Fantasy Hockey Leagues

How to Play Fantasy Hockey

Though hockey isn’t as popular as fantasy football, fantasy baseball and fantasy basketball, that doesn’t mean fans can’t enjoy fantasy hockey just like everyone else. The basic premise of fantasy hockey is a group of fans, called owners or general managers, compile a team of NHL hockey players and determine a winner from the statistics compiled by their team members.

A bunch of people who get together to play fantasy hockey is called a "fantasy hockey league".

How to Play Fantasy Hockey

It isn't hard to learn how to play fantasy hockey.

Fantasy hockey leagues consist of anywhere from 6 to 30 teams, with most leagues having 10 or 12. The more teams in your league, the thinner the available talent pool of players on each team. Leagues of different sizes require different strategies to compete, so keep this in mind before you start or join a league. Team owners compile their teams using either a draft or auction format.

How to Play Fantasy HockeyA fantasy hockey draft order is determined by chance or draw, then is run 1st through last, last through 1st, 1st through last, etc. In an auction league, each team owner has a set amount they may spend on their roster and bids against other owners for the rights to NHL players. Players not chosen in the draft or auction are free agents. Any team can pick up free agents by dropping a player currently on their roster.

The number of players per team varies from fantasy hockey league to fantasy hockey league, but one of the most common configurations is:

  • 2 Centers
  • 2 Left Wings
  • 2 Right Wings
  • 4 Defensemen
  • 2 Goalies
  • 4 players from any position

Another common configuration is:

  • 1 Center
  • 1 Left Wing
  • 1 Right Wing
  • 2 Defensemen
  • 1 Goalie
  • 4 players from any position

Leagues are scored either on a week-by-week basis, where each team assigns starters for the week, or on an overall points basis where the entire team is used for points. In leagues where starters are designated, players not in the starting lineup do not count towards the points for the team. Leagues may use one starter for each position or two, depending on the league bylaws.

Fantasy Hockey Scoring

Fantasy hockey scoring is assigned for different categories in different leagues. Here is a list of the most common categories used. You may design your league using any or all of them.

  • Goals
  • Assists
  • Plus/Minus
  • Power Play Goals
  • Penalty Minutes
  • Shots on Goal
  • Face-offs Won
  • Game Winning Goals


  • Wins
  • Save Percentage
  • Goals Against Average
  • Shutouts

Head-to-head Fantasy Hockey Leagues

In head-to-head fantasy hockey leagues, each team competes for the most points in each category against another team for a win. A win can be determined by the team who wins the most categories (in this case, it is advisable to have an odd number of categories) or by a predetermined number of points for each category. Some leagues count the goals category higher than other ones.

The champion of the league is determined in a playoff system toward the end of the NHL season. Some leagues don’t start the playoffs until the actual NHL playoffs start.

"Points" Fantasy Hockey Leagues

The other type of league is a “points” league. Fantasy hockey scoring in a "points" league involves team owners just trying to accumulate the most points over the course of the season. This type of league requires less involvement on a week-by-week basis for the team owners.

That's the beginnings of how to play fantasy hockey. The nuances and strategies involved in playing fantasy hockey well will come later.

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