Keeper League #1

Dobber Sports



These rules are for the pool that Dobber himself runs:





1. Money league, skaters, goalie, farm

2. Regular season, playoff and rookie trophies and winnings

3. Majority vote every three years on whether or not to increase entry fee

4. $100 minimum bid to purchase new franchise with access earnings going to previous owner

5. Appearance at draft is mandatory: only your death, funeral or serious injury is an acceptable excuse

6. Only NHL drafted or signed players are eligible for draft

7. Max five trades per season with UNLIMITED trading in offseason

8. Two complaints followed by a 75% veto vote to nullify a trade

9. Only one free agent signing each season

10. Free agent signing must be 24 or older. Younger players are only available in draft





This is an ongoing pool. This means that the players you choose in the first draft could feasibly be on your team in the year 2025.  Everything possible is being done to ensure that everyone in this pool is extremely knowledgeable about hockey, and extremely serious about hockey pools.  I don't want people quitting after three years just because they've done poorly.  Suck it up and rebuild.  Sure it costs money, but it's not about the money, it's about fun (and bragging rights). $100 per year. This must be paid on or before draft day in cash. Exceptions need to be arranged with me beforehand, and SOME leeway will be given in extreme circumstances. Failure to comply will result in your team being auctioned off to the highest bidder. At which point, $100 would go towards the entry fee, and the remainder will go to the owner selling the team.

2.    Every three years, the owners will review the entry fee. Only by majority vote, will the fee be increased. (A vote GREATER than 50% of the owners)

3.    No refunds, obviously.

4.    Ideally, everyone will be in this pool for decades, but there will be times when people quit. When this happens, anyone interested in joining the pool will submit bids to me, sealed in an envelope, by a deadline. The minimum bid is $120; any access earnings will go to the owner that put the team up for sale.

5.    One point is given for a goal, and one point is given for an assist.  The team with the most points at the end of the regular season or playoffs wins.  Tiebreaker #1 is most goals by the 12 members of the pro team (revised April 15th, 2002). Tiebreaker #2 is best +/- rating by the 12 members of the pro team.  No prizes will be split unless the unlikely event that all three of the above end in a tie.

6.    Every year, prior to the draft, owners can submit proposals for rule adjustments or additions. A vote of greater than 50% would pass the proposal.


Awards/Prize Money

1.    The following is the prize structure based on 14 teams (September 29th, 2012):

12 owners x $100.00:     $1200.00

1st place, regular season        $375.00 and the XXXX Cup (trophy)
2nd place, regular season        $200.00
3rd place, regular season        $ 100.00

4th place, regular season        $50.00
1st place, playoffs            $275.00 and the YYYYY Cup (trophy)
2nd place, playoffs        $175.00
3rd place, playoffs            $ 100.00

4th place, playoffs            $50.00

Rookie of the year owner        $ 25.00 and the rookie Trophy
Administration/expenses        $ 50.00

2.    The rookie of the year award goes to the owner with POSSESSION of a player who is eligible for the Calder trophy in the NHL (revised September 30th, 2001) and gets the most points that season.

3.    The first winner of the regular season will have the trophy named after them (so named the XXXX  Cup after inaugural winner XXX XXXX, April 14th, 2002).  The first winner of the Rookie of the Year award will have the trophy named after them (so named the XXX XXXX Trophy, April 20th, 2003).

4.    Anyone that fails to return a trophy to me by the end of August is subject to a $20 fine.  Exceptions can be made if arrangements are made with me for a later return date.  However, failure to meet the alternate arrangements will result in a $20 fine.  In other words, if clearly no effort is made to get the trophy back to me, I will assess the fine at my discretion.  Effective the summer of 2004.
(September 14, 2003)


The draft will be held every year at the home of whoever volunteers.  This could mean a trip every September to London, Toronto, etc.

1.    Appearance at the draft is mandatory.  There is absolutely no excuse for weddings or ball tournament.  Exceptions will be made a) if you die or b) a funeral or c) a serious accident.  If b or c happen, simply forward your list to me, I will draft your players for you according to that list.  If you are unable to do that, you are free to choose the amount of players equal to the number of draft picks you own, after the draft is over.  The reason I say this is to ensure everyone is serious about the pool.  We all want competition and we won't get it if someone does not take it as seriously as the rest.

2.    The draft will be held on the final Sunday of September at 1pm.  Owners are obligated to appear at this one event every year.  If an owner has something that falls on the same day, they can notify me a month in advance and I will try to make other arrangements to hold the draft with perfect attendance.  If the draft date cannot be changed, a list can be given to another owner.  (January, 2006) If an owner fails to appear for three straight drafts, his membership in this pool will be reviewed and voted on.  A 50% vote would remove this owner from the pool.

3.    To decide the order of the very first draft (2001) draft, numbers will be chosen from a hat. The draft order will then go 1 to 12, 12 to 1, 1 to 12, etc, until all 18 roster spots are filled.  Subsequent drafts will go in the order of finish in the regular season. The last place team will have the #1 overall pick (unless traded).  The first place team will have the #12 overall pick (unless traded).  There will be three rounds of drafting every year.

4.    A five-minute timeout may be called at any time during the draft by the owner who has possession of the draft pick at that time for TRADING PURPOSES ONLY. The initial draft, however, will have no timeouts, and none of the initial draft picks may be traded.

5.    Players are eligible to be drafted, only if they are drafted or signed by an NHL team. This means that no 16-year-old prodigies can be picked, obviously.

6.    Teams initially have three draft picks per year, one for each round. However they can have as many, or as few as they want, depending on what they do with the picks in terms of trading in the past.

7.    If a team's roster is full when they draft a player, one player must be dropped from their roster. That player is then in the draft pool for anyone to choose.

8.    Not all draft picks need to be used. If an owner does not have a spot on their roster for another player, and they cannot trade the pick, they may simply "pass".

9.    In the event that an entire season is wiped out due to a strike or a lockout, the draft will proceed as usual.  The draft order will be the same as the summer before, and picks that have been traded will remain traded.  Bottom line – a strike/lockout changes nothing with respect to the draft. (September 2004)

10.    In the event that an owner inadvertently drops an extra player at the draft, when in actuality they had enough room on their roster to allow for a draft pick without dropping a player, said owner is allowed to negate his final drop and keep that player. (October 14, 2006)


11.  The team that wins the playoff trophy will select second last for each round of the draft. The only exception to this is if the team won the regular season trophy as well, in which case their pick will remain last.



1.    Any assets may be traded at anytime during the year.  Assets are players, and draft picks.  2 for 1 trades, 3 for 1 trades, 3 for 2 trades, etc are all legal.

2.    Each team has a maximum of five (5) trades per season.  This begins at the conclusion of the draft and ends at 9pm on the day of the NHL trade deadline.  Owners are not obligated to use all five of their trades.

3.    No trades can be made from 9:01pm on the day of the NHL trade deadline, until midnight (12am) of the day that the Stanley Cup is won.  However, there is UNLIMITED trading from midnight of the day the Cup is won, until 5pm the day of the draft.

4.    Players traded during the regular season bring their points with them.  For example, player A has 40 points and is traded for player B and a draft pick, and player B has 30 points.  The team getting player A will receive his 40 points and thus will move up 10 points in the standings, provided both players were on his pro team.

5.    "Buddy" trades will not be accepted.  If anyone believes that a trade is FAR too lopsided, they may lodge a complaint with me.  If that complaint is seconded, a vote will take place.  A vote of 75% or greater will be sufficient to nullify the trade.  THE COMPLAINT MUST BE LODGED WITHIN 48 HOURS OF THE TRADE.  Owners win deals and lose deals – it happens.  Sometimes owners lose deals badly.  This rule is in place only for extreme situations.  It is to prevent two friends from stacking one of the teams and splitting the prize money.  It is also to prevent an owner who is planning on quitting the pool at season's end from helping someone out by giving them a "deal".

6.    If an owner quits the pool at the end of the season, their last two trades will be investigated, even though the 48-hour deadline is long over.  By a 75% percent vote, if either of the trades are deemed unfair, or that the players involved were "unloaded" at a price too cheap, the team or teams involved will be penalized by losing some, or all of their draft picks.  This will be done by a vote of 50%.  If a penalized team does not have any draft picks that year; picks for the following year will be used.

7.    If is trade is made involving an injured or traded (in the NHL) player, and the owner receiving said player was not aware of it, too bad.  This is a serious pool, and it is the responsibility of the owner to know everything about the trade that they are making.  In the event that one owner misleads another owner – for example they claim that a player is healthy when, in fact, they are not – then the victimized owner must appeal within 24 hours of the trade.  This is a very rare circumstance, and is only successful if the owner can convince me that he was intentionally misled.  In which case, compensation that is agreed upon by both owners will be awarded.  If neither owner can agree, all the owners in the pool will vote on whether to nullify the deal by a 75% vote.

8.    (January, 2006) A three-way deal counts as one trade for each of the three owners.  This is so rare I have never actually seen it done, but just wanted this in writing.  Each owner must give and receive at least one asset for this to be deemed a three-way deal.  Furthermore, each owner must have dealings with the other two owners in some fashion.


9. (September, 2011) No player can be traded with the intent of being traded back later. Players traded away cannot be traded back to the original team within 11 months of the transaction unless the following criteria are met: a) Maximum one player each way can be swapped back and b) Such a trade can only occur during the brief five-week trade window in which the transaction costs one deal.

10. (September, 2011) No deals that are submitted after 8:30pm on deadline day will be announced until 9:10pm, to free up the commissioner to do his own deals. If you have a trade to submit after 8:30 you may as well hold onto it until 8:55.




Addendum: Trading – Rules of Integrity

  1. Agreeing to a trade that will be made in the future is prohibited. Specific names agreed upon in a deal that will be done in a different trade window will be seen as a form of collusion and will be punishable by an escalating fine of $20 per owner involved. The term “trade window” refers to a window from May 1 through August 31, September 1 through to the start of the draft, the start of the draft through the first Sunday after January 22, and the first Monday after January 22 through to the annual trade deadline. Each of those four windows involves a new phase of roster or trade regulations, and as such pre-arranging a deal involving specific assets in a future trade window is prohibited. The escalating fines will start at $20 and increase by $20 each additional repeat offense. A 75% vote is needed (minus the two owners involved).

11.1 For the sake of clarity, this rule also applies to tradable Unrestricted Free Agent contracts. These assets do not actually belong to a team until May 1st of that year so agreeing to them in a future trade is prohibited.

  1. If a deal that infringes on the above Rule 11 impacts a current deal directly, the current deal will be revoked. A 75% vote is needed. (minus the two owners involved)

  1. A promise of an asset outside the confines of this pool to close a deal is prohibited. This includes anything from buying a beer, to buying a car, to agreeing to a favor in another aspect of life. Deal will be revoked and $20 fine imposed. A 75% vote is needed (minus the two owners involved).

  1. Be very careful with the trades you make and be very smart with your draft picks. I know from experience that once your team goes in the tank after bad trades and stupid picks, it takes four or five years to get back out and compete once again.

  1. *IMPORTANT: Return all phone calls and all emails within 48 hours. Even for offers that seem stupid, at least give owners the courtesy of a two-minute phone call or email. Nobody likes waiting for answers, and it may affect other deals they are considering which are time sensitive. If the offer requires further thought, email the person with a brief note: "I'll think about this for the next ## days and get back to you". If hitting "reply" and typing that sentence is too time consuming, then join a Toronto Star pool where you just have to check boxes once per year.

  1. A final answer can be postponed for up to five days. Including the 48-hour window in which you responded: "let me think about this for the next couple of days". By the sixth day, the owner who proposed the offer may have forgotten what the offer was, exactly. And it's not fair of you to respond six or eight days later and force him to dig up the offer that he made (perhaps the offer was made on a platform that isn't handy for him at the moment of receiving the late response). Respect your fellow owners.

16a. An owner who is more than five days late giving a final response must be voted as 'Worst GM of the Year' on draft day by the other owner who was offended. If the offended owner was slighted at different times by two different owners, then he will have to choose one at the annual vote.

  1. A final response has not been given unless the words "yes" or "no" appear somewhere in your email. If you write "I'm not sure" or "let me look at it, but I don't think so" – you aren't giving a firm answer. Granted, things look bleak, but the other party is still holding onto hope that after you 'look at it' you will come around. The clock is ticking on the five days (Point 16) and if you haven't given a firm answer by these rules within five days then you will be subject to sanctions (Point 16a)

  1. Being unavailable on a key day in this pool will result in an automatic fine of $10. If you truly can't be reached on that key day (and this day and age with smart phones that's almost impossible), you can give the pool advanced notice and give them a time window when they can reach you. For example, maybe you are available the day prior to the key date. Let the other GM's know this.

Key dates:       The last Sunday after January 21 (end of free trading)

                        Trade Deadline Day

                        August 31 (day the final cuts need to be in, to pare down rosters)

                        Expansion draft protection deadline day





1.      Rosters consist of 12 pro team forwards, two pro team goaltenders, four pro team defensemen and 16 farm team players (amended to 16 beginning in 2020). The 12 forwards with the highest point total will be counted for your final pro roster, as well as your top two goaltenders and your top four defensemen. Draft position is based on the total points of your pro team. Points are taken from the start of the year. Points carry over in a trade along with the player.


2.      Elastic Rosters – Rosters must be 33 players (will be 34 beginning after the 2020 Draft) or fewer on September 1 until the conclusion of the draft later in the month. After the draft, the rosters become elastic, allowing for rosters as large as 37 players (after the draft) or as small as 29 players (at any time). (Will be 38 and 30 after 2020 Draft)

            2a – If a player is added via a two-for-one trade or via unrestricted free agency, the roster can expand to accommodate accordingly (up to four extra players, or a roster of 37). However, by August 31st (at midnight) the rosters must slip back to 33 players. Failure to submit your waived players that are required to bring your roster back down to 33 by the required time will result in your lowest points player being automatically waived. In the event that there is a tie for the lowest points, it will be taken alphabetically by last name.


3.      Pro teams must be full at all times during the regular season and playoffs.

3a – If a slot is unfilled during the offseason, this is okay.

3b – If a slot is unfilled during the regular season, the following penalty will be handed out: Teams in the Top 9 will lose one point each day. Teams outside of the Top 9 will gain one point each day.


4.      Farm teams may consist of 11 to 19 players between the end of the draft and August 31 of the following year; and farm teams are limited to 11 to 15 players between September 1 and the end of the draft.


5.      If a move puts your roster over the 33-player limit (between September 1 and the draft) or over the 37-player limit (the rest of the year), then you must drop a player into free agency immediately.


6.      If a move puts your roster under the 29-player limit, then the move is illegal and will be annulled. If the illegal move isn't caught until a couple of weeks after the fact, then the move will still be annulled – but also any subsequent moves from the offending owner will be annulled up until that point.



Unrestricted Free Agency

  1.  Each team is allowed one free agent signing during the season for players 24 years of age and older. Example – Andy McDonald in 2005-06. Perhaps Smoke Squad sees something in him back in November and decides to use his ‘free agent’ signing. He scoops McDonald up. Or perhaps Smoke Squad wishes to save his ‘free agent’ signing for a later date, but lo and behold Cap’n Jimmy scoops up McDonald in January. Too bad for Smoke Squad: it is first come, first serve. Strategies that come into play – ‘when’ do you use your free agent signing? Do you need to use one at all? It’s another element that encourages GM’s to keep an eye out for any 24, 25, 26, or even 34 year olds that start to show big promise. Another example – perhaps in January Team Premium ‘signs’ Mike Knuble for the purpose of trading him at the deadline to Whalers for some young promise. The UFA signing can be used any time after the draft and before the trade deadline.

  1. The age limit is set to make it more realistic. Youngsters should be chosen in the entry draft, just like the NHL. Only one free agent signing per year because you generally don’t see NHL teams signing more than that, and it adds more strategy if your moves are limited.

  1. A newly-signed player must remain on your team for 30 days (Updated 9/30/2014). This prevents a deadline deal from a top team saying “use your free agent signing and pick up Knuble, and then trade him to me” if that top team had already used their free agent signing for the year.

  1. A UFA contract can be “traded”. The following season's UFA contract is available to be traded beginning on May 1st of each year and can be dealt up until the Trade Deadline. However, once signed, the player can’t be traded for 30 days.

  1. If two teams rush to sign a player on his 24th birthday, the first email to arrive in my (the commissioner) inbox will get him. If I am the one interested in signing such a player, in the interest of fair play I will email myself the FA claim in order to time stamp it – and if that time stamp is after midnight and yet before another claim, then I get the player and will have followed the same process as everyone else. A team cannot send an email in advance of the birthday indicating the future claim. The email must be sent after midnight on the day of his birthday.
  2. A team can begin using the UFA contract the minute the draft is order, up until the trade deadline.




1. All pro teams must have two goalies. Pro teams will consist of 12 skaters, two goalies and two defensemen. No more than two goalies and no fewer than two goalies.

2. A goalie's points are calculated as follows: WINS – LOSSES + ½ OT LOSS + 2*SO + 5% of Saves – 25% of Goals Allowed + Assists. Calculations will be done by the pool manager online program – just know that wins, saves and shutouts are good…losses and goals against are bad. This system rewards the skill of the goalie as opposed to the style of the team…a little more than most systems.

3. A farm team can have as many goalies as you want. If you want to have 12 pro team skaters, two pro team goalies and 11 goalies on your farm – great. If you want zero goalies on your farm – also great. Part of being a good manager is finding the right balance for this.

4. If none of your goalies make the playoffs, you will have an empty roster spot(s). That spot will give you zero points in the playoffs. This puts a bit of an onus on you to acquire a goalie who will play in the postseason.

5. Failure to own at least one goaltender to put on your pro team will result in a blank space in that spot. If there is a blank spot on your pro team during the offseason, that is OKAY. If there is a blank spot during the regular season, that is NOT okay. For every day that a team has no goalie on the roster, they will lose one point from the end of season totals. Fifty days means you lose 50 points. If you are not in the Top 9 (updated 2008 to accommodate the new playoff rule) in the standings at the end of the season, those points will be ADDED to your totals and not subtracted. No goalie at the end of the season on your roster means an automatic 50 points removed if you are in the Top 5, or 50 points added if you are not, in addition to the daily points you were losing. Any attempt to play this system or find a loophole in this rule to secure a better draft pick or somehow secure a victory will result in a review by the other 12 owners and a vote will be taken as to how many more points to add or subtract. The point is – make sure one goalie is on your team.

6. If you only have goalies on your team that are either injured, retired, or prospects and the top goalie has a negative point value at the end of the year, then that point value becomes a zero.

7. Legitimate sandbagging is allowed. If you trade a goaltender with points for a blue-chip prospect and all you have are prospect goalies, it is allowable to take on their zero points onto your pro team. However, if your top goalie has negative points – it automatically will become zero.


Playoffs  (updated: 2013)

1. Rosters consist of 12 pro team skaters, two pro team goaltenders, three pro team defensemen and 14 farm team players. The 12 skaters with the highest point total will be counted for your final pro roster, as well as your top two goaltenders and your top three defensemen.

2. The five teams that did not make the postseason will still have their points tracked as above. The number of points that they accrue in the postseason will be removed from their regular season point total, thus helping them sink to that first overall draft pick. (9/29/2013)



1.    Be very careful with the trades you make, and be very smart with your draft picks.  I know from experience that once your team goes in the tank after bad trades and stupid picks, it takes four or five years to get back out and compete once again.

2.    *IMPORTANT:  Return all phonecalls and all emails within 48 hours if possible.  Even for offers that seem stupid, at least give owners the courtesy of a two-minute phone call or email.  Nobody likes waiting for answers, and it may affect other deals they are considering which are time sensitive.  If the offer requires further thought, email the person with a brief note: "I'll think about this for the next ## days and get back to you".  If hitting "reply" and typing that sentence is too time consuming, then join a Toronto Star pool where you just have to check boxes once per year.



Expansion Team (from 2002 expansion rules)

We have voted to expand to a 13th team in 2007, and we will follow the guidelines that we used for 2002. I have updated any stale information:

1. Current owners can protect ten (10) players on their roster.  Any 10 players, not necessarily the top 10 point getters.

2. Ten (10) players must be left unprotected.  If after protecting your 10 players you have a roster spot vacant amongst the remaining eight spots, the highest draft pick in the coming year will be included to fill that spot.  IMPORTANT: If two spots are free, than the highest draft pick of the FOLLOWING year will be included to fill that spot, and so on through the years.

3.  Bidding starts at $100 and can be submitted to me anytime via email.  Bidding stops one week after the third bid is received, or on July 31st, whichever occurs first.  There is no minimum or maximum number of bidders needed.  If I do not receive a bid by the end of July (31st) than no expansion will happen.  For the purpose of 2007, we will only expand by one team, giving us 13 in total.

4. The winning expansion team will then have an expansion draft by Sunday, August 27th at 8pm.  Protected lists must be submitted by midnight on August 20th.  In the event that a protected list is NOT submitted by midnight of the deadline via email, that team’s top 10 scorer’s of the prior season will be protected (not always desirable for that owner, thus they should make sure they get the list in!).  Trading will be frozen from midnight, August 20th until 8pm August 27th.  At which point, unlimited trading reopens and the expansion team can now be involved in trades.

5. One player from each team’s unprotected list is to be selected onto the expansion team.  This gives the new team 12 players to start with.

6. The new team will select 3rd overall in the entry draft.  The new team will select first overall in the 2nd round, 1st overall in the 3rd round, and 1st overall in the 4th round (see point # 8) giving the new team 16 players.  The new team will then pick four players after the draft to complete the roster, unless, via trade, the new team has acquired draft picks and had already filled his roster.

7. Some people have voiced concerns over losing quality players with their “11th best” player going to a new team.  Or that some teams can afford to lose their “11th best” while others cannot.  Or that some teams only have 10 quality guys, and some teams only have 11, and this system favors the teams that already have just 10 quality guys!  My argument is this:  Everyone loses out in this expansion draft, but the person that loses the biggest is the new owner.  Getting everyone’s 11th best player takes a lot of balls, and agreeing to an expansion team under these conditions takes a lot of dedication.  The least we can do is grant the new guy a decent player from each of our teams without hurting our core.  If any more players are protected, it may prove difficult to find an interested party to expand.

8. For this year, a fourth round will be added to the draft.  This 4th round pick MAY NOT BE TRADED.  It does not even need to be used.  Its purpose is merely to fill the hole on your roster left by expansion.  Everyone has the option of picking in the 4th round.  Rules of the other rounds apply to this one, except for the fact that this pick cannot be traded.

The following is a sample of an expansion team based on my opinions only (and a very quick one at that, without studying the teams too hard) as to who would be the 10 protected on each team, to give the interested person an idea of what he is getting into.  Print this attachment and let anyone interested read it over.

1. Kyle Calder, Phi
2. Patrick Eaves, Ott
3. Loui Eriksson, Dal
4. Chuck Kobasew, Cgy
5. Petr Sykora, Edm
6. Dustin Brown, LA
7. Marek Zidlicky, Nsh
8. Joni Pitkanen, Phi
9. Jiri Hudler, Det
11.    Radim Vrbata, Chi
12.    Marco Sturm, Bos
13.    Brendan Morrison, Van
14.    The 3rd best player available in the entry draft. (this year it was Phil Kessel, last year it was Bobby Ryan, in 2004 it was Michael Ryder). Our last expansion team took Rick Nash with this pick. This will likely be the centerpiece of the new expansion team.
15.    The 14th best player available in the entry draft. (this year it was Alexei Kaigorodov, last year it was Eric Fehr, in 2004 it was Ruslan Fedotenko)
16.    The 28th best player available in the entry draft. (this year it was Jason Williams, last year it was Raffi Torres, in 2004 it was Teemu Selanne – redrafted).
17.    The 42nd best player available in the entry draft. (in 2005 Jussi Jokinen was chosen 44th)
18.    The 56th best player available in the entry draft.
19.    The 57th best player
20.    The 58th best player
21.    The 59th best available player.

The new team is looking at a young star, several 60-point players, and about 15 prospects of which half will become something pretty good, the other half will be replaced in the next draft. The XXX XXXX, led by GM M. XXXX, is an expansion team that finished third in his third full season (plus a lockout). It can be done, and it has. By these rules.
A decent team to start, will likely finish 10th-12th in the first year which is how things go for expansion teams. Compete, and grow. Intelligent drafting of blue chip prospects could have this team compete for $ in its 3rd year. The fact that the new guy is pretty much throwing his bid money away for the first two years indicates that he is hardcore and in this pool for the fun and the challenge. Which is what we want. Expansion benefits us all.  Our prize money grows, the amount of players available thins (which makes drafting more of a challenge), and most of all, we get another solid hockey guy to talk to and deal with.



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