Edmonton Totems

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Edmonton Totems
2017-2018 Edmonton Totems season
Edmonton Totems logo
Conference Western
Division Mountain
Founded 1984
History Des Moines Blanks (1984-2012), Edmonton Totems (2012-present)
Arena Bete Noire Pavilion (aka "The Wigwam")
City Edmonton, AB
Team colors Navy, Orange, White

              

Owner(s) B.A. Benneteau (male beaver)
RL Primary Contact Beau
RL Secondary Contact Sam Gwosdz
General manager Percy van West (male golden doodle)
Head coach Stan Shields (male grey wolf)
Assistant coach Kelsey Hampshire (male red fox)
Lead trainer Sheldon Berkeley (male sheep)
Championships 0
Conference titles 1 (2014)
Division titles 2 (2002 as Des Moines Blanks, 2014)

The Edmonton Totems are a professional basketball team based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They play in the Mountain Division of the Western Conference in the Furry Basketball Association (FBA). The team, formerly known as the Des Moines Blanks, was rebranded and relocated in 2012.

Blanks Era History

Birth of the Blanks (1984 – 2000)

No one knows the reason why boar corn tycoon Lawrence Cobb decided to establish an FBA team in his home town of Des Moines, IA, or name the team the Blanks for that matter. All that mattered was Iowa had its first professional sports team. The franchise would fail to reward its fans with any Championship, however, winning only a single Division Title in 28 seasons.

After struggling their first five seasons, the Blanks established a solid reputation over the course of the nineties. Unfortunately, the Midwest Division remained the domain of the Dakota Bikers, and Des Moines failed to keep pace with the elite Sturgis franchise. The Blanks earned several wildcard playoff spots over their history, but were regularly eliminated in the first round.

The Cheezburgerz Era (2001 – 2012)

The Blanks finally acquired their franchise cornerstone in Christopher Zwischenberger (Tabby Cat, F), a 4th overall pick in the 2001 FBA Draft. “Cheezburgerz” took the league by storm during his sophomore year, leading the team to its first and only Midwestern Divisional title in 2002. The feline would go on to win the 2006 FBA League MVP Award and distinuish himself as a standout small forward in the league.

Frustrated as the teams lone superstar, Cheezburgerz stated his concerns with management behind closed doors following the 2010 season. Cobb responded by firing GM Xavier Penn (Zebra), and promoting one of his other staff members, O'Dell Stapleton (Echidna), a former point guard for the Baltimore Spirits. Stapleton responded immediately, with notable offers to several of the league's premiere free agents. Unfortunately, these overtures failed to result in any high profile signings. The Blanks additionally gained a dubious reputation after a series of questionable trades and draft selections. After two more years at the bottom of the FBA cellar, Cobb would finally decide to call it quits. The team was sold to multi-billionaire cognac magnate, B.A. Benneteau, who relocated the franchise to Canada.

Totems History

Welcome to Totem Country (2012 – Present)

Determined to distance himself from the Blanks legacy of failure, Benneteau hired the ruthless european GM Percy Van West, who would in turn sack the entire Des Moines administration. Legendary Williamsburg Minutemen and FBA Hall of Famer Stan Shields was hired as the teams first head coach. As a result of Van West’s cutthroat, take-no-prisoners style of management, not a single member of the former Blanks squad would be left by opening day of camp.

A flurry of off-season activity would gradually lead to the formation of a new lineup, a motley assortment of “FBA leftovers” in the words of T. Matt Latrans. Captain Lenny Hicks was acquired from the defending-champion Williamsburg Minutemen. Flashy veteran shooting guard Rocky Caracal came by way of a sign-and-trade with the Montana Howlers. By opening night, the Totems had patched together a roster acquired from the Alaska Arctics, Plymouth Taproots, Lorain Firestorm, Baltimore Spirits, and Las Vegas Wildcards. Added to the mix were draft picks, free agents, even entry-level signings from the depths of the D-League.

While anticipation surrounding the team reached a fever pitch, expectations for the inaugural season remained mixed at best. Indeed, suspicions appeared confirmed as the Totems opened their campaign with a six-game losing streak and continued to struggle in the Western Conference basement. The Totems would finally begin to gel by midseason, however, and finished the season with a respectable wildcard playoff spot.

The Totem’s reversal of fortune at midseason was largely the result of a high profile trade with the Plymouth Taproots. Starters Kasa Yalenchka and Doug Day exchanged for Sanford Teeson and Marko Sly, two racoons who brought chemistry and cohesion to a roster of wildly divergent personalities and playing styles. The effects were immediate: the 18-30 Totems would go 18-14 following the trade and finish 7th in the West.

This success carried over to the playoffs, and the team set a series records as the Cinderella story of the year. With upset victories over the Howlers and Whips, the Totems made FBA history as the first team to reach the Conference Finals in their inaugural season (while the Saint Paul Mayors won the FBA championship in their inaugeral year, there was no Conference Finals in 1961). The Edmonton Totems are also the only active Canadian team to have reached the FBA Conference finals, the Hamilton Mariners having been the other team to make it to the Conference finals.

Fan Culture

Bete Noire Pavilion quickly established its reputation as an intimidating arena for visitors. As a basketball franchise in a hockey city, the Totems faithful are admired for their passion and energy and notorious for their rough and rowdy behavior. Players are subject to intense scrutiny from local fans and media. Leaders are lionized as heroes. Scapegoats rarely last long.

Totems fan culture is perhaps most comparable to that surrounding a European soccer outfit. Hooliganism has plagued the organization's reputation. Supporter Clubs have emerged with their own unique team chants, songs, and slogans. The Totems scarf - the blue and orange striped symbol of team pride - is a ubiquitous sight throughout the city. The Totems Scarf Toss, also, has established itself as the most popular franchise tradition.

Traditions

Top Totem Honors

At the end of every regular season game, a player on the Totems roster is named "Top Totem" as the team's best performer. This player is honored in front of the crowd at home games. While these honors where initially instituted for moral purposes, they have gained additional significance and symbolic importance over time. The Most Valuable Totem Award is won by the player with the most "honors" over the course of a season.

Earning Their Feathers

For rookies and new Totems, winning one's first Top Totem honor is referred to as "earning your feather" as a member of the "tribe." This is a critical rite of passage as a member of the team.

There are currently 10 players who have "earned their feather." These include 4 former Totems (Kasa Yalenchka, Doug Day, Dave New, Mark Ferramin) and 6 members of the current squad (Lenny Hicks, Rocky Caracal, James Frestrikial, Marko Sly, Sanford Teeson, Rolf Sweetser).

Ironfur Combine

Totems Training Camp ends with the annual "Ironfur Combine," a mandatory two-day series of tests designed to test a players intelligence, strength, speed, agility, and power. Events include a Wonderlich intelligence exam, weight lift, speed and agility trials, vertical and max jump, and conclude with a scrimmage.

Over the course of the combine, individual players are awarded or docked points according to their performances. The player with the highest score is named the Totems Ironfur Champion. The title is currently held by Siegfried Romanoren.

The Scarf Toss

The Totems Scarf Toss is a tradition that was born the night Edmonton swept the Montana Howlers to win their first playoff series in franchise history. The crowds at Bete Noire Pavilion worked tirelessly throughout the series antagonizing Shane Rufus, the Howlers superstar sidelined by injury, in attempts to provoke his legendary temper. Efforts had proven futile until the final seconds of Game 4, as the clock ticked down on the Howlers' season.

A single knotted orange-and-blue scarf whistled from the stands and struck "Fang" upside the back of his head. It was that well-timed projectile, combined with the frustration of the sweep, that broke the proverbial camel's back. Rufus had be restrained by teammates as the crowd roared and balled-up scarves rained down from rafters. From that day forward, the Totems Scarf Toss has functioned as the fans' "salute" to the players after a tremendous performance.

Seasons

  • 2012-2013 – 36-44 (7th in Western Conference, Western Conference Finalists)
  • 2013-2014 – 45-35 (4th in Western Conference, FBA Championship Finalists) (Mountain Division Title, Western Conference Champions)
  • 2014-2015 – 35-45 (9th in Western Conference)
  • 2015-2016 – 17-47 (12th in Western Conference)

FBA Awards

FBA Most Valuable Player

Totems Awards & Honors

Annual Awards & Honors

Team Captain

Ironfur Champion

Season Awards

Most Valuable Totem

Sixth Fur Award

Spirit Award

Current Roster

Edmonton Totems Roster
Starters
Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
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57 Luukas Hirvonen (Cougar, G) 64 François Martineau (Golden Retriever, G) 15 Baxter Buckley (Beaver, G/F) 72 Beau Dapremont (Poodle, F/C) 5 Siegfried Romanoren (White Lion, C/F)
Bench
Swingfur Swingfur Guard Swingfur Bigfur
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51 Leroy Wyatt (Terrier Mutt, F/G) 46 Casey Rucks (Brown Hyena, G/F) 0 Kasa Yalenchka (Snow Leopard, G) 3 Connor Caracal (Lynx, F/G) Koichi Ishikawa (Doitsu Sanke Koi Fish, F/C)
Reserves Deep Reserves
Guard Forward Guard Bigfur '
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10 Francis Laurent (Black Rat, G) 30 Lenny Hicks (Coydog, F) 88 Redawn Fenwatcher (Red Panda, G) Yu Huali (Yutyrannus, F/C)
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