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.