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Whatever Happened to Fantasy Hockey for Regular Folks?

By September 7, 2008

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When the hockey pool first gained popularity, back in the 1980s, it was considered a good excuse for drinking beer and talking trash.

Those days are long gone. For starters, it's not called a hockey pool anymore. It's a fantasy hockey league.

And it's not about drinking beer. Fantasy hockey is serious business, an all-consuming, number-crunching hobby for fans who don't get out much.

There are fantasy hockey leagues that award points for penalties, shots on goal, and faceoff win percentage. There are leagues with salary caps, waiver drafts, farm teams, and weekly transactions.

Most popular of all are "keeper" leagues, in which managers own perpetual franchises and retain players year over year. It's full time fantasy hockey.

So be warned. If you join one of these outfits, you're going up against guys who spent the summer cross-referencing power play line combos and ranking prospects in the Latvian midget league. Good luck.

For a glimpse, check out a typical set of questions submitted to your typical fantasy guru. For those who don't live and breath the game, it's like reading Sanskrit.

If a hockey pool sounds like fun, but you don't want to spend your weekend running spreadsheets on plus/minus rankings among third-line centermen, we have a solution.

Here's our format for a dirt-simple fantasy hockey league. It's ideal for casual fans, lazy fans, and office pools where half the gang wouldn't know Vernon Fiddler from the Fiddler on the Roof.


September 8, 2008 at 9:57 pm
(1) Ben Nevile says:

Hi Jamie – great article. I agree with you completely that today’s “Fantasy Sports” options are different beasts entirely than the hockey pools that we grew up with. Not everyone wants to be intensely involved in a sport’s statistics.

With exactly this problem in mind, last year at about this time I created an application for Facebook called Hockey Pool. It’s a simple format that allows participants to be reasonably hands-off, and the software encourages the social side of hockey pools, which is after all where most of the fun is at. You’ll be happy to know that you and I are not alone in our appreciation of simple, fun games – more than half a million Canadians played the Hockey Pool application last year.

Currently you have to be a Facebook user to play. The 2008-2009 season is ready to go, and with a week 25,000 people had already signed up. Here’s the link:

Greetings from Vancouver,
Ben Nevile

September 9, 2008 at 7:59 pm
(2) NowHockey says:

I agree, there has to be casual leagues as well. We have a fantasy setup that hopes to get a lot of players, our stats are fairly simple.

Click here for our leagues

Prizes, and everything is free!

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