That isn't me, I promise.
A few weeks ago, I posed this question to the DobberHockey community – tell us why you love fantasy hockey. The responses have been above and beyond what I was expecting.
Please read on to find out who submitted the three best responses, how to vote for a winner, and more.
I Love Fantasy Hockey Because…
I’m not sure when I held my first fantasy league draft. I think it was in Grade 8 or Grade 9. My friends and I would meet at our lunch break to draft our rosters. We kept it simple – goals and assists. I remember having the Los Angeles top line for their brief stretch of dominance – Adam Deadmarsh and Ziggy Palffy centered by the immortal Jason Allison. That is when I first experienced one of the great things about fantasy hockey.
You become attached to players, teams, rookies, veterans, and line combinations that you would otherwise would not. I started to write about fantasy hockey back in 2004. I liked writing, I loved hockey, and I was pretty good at this fantasy hockey thing, so I decided to see where it could take me. I sent a submission of my work to Dobber, as I was one of the first readers of his early (early) site. My quality of writing was mediocre at best, but Dobber recognized by knowledge and passion and brought me on board. I’ve been working with him for six or seven years now, and my love for fantasy hockey has only grown. Whatever I do for the rest of my work life, the skills I have developed while writing for and managing DobberHockey will help immensely.
There are two key reasons why my love for fantasy hockey has grown (beyond this site, of course). One, I found a fantastic pool a few years ago (the Ultimate Fantasy Pool – don’t let our generic name fool you, this is an amazing league). I had never met any of the GMs in this league when I joined it, but I was familiar with most of them from the DobberHockey community. I’d consider many of them to be friends, and we even got together to conduct our draft in Las Vegas last year. It won’t be the last time we meet up to draft, either. And that leads me into my second point – community. It is rare to have a website as busy and popular as DobberHockey maintain a “small town” feel. The negative comments and trolls don’t last long – we have fantastic moderators, but our community is also self-policing. People are more than willing to offer advice, be it fantasy hockey related or not. I have only met a small portion of our members and readers, but I feel as if I know many of you thanks to our respectful debates and discussions.
And it is also amazing to see how this site continues to thrive in the midst of this absurd and pointless ego-driven lockout. Our guide sales are down, but any post on the forum still generates multiple responses from people wanting to lend a hand and share their opinion. You don’t find that elsewhere, and it is a reason why there isn’t anywhere else to go for fantasy hockey fanatics.
(And yes, I ignored the 250 word limit.)
Finalist #1 – mounD
I love fantasy hockey because it is something that not only allows me to talk trash on my friends (and their girlfriends), but it truly brings a group of people together. As Matthew Berry might say, fantasy is meant to be fun, and the real fun derives from building a cohesive bond between your core group of friends while debating Crosby's neurological condition, Gary Bettman's likeability, or just the latest racist/homophobic Biznasty tweet.
All the distinct personalities present in our everyday lives are condensed and somehow amplified through the lens of fantasy hockey, and when our true personalities shine through on the fantasy world, and then everyone wins. Sure, the purpose of fantasy hockey is to win. We flock to sites like DobberHockey in order to glean every last shred of information about the studs and duds on our squads, and we read the words of Angus, Dobber, and Chris Nichols until our eyes bleed. Why, you ask? To win, of course. To have bragging rights over our friends and to admire the sight of a trophy on the mantle.
But all these things cloud the true benefit of fantasy hockey, one based on camaraderie and rooted in the hearts and minds of us all. In short, I love fantasy hockey because it brings me closer to the ones I love.
Finalist #2 – Axeman33
My addiction to fantasy hockey started many years ago
My buddy asked me to join his league but little did I know
I bought a book, gave it a look and headed to my first draft
It took me years of making terrible mistakes before I honed my craft
I started out quite simple, one team was enough for me
Points only with a bunch of friends and a little bit of money
But soon I’d learn that I would yearn for leagues a’plenty
Not one, not two, three or four, my league count grew to twenty
I’d pour over the waiver wires looking for a steal
I’d scour everyone’s trade block hoping to make a deal
I studied charts, and goalie starts I pinned standings on my wall
Multi-cat and points only leagues I learned to love them all
As a hockey player myself, I’m naturally a competitive guy
Its all about the win for me, I don’t play the game to “try”
I hate to rebuild, I try to be filled with guys who help me win
You better be ready if you’re in my league cause I’ll hit ya on the chin
So why do I love fantasy hockey I believe was the question asked
A lot of it comes from knowing that real life can be masked
When lifes not fair, and your teams going nowhere best hope you have a good wife
Fantasy hockey is more then a game, it’s simply a way of life
Finalist #3 – BowlerCoaster
My (primary) league started in 2002 when my friends and I lived in the dorms at University. We all graduated (eventually) and moved on to careers, got wives and had kids. Fantasy hockey is the web that keeps us all connected. But every week in the winter my phone rings a few times.
"I can't believe you keep putting Getzlaf in. He's terrible. I'm willing to give you Bryan Little for him."
"Don't ever call me again."
Our league trophy is a large, bronze trophy given by Lord Stovel to the best Ladies Double Bowling Team in the province. I'm not joking. It was made in 1919. I found it while doing demolition on a construction job and the foreman didn't care if I took it.
Once I stole it from the league champion and posted a series of photos of me on a date with it. I cannot reproduce them here due to their explicit nature. We fed each other sundaes, watched a movie, and took a bath before retiring to the bedroom.
There have been drunken shouting matches. Accusations of cheating, collusion and lying. Disputes have been settled with Indian leg wrestling matches and hockey games on Playstation.
Every weekend before our trade deadline we get together for a curling bonspiel, get drunk and hammer out some trades.
Why do I love fantasy hockey? It’s more than a hobby to pass the time. It keeps all my best friendships stronger than they would have otherwise been.
As a young boy, I use to take the 9v battery out of the freezer at night just to get another 10-15 minutes out of the transistor radio to hear Lloyd Pettit paint the picture of Bobby Hull's blistering slap shot rip the nets or Tony O. making the gloved save.
As I build my career in computers, I lost touch with my love for the Blackhawks and hockey in general.
I was fortunate enough to play in a fantasy baseball league with a wonder full commissioner (Canadian) that offered a team in his fantasy Hockey league. I joined just before the Crosby years and enjoyed my favorite team draft Kane and Toews then, beyond belief, winning the cup!
My love for fantasy hockey is rooted in my long love of hockey itself. Fantasy Hockey allowed me to keep my finger on the pulse of the great game itself.
I have been a huge hockey fan since the days of Keon, Bower, Mahovolich and the rest of the Stanley cup winning teams that dominated all my free time during my youth. In 1985 I had an opportunity to join a fantasy league started by Scott Abbot of Trivia Pursuit fame. It was appropriately called the Token Hockey League. What a drug I found this to be, as it consumed me entirely. The following year I started my own league which is still active today, the Alpha Hockey League. The early years were truly a labour of love as all the stats were done manually, having to wait till Tuesdays, so we could get the numbers from the paper.
Now i am talking of 8-to-10 hours of intense number crunching to get the weekly numbers. Where was Fantrax when we began? We had a GM who was a semi-geek on the laptop and he wrote us a program to sort the numbers by 1992. Just to download the stats over a 9000 baud modem was a 1 hour endeavor, but it beat the 10 hours that it used to take. Truthfully I miss the old days of a handful of managers getting together every Monday night and crunching the numbers, our anticipation like that of a five year old Xmas morning. Flag to the present and what used to take hours is now mere seconds, goals are scored and you can see the standings change before your eyes. Thank the hockey gods for technology.
I love fantasy hockey because I'm an entrepreneur and I can relate the numbers, strategies, and deals to business. I get excited when I make a fantastic trade for a player that lights it up right away.
I get fired up looking at the constantly changing standings, and I love taunt boards where I can vent about frustrations, and connect with my fellow poolies. But most of all I love fantasy hockey drafts where you have to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. When a highly desired player falls on your lap that you never expected is like getting a gift from god, something that will keep you coming back time and time again like a 40 foot putt on a golf course.
Fantasy hockey for me is a sport in itself, and something I will be part of for the rest of my life!
DobberHockey members have shared their homemade trophies, their draft rooms, and one of our readers even consulted Jeremy Roenick for some fantasy hockey advice.
All three of the above finalists will receive a prize, but the winner will get a choice of a fantasy hockey team audit from Dobber or myself, or an autographed Dustin Byfuglien 8x10.