Fantasy Hockey

 

On November 7, 2005, I registered DobberHockey.com as a domain and immediately transferred my web page over to the new url, effectively launching what would become the best damn fantasy hockey site on the Internet. Let's take a look back at what the site looked like over the years, some of the older features, and how the community has grown. You'll laugh, you'll cry, but mostly you'll just shake your head and wonder "what the hell was Dobber thinking?". But it brought us to where we are today.

 

Thank you Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow.

 

Yep, you heard me. Er, read me. Because - no lockout, no DobberHockey. Simple as that.

 

I was writing for The Hockey News since November of 2001 (and I still do today). The lockout, unfortunately, forced the publication to let some people go. They hung in there for a few months, but when the season was officially cancelled in late January of 2005, some cuts had to happen. Included in the cuts was their web editor. I still did weekly articles throughout the lockout, not wanting to lose my precious spot when the NHL returned, but I had to start submitting to Adam Proteau. When the NHL returned, I resumed my monthly Fantasy Rankings (yes, the one you still see today on THN and here). The problem was - Adam didn't know how to post them. I solved this by taking my free web page from my provider and posting them there. I then linked to them from each column I gave THN.

 

Traffic started to build, and I started tossing my thoughts up and archiving my THN columns there. Prior to the lockout, I had also been helping out with the Fantasy Sports Network and Pool Expert, and it was those guys (not the current owners, as they have since sold the business - but I'll give their new endeavor a plug: Filemobile.com) who encouraged me to get a domain. I tried to get dobber.com, but it was taken.

 

Here is an early look at this site back in late 2005/early 2006:

 

DH2006

 

 

I was pretty polically incorrect back then. I know I brag that I am right now, but this is nothing like I was earlier. But now there are too many personalities from around the world who see what I write and get bent out of shape if I take too strong a stance on something pretty extreme. Here are some of my old "Dobber's Take" blog entries from four years ago.

 

Being an idiot in terms of graphic design, I did manage to gradually improve the look over the ensuing months. It was still pretty horrible, but better than it was...

 

DHSep2006

 

I switched to using phpNuke in the fall of 2006, but I can't find uny images of it to show you. But it lasted about five months before Peter Belanger, my graphics designer at the time, designed the site you see here. DobberHockey 3.0 launched in late February, 2007 and introduced what would become the biggest purely fantasy hockey forum on the Internet.

 

The site grew in popularity, as you know. I added the Fantasy Prospect Rankings in 2006 and the Goalie Rankings in 2007. Columnists came, some of them went, but most have stayed on. Chris Burns was the first columnist on board. We haven't seen the last of him either (hint hint) - but you can find his hilarious older stuff right here. Matt Bugg came next in late 2006, and Jeff Angus soon after. Jim Gunther was the last of my "Original 4" (his stuff can also be found in the link above). I started contributing to The Fourth Period (thank you David Pagnotta), and I had some great support early on from Randy Steinman at the Fantasy Hockey Journal and Micah Williams at Hockey Trade Rumors, who actually launched the phpNuke era for me.I also got on board with the Score Hockey Forecaster, with a big thank you to Mario Prata and Gabriel Farnesi (follow him on Twitter here) for the opportunity - I've written for that magazine for five years now (I think), but I wrote some of their web content in my early years.

 

In October of 2007, I received a poor performance review at my day job as buyer/planner for Michel Germain. This was because I worked the minimal hours and spent my lunch researching and writing fantasy hockey for my site, and other sites. My moonlighting job was interfering with my day job. I was exhausted.

 

Still - because my boss wanted to put my raise on "hold" for six months, I was pissed off. The only things that stopped me from quitting on the spot was the fact that I had a wife - so major decisions had to be shared. But I don't put up with sideways - I either move up or I go somewhere else where I can move up. So I'm storming out of the office building and I run into Wade Belak. Yeah, him. At that time, I had never "run" into an NHL hockey player before. Anyway, my mind was elsewhere, but I did manage to stumble through some stupid small talk and give him my card. And that's how Wade Belak became a part of DobberHockey lore.

 

Six Months

Anyway, I spoke to my wife and we determined that between her job, and what I made from the Forecaster, Pool Expert and my Guide sales, we could squeak by for a while. I could quit, and see how things grow for six months. That's what we agreed on. Six months.

 

Six months to convince the two of us that this thing can work. To sell a Midseason Guide and a Playoff Draft List, and see what kind of increase I can get.

 

My wife is phenomenal. The poor woman. She didn't know what hit her. Our first "date" was at Kelsey's, when the Leafs were on TV getting eliminated by the Flyers in April of 2003. So in the ensuing 28 months, she only had to put up with six months of hockey. She probably thought I was this attentive gentleman who was merely a passive hockey fan who contributed weekly articles to The Hockey News, and so she married me in 2005. Then the lockout ended and, like I said, she didn't know what hit her. All hockey, all the time. So for her to give me this shot is pretty amazing.

 

Anyway, I gave my notice and in November of 2007 DobberHockey became my full-time endeavor. The traffic continued to grow and Midseason Guides and Playoff Lists sold enough to buy me a few more months. I was still living off my wife...but at least I could contribute. You know, pay a bill or two.

 

That summer I cleared a million hits in a single month for the first time, and sold enough Fantasy Guides to make it official. This past October, 2010, we had 6 million hits. Today I have Jeff Angus as the site's manager, Glen Hoos as the graphics designer, and Matt Bugg and Russ Miller are senior writers. Ryan Ma never seems to miss a day, Ryan Van Horne too. Brent Lemon has been an awesome addition, Ian Fergusson's team audits have been stellar, and what can I say about Justin Goldman? A pioneer in the goaltending niche, and he got us rolling on Dobber Nation (later taken over by Andrew Walker - who was and is a true talent over on the FAN 960 now). Marty Kwiaton and Alessandro Seren Rosso have brought much needed content and complete what is a stellar team. I would also like to thank Dan Snyder and the DobberBaseball crew. And finally, the former writers for this site: Burns, Gunther, Stu McDonald, Eric Maltais, Steve Johnson (Notch), Dale McCarthy and Jacob Stettes (J Status). And how much did DobberHockey improve when Frozen Pool and Jason Arbuthnot came on board? Seriously? That tool is still the best fantasy hockey tool in the WORLD.

 

A special thank you to Rick "Shoeless" Wakeman, for being the best forum contributor the world has ever seen. Always polite, courteous and helpful - I don't know how he does it for 17,000 posts. But could the forum have grown as quickly without him? I don't think so. I really don't.

 

I know I used to joke about how I should be an NHL GM. But I would honestly turn down that job today, if anyone were crazy enough to offer it. I'm that happy with this one.

 

Thank you everyone for a dream come true.

 

 


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Comments (17)add comment

HockeyKnight said:

HockeyKnight
Been with you since the start.... ... congrats! The growth of the site has been phenominal, in both content and capability. As we continue to struggle with HockeyKnight.com (passionately, in the spare time after our day jobs), I can appreciate the early growing pains you must have experienced, and the courage it must have taken for you to make the leap to full time (we are looking forward to that day!). Nice to see you recognize those along the way that have helped you, including your family. It will be interesting to see what the next five years bring. Cheers! JT

PS - that Gervais for Brassard trade you suggested a few years back, not working out so well - yet smilies/smiley.gif
November 06, 2010 | url
Votes: +0

Jason Banks said:

Jason_Banks
... Unfortunatly no I dont have them dated, but I've saved them on my facebook as favorite quotes ever.

The Yashin one was for like 3-4 years ago near the start of the KHL existantce when Yashin was being offered his KHL contract and saying he may possibly wanna come back to the NHL.

Nashville one was 2 years ago when they had the 2nd bid come in, Obviously, and I believe you posted it the day after they had a gient season ticketholder/fans rally in the city...

I believe the Bouchard one was late season... possibly just after the season ended when teams give thier updates on injured players.

I dunno how far your rambelings are recorded back but you can go back day by day and find the date...
November 06, 2010
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Dobber said:

Dobber
... Thank you everyone! Again!

Banks - those lines are gold. Do you have them saved somewhere? If you have more, I'd love to discuss, email me. Especially if they're dated
November 06, 2010
Votes: +0

agentzero said:

agentzero
congratulations are well deserved Pure and simple, the best hockey and fantasy hockey resource out there. I love this site so much. All the writers are great. Everything about the forum is great and the tools are outstanding. Well done Dobber and the entire crew, from A to Z.
November 06, 2010
Votes: +0

Jason Banks said:

Jason_Banks
... Hey Daryl, congrats.

I've been a daily reader since just before you changed to this web design, I know I was frustrated when you did cause I thought I lost your site after only reading for a few weeks.

I also would like to inquire what happened with you selling the site? I remeber a posting over a year ago about you making a deal to sell the site, I dunno if your currently running under that deal or if it fell through... but I remeber the big long rambleing on it and you feelings on it.

Once again great job, all your hits are proof of it!

I'd like to repost my Favorite Dobber Quotes ever, some people may remeber these:

"If Yashin takes off, he will become my new 'most brilliant man in hockey'. It's hilarious when guys suck as much money as they can from the greedy league, give little back, and then leave early to enjoy the money. Alexandre Daigle did that...but then he ran out of money and had to make a comeback. He came back, made a couple of million and then left again. Brilliant!"

"I love all these knee-jerk reactions in cities that are close to losing their team. Winnipeg, Minnesota, Quebec, and now Nashville's rallying support for season tickets and even an alternate bid. Here's a thought - try doing this in the first place so it doesn't come to this. Why don't you give that a shot? You truly don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. These cities are like an abusive boyfriend, suddenly becoming really really nice now that the woman has just told him she wants to break up."

"Pierre-Marc Bouchard is still battling concussion problems. The team denies it is a concussion - just "recurring headaches". The team can call it lollypops and chocolate bars if they want. We know what it really is."
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

chimp82x said:

chimp82x
... Congratulations on making fantasy hockey a full-time job Dobber. That must be amazing. Definitely one of the coolest things to come out of West Shore. Way to represent, haha!

One note: I read the old Dobber's Take columns and was laughing my ass off -- especially the one about Anson Carter. I'd welcome a bunch of that non-PC hilarity back into the ramblings, at least occasionally.
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

Scott Parker said:

Sin Bin
... Congrats to you and your whole staff. You all do a great job and it is by far the best forums I have ever seen. Thank also to all the poster that also make this a great site.
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

David said:

OceanMon
Congrats, Dobber!! Thanks for feeding my addiction for these past few years! Keep it up!
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

Chicleteur said:

Chicleteur
5 years already... Awesome! Congrats to you Dobber and to all the crew!

You've improved almost day after day since I joined. I've said it many time, but you also have the best forum community I've ever seen and you should be proud of that.

Cheers!
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

nblobstr said:

nblobstr
Soon to be single... Glad your marriage is strong, because your site, and the time I spend on it and my fantasy team,has ruined mine smilies/angry.gif
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

Pontus Andersson said:

crosby87
Thank You Dobber! No Dobber, thank You!

I dont remember exactly when I found dobberhockey, but it must have been quite early. The first thing I remember was your clown list (or articles...). I was thinking; ok some jerk here that needs to be funny But he has something to say about fantasy hockey and I need help! So lets try... Stuck ever since and loving it! I am here 10 times a day, not writiong a lot, but reading alot. Its amazing that a site can gather that amount of knowledge that this site have!

Con grats Dobber!
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

lanky522 said:

lanky522
Wow. Memories man does reading through those old posts bring back memories.

I actually kinda miss the old politically-incorrectness. I understand why it had to change (as more people started to follow the site), and I love that the educated eye can still catch it every now and then when you write, but those opinions and hard-lines you used to take was one of the reasons I initially started frequenting the site.

There's nothing better than someone actually speaking their mind and telling it how it is. Luckily, while you've gotten more P.C. over the years, this facet hasn't changed.

Looking forward to another 5 Mr. Dobbs!
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

BabyElias said:

BabyElias
Congrats to DobberHockey team! Great story! Dobber, I really admire your determination and courage in the beginning when the times were tough. Not many people have a possibility to combine a hobby and the job. I am so jealous smilies/smiley.gif

DobberHockey is simply the best site. Ramblings, forum, columns by the contributors (Jeff and Justin being the personal favs), guides etc..

Thanks!!
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

Mabus said:

mabus
... Congratulations Dobber. You have a great site. I'm just disappointed that all of the other guys in my pools are now regularly reading the posts and buying the guides. I guess it was inevitable given the quality of content here. Keep pushing the envelope Dobber.
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

littleranger said:

littleranger
Congrats! I've been on this site since 2006 when my brother introduced it to me. We would be talking hockey at the dinner table and Dobber's name would pop up probably weekly...but a few years later at the dinner table 90% of our hockey talk was the ramblings haha. This guy is a great contribution and basically a pioneer of fantasy hockey information seeing as it never really came close to football/baseball until recent (in Canada at least).

I always wondered about this story and its great that you finally posted it. You're always there to give your thoughts/opinions on whats going on in the world of hockey and even ready to post on the smallest 'who would you pick between' thread. Thank's a lot Dobber (and the rest of the team!) and keep up the great work!
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

GMGates said:

GMGates
... Simply amazing, kudos Dobber! Also a big thanks to all the past and present columnists that made dobberhockey what it is today. What a great team.

And I can't forget to give a special thanks to all the forum contributors too. Without all of you, I myself wouldn't be the hockey poolie I am today.

I raise my glass to everyone involved and proudly say "To many more years!"

Cheers guys smilies/cheesy.gif
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0

praba said:

praba
... congrats to dobber and company. this site has taken over my life. its the first thing i check every morning. the ramblings are always informative, the articles are always great, and the forum is awesome.
November 05, 2010
Votes: +0
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