyone gets along and has good chemistry and he deserves some recognition for a job well done making something out of a tough situation. Also our Baby Pens led by Pat and Dark were super supportive the whole season and continue to participate and cheer us on in streams and in the community.
Budz : Great to hear man! The obvious goal is the Stanley Cup as is every team, so who offensively do you look to in a big game to get that big goal or make that big play? Just a solid player you can always count on?
Kyle : I think the really scary thing about our team is everyone chips in. Stat and I have played together for a number of years and we rotate with our forwards to take space and run with it. Any player can score at any time, and it allows us to win those close games and break tough traps.
You can always count on me for a big hit and untimely pim. Stat is good for own goals and spin dekes and hatty always scores big goals on 100 ping. We're just a competitive team that has fun together and I know we'll make a good effort at going all the way.
Budz : I have heard from little birds that you are a liability, a washed up vet that is cursed in the finals and if you want to win the big one to stay away from Kyle the Stanley Curse...How would you address these comments and opinions?
Kyle : They aren't wrong hahahaha. I'm 0 for 4 in the finals. But people who talk shit probably haven't played much left wing against me. I might get burned a lot but they aren't crossing the blueline without an injury.
Budz : Haha lol put it perfectly! Well we hope you and the Penguins can make a run to the cup and finally win the big one! The favourites all season though have been the power house Sabres. How do you see your team matching up against this team? Do you think you have what it takes to beat them?
Kyle : We're the underdog if that ends up being a series. We have the pieces to beat any team in the league if we play our best out there. I don't think anyone can argue that. I just hope we get hot at the right time and keep the wins rolling. Toronto was not an easy out and hopefully that was enough to get us going.
Budz : I can agree with that for sure as I tuned into a little bit of that series and it looked to be a tough out indeed! Hopefully facing such adversity early on sparks that run and gets you to where you need to be. Time will tell. Well as we come to a close on the evening I want to thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with me, hang out a bit and talk about some hockey and non hockey related topics! Are there any last words you would like to share with the community before we say goodnight?
Kyle : Just to thank you for your time! It was nice to chat with my old pal crosbybudz and want to wish the remaining teams good luck in the playoffs. Make sure to follow the Discord and Twitter for the official streams and tune in to games of the night featuring our play by play partner, ItsKingLymeTTV!.
Budz : Well said man and thank you! We are out VGHL, have a great evening and an even better weekend... Stay Blessed! Until next time ...