Not Just Another Pool: Creating the Ultimate Fantasy Experience

Glen Hoos

2011-09-11

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Ed. Note: This article marks the first instalment of The Commissioner's Office, a new regular column on DobberHockey that will examine issues that concern fantasy league commissioners – but hopefully will be of interest to all readers. In the months ahead, we'll be looking at league and draft formats, the plusses and minuses of counting various scoring categories, rule debates, dispute resolution, boosting GM interest and involvement, and much more. Today's piece is reprinted from a couple years ago, but serves as a fitting kick-off.

 

There are hockey pools… and then there are fantasy leagues.

 

There are thousands of people who are content with joining a typical pool, whose priorities are in order and whose self-esteem and personal happiness aren't tied up in the performance of their team. They are, in a word, normal. Some take it extra casually, scarcely giving their team a thought before or after draft day. You know the type… twenty minutes before the office draft, they can be found frantically trying to print off last year's stats from NHL.com. During the draft they say things like, "I thought Jeff Carter plays for Philly," and then they try to draft Brian Rafalski, blissfully unaware that he just retired. In other words, they don't take their fantasy hockey all that seriously… not that there's anything wrong with that.

 

Then there are others of us – and if you're reading this, you're probably one of us. Driven by unfulfilled dreams of becoming an NHL GM, we spend untold hours trolling the internet for the tiniest scrap of information that could potentially impact our fantasy team – even in the dog days of summer. Our draft lists undergo more revisions than a federal tax bill, and our wives and girlfriends frequent sites like this. Some may say we have too much time on our hands (and they're probably right), but those people obviously haven't experienced the thrill of a last-minute empty net goal that secures a much needed victory.

 

As a certifiable member of the fantasy hockey obsessed, a few years ago I set out to create a league that only a true geek could love. Is it over the top? Absolutely. But it's a whole lot of fun, and that's what fantasy sports are all about. So for all you commissioners out there, here are some ideas to inject some fantasy into your fantasy league.

 

 

1.  The Basics

A Clear Rulebook: On the surface, this one may not have a high excitement factor. But history has shown that few fantasy leagues remain fun for very long without a clearly defined set of rules. The more ambiguity you've got, the sooner you're going to encounter a dispute that sucks the joy out of the game and perhaps even threatens to derail your league. So nip this kind of trouble in the bud by putting a good deal of thought into your rules from the start. Think through the scenarios that are likely to crop up, and make sure they are adequately addressed. Don't forget to include rules governing how rule changes will be han