With a couple of weeks to go before the puck drops on a brand new season, it's time to get our fantasy leagues in order. This year, we have a minimum of 23 open slots available on a first-come, first-served basis. As current members decline invitations, additional spots will open up.
If you wish to join, either put your email address in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I much prefer the comments of this thread, but either works.
There will be a few small tweaks from last year, but we will still have three tiers and five leagues. As was mentioned as a possibility last year, instead of 20 teams in each of the five leagues, we're going to shrink the third tier down to 16 teams. This brings the total number of participants to 92, and is largely due to lack of interest among all 20 teams in the lowest tier.
First, invitations are purely on a first-requested basis. Any method of delivering your email address (e.g. in this comment thread, email, twitter, etc.) to me will work just fine. Be aware that the waiting list is likely to include many more names than available slots, so if you do receive an invitation, do not hesitate to accept. We want to fill the available spots as soon as possible and eventually send more invites than can be accepted.
Secondly, if you participated in one of the Tier 2 leagues last year, you should have received an invite already. If you have not received such an invitation but feel you should have, let me know as soon as possible. Invitations will be sent to those on the wait list very soon, and at that point, whoever accepts their invitation first is in, regardless of prior year's results.
There are currently 5 of you who have yet to accept an invite to Champions or Tier 2, and another 9 that finished in the bottom-10 of a Tier 2 league and have yet to accept your invitations, so check your spam folders or those decade old email addresses you gave to Yahoo! way back when.
Promotion and Relegation
Because we have so many people who wish to join, we instituted a three-tiered, 9 member league. Here is how the five leagues and three tiers work, visually:
Hooray for Microsoft Word created flow-charts. More specifically, here's how it works:
- Champions League - The top ten teams in regular season standings will remain in Champions, with the bottom half of the league being relegated (five teams each) to Tier 2.
- Each Tier 2 league will promote five teams to Champions, relegate the bottom ten teams to Tier 3, and have the middle five teams remain in Tier 2. Next year, there will only be 16 teams in Tier 2, but that will not impact what happens to those in Tier 2 this year. (see Playoffs for further detail).
- Each Tier 3 league will promote the top six teams in regular season standings to Tier 2, with the bottom ten teams not guaranteed an invite back next year. Going forward, this will guarantee a minimum of 20 new players every year once we get Tier 2 down to 16 teams.
Anyone who is a fan of the English Premier League will recognize how we have structured promotion and relegation. In an effort to promote competition and reward extended success, we will rely heavily on the 22-week regular season to determine the final standings.
The playoffs in all three leagues will consist of two brackets of four teams. The top four teams after 22 weeks will play in one bracket while the teams ranked fifth through eighth play in a "consolation bracket".
We will utilize this consolation bracket to determine the final standings and thus the fifth and final team promoted to Champions from Tier 2, as well as the 5th and 6th teams to be promoted from Tier 3 to Tier 2. For example, in 2013's Tier 2 Black Consolation bracket, The Loopholes were the 8th best team after 22 weeks but won promotion to the Champions League after winning back-to-back games:
As a result, The Loopholes finished in fifth place, and earned the final promotion spot to BSH Champions League for the 2014-15 season. The other three teams were invited back to try again.
In short, across the top two Tiers, the top-10 regular season finishers are guaranteed an invitation to return to the same level or better. In Tier 3, you still need to finish in the top half of the league at the end of the regular season, but you might also need to win in Week 23 to be invited back.
League Rules / Draft Date
One of the worst aspects of Yahoo!'s fantasy hockey is their limited amount of statistics available to use as categories. Add in the size of our leagues and you get limited options that need to be carefully balanced so as to avoid disproportionate importance.
Six years ago, Yahoo!'s inability to accurately assign positions to forwards resulted in the faceoffs won category dramatically increasing the value of those centers incorrectly labeled as wingers. Five years ago, our switch to counting stats for goalies proved misguided when forcing teams to roster a minimum of two goalies.
In other words, the scoring system has not been, and probably will not be, perfect. We're always looking for ways to improve it. This year, we've eliminated both plus/minus and goalie shutouts. It was decided both of these categories were too unpredictable and team-based, so we eliminated them.
These will apply to all leagues, however the draft date is up to each league to decide on their own. The season starts October 12, so there is a bit of time to decide when they want to draft. It's worth noting, however, that Yahoo! draft slots do fill up quickly, so this decision should be made sooner than later.