The world of fandom is strange and wonderful. Whether you are part of the Marvel fandom, the SPN Family, or are obsessed with hockey, the rules are basically the same. Fall hard, love deep and exhaust all your resources. For me, that meant starting a fantasy hockey league with 6 of my dearest goons. Now, let me just say, I have only been keeping up with the sport for a year now and this will be my first whole season with friends in the hockey fandom, with whom I have spent many months learning, watching and discussing the sport. My League consists of some truly talented ladies–artists, writers, grinders and thinkers–one even co-hosts a hockey podcast called “Shut Yer Five Hole”, which is hilarious and amazing and you should all listen to right now.
In my usual, geeky way, I’ve slowly steeped myself into the fandom culture, not only watching games on television or at my local arena, but enjoying post and pre-game interviews, news articles and statistical predictions as well as copious amounts of conversation about teams, players and the League, in general. Within the hockey fandom there are many feisty, female, very talented fans, and 7 of us decided to start our own league because mansplaining is annoying and we don’t need it, but also because our group has various levels of strategic hockey knowledge ranging from “expert” to “just happy to be here”. In other words, we want everyone to have fun and feel included, and there is no chirping for lack of strategy–just for everything else.
Since the Sin Bin Hockey League (SBHL), established in 2016, has 7 teams, the odd number makes it so that we work our season in a rotisserie style in terms of scoring instead of going head-to-head each week. Meaning, teams are ranked from first to last in statistical categories, such as goal points, assists, penalty minutes and shutouts, which we agreed on as a group over the summer. We have a League Commissioner, she is the actual best, who did a plethora of research and parsed it out to GMs (General Managers) in an easy to understand way, so that we could make informed decisions as a group about things like waivers, stat categories for forwards, d-men and goalies, and a no-draft list.
Since we all chose a designated favorite player ages ago, we agreed to add each girl’s personal favorite (in the Bin we call him our “husband”) to our no-draft list, meaning only I could draft Evgeni “Geno” Malkin (see B. Knight’s fanart ➞), because he’s my bae and on everyone else’s no-draft list. We set up our account on Yahoo, since it is the most user-friendly fantasy website for newbs, and picked a date/time for our live draft that allowed almost all 7 of us (we are located in 2 countries and 4 different time zones) to participate in the first ever Sin Bin video chat/fantasy draft session. For those who could not be there the entire time and even for those of us who could but wanted to play it safe, Yahoo allows GMs to set a list of preferred draftees in a specific order, so that the system will automatically pick the next available player highest on the list, in case a GM is not available. During the draft, we allotted 1.45 minutes to each participant for 26 snaking rounds, and Yahoo randomly picked the first team to draft in the first round, and that the team became the last team in the next round, and so on. As GM of my fantasy hockey team, I had to fill a certain number of positions, which, using a very scientific strategy of who has the nicest butt and also who isn’t an asshole off the ice, allowed me to create a team of amazing players from across the League to help me gain points with their play throughout the 2016-2017 Hockey season. Once teams were chosen, we immediately went to our secret, SBHL team Twitter accounts to chirp each other incessantly about how horrible we are all going to be at Fantasy hockey this year and how much fun we’re going to have.
And trust me, we’re having fun. I’ve put together an Official SBHL Goal Song Playlist on Spotify, that includes such gems as “We Dem Boyz” (The Canadian Men’s goal song at WCH2016) and “The Rising” (The Dallas Stars original playoff song from last year), that play when particular players or teams score during a season game. I’m also working on a roster with favorite pics and information about my players, just because it’s fun. The idea of Fantasy Hockey has got me pumped, not only for the season, but also to get to know the teams that my Fantasy players work on, some of whom I know little about.
Hockey season starts October 12! If you’re interested in joining a Fantasy League, Yahoo has a pretty great platform, but ESPN and NHL both have apps that work fairly well. If you want to know more about my team, follow me on SnapChat, where I cry over hockey on the regular.