It was a quiet November night in the DeLuca household. I had been watching the New Jersey Devils take on the Calgary Flames. The game was very exciting throughout and actually went into a shootout where the Flames came out victorious. However, that is not what this story is going to focus on. It will look at the idea that randomly popped into my head about halfway through the third period.
Last year a friend of mine, Casey Bryant, got me to go to a Metropolitan Riveters game (known as the New York Riveters at the time) of the National Women’s Hockey League. The Riveters trailed the Connecticut Whale 4-0 and 5-1 but still managed to comeback and win the game 6-5 in overtime. It was one of the greatest hockey games I ever watched in person and, from that moment on, I was hooked.
So on that November night, as the Devils battled the Flames, the most random idea popped into my head: Fantasy NWHL. Immediately a text message was sent to Bryant, who was instantly on board. Two games had already been played on the season, but we did not care. We were going to do it anyway.
We spent about a day or two going over the rules, roster sizes and other necessities we needed to properly run a league. The very first thing we took care of was the prize. The winner would receive a “shirsey” of their choosing purchased by the loser.
Unfortunately, the NWHL only has four teams so there are a little over 100 players to choose from. For that reason, only Casey and I are participating in the league this season. We determined on making the roster sizes 15 players each consisting of eight forwards, five defenseman and two goaltenders. This was a perfect size because there were only two teams in the league and it made the team more manageable. Line-ups would only be consisting of 10 players (6-3-1) which actually really has been helpful so far because of injuries and the opportunity to switch things up every once in awhile.
We had a maximum two transactions per week rule mainly because we are not going to be dropping players that often. This was more of a “just in case” of a serious injury or, much like other fantasy leagues, due to extremely poor performance. Both teams at one point or another have made transactions this season. Trading is also allowed in the league and there is no deadline, but no trades have been successfully made.
Scoring was the next thing the co-commissioners needed to solve. It was immediately determined to score by category and not points. For the skaters, it was decided that goals, assists, points, power play goals, short handed goals and shots on goal would be best. Goaltenders on the other hand got scored for wins, save percentage, goals against average and shutouts. Bryant and I thought this over for a bit and realized these were in fact the easiest categories to score.
Now we come to the day of the draft, but there was one thing we needed first: team names. I did not even hesitate to throw out two name suggestions. It took me five seconds to come up with “Team Scooter” for Casey (his childhood nickname) and “Team Diesel” for me (college nickname). He immediately approved of the names and said they were never allowed to change. I agreed.
Once that was taken care of it was finally time to draft, we determined to run a snake draft, which means that one person would pick and then the next player goes twice and then everyone picks twice until the final pick. A coin toss would give the winner the option of “first overall” or “first snake”. Casey won the toss and he opted for first overall, which suited me well as I would’ve selected first snake.
We are both Riveters fans, so some bias was certainly going to take place throughout this draft. Bryant selected Metropolitan forward Miye D’Oench with the first overall selection. Now it was my turn and with my first of two picks I selected Riveters goaltender Katie Fitzgerald, a move that has paid off extremely well this season. Sorry, but my next pick is a secret as is the rest of the draft order. Nobody knows the draft order except us and it is going to stay like that.
The last condition of the league is to always post the weekly line-ups and results on Twitter. We wanted to make this a very interactive league and it has paid off very well so far. The players, as well as analysts, interact with our tweets and our fantasy league and that makes it all the more fun. Casey and I trash talk each other (in good fun of course), always trying to hype up the team. It is honestly the most fun fantasy league experience I have ever partaken in.
Team Scooter (Casey) currently leads the series over Team Diesel (Rob) 6-1. Team Scooter only needs to be victorious one more time to secure the prize.