Online Fantasy Hockey

Online Fantasy Hockey Games

By Chris Perrin

If you are looking to play in a fantasy hockey league, you should play online fantasy hockey. In the dark days before the Internet, fantasy hockey players would have to tabulate scores by hand from box scores. This limited the amount of stats commissioners could easily track (for instance, penalty kill minutes, not always listed on a box score), it was slow (who has the time to score by hand), and it was prone to error.

Enter online fantasy hockey. Today, you can play fantasy hockey against people you have never met before using a public online fantasy hockey league or you can meet up with your friends offline, drink some beer, pick your teams, but let the computers worry about keeping score.

If you don’t have an online fantasy hockey service, here is a list of both free and pay online fantasy hockey sites. For the most part, free sites tend to have just as good of software as the pay sites, but the pay sites usually come with additional perks, usually fantastic prizes at the end of the season.

Free Fantasy Hockey Online

Online Fantasy HockeyHere are some free online fantasy hockey sites:

Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey

Yahoo! has had a strong commitment to fantasy sports for over a decade, including hockey. Today, they are one of the top three sites for online fantasy hockey on the internet. Their software is extremely user-friendly, league commissioners are given a wide variety of options for how they would like to set up their league, and the site offers numerous types of leagues and drafts.

CBSSports.com Fantasy Hockey

CBSSports.com has been in the online fantasy sports business for as long as Yahoo! has and they have built quite a following in the online fantasy hockey community. In general, CBSSports.com’ software is not quite as user-friendly as Yahoo!’s, but CBSSports.com offers more features for league commissioners and players. This makes CBSSports.com especially well-suited for competitive players with lots of fantasy experience.

ESPN.com

The final name is the big three of free online fantasy hockey, ESPN.com offers their own fantasy hockey service. Perhaps due to their reputation as being the premier name in sports, they offer many premium features for free, such as live scoring, which can add to the excitement of fantasy hockey. They also offer several different “community” features which let players chat (and talk trash) with others owners in their league and owners from all across ESPN.com.

Fantrax

Fantrax is the dark horse of free online fantasy hockey sites. They don’t have the big name recognition that goes along with Yahoo!, ESPN.com, or CBSSports.com. What they do have, however, is a very functional (if not exactly gorgeous site) that offers fantasy leagues in seven different sports, including hockey. Despite their lack of a big name, they are well regarded by players who use their site.

PickupHockey.com

Instead of being a league-base fantasy hockey site, PickupHockey.com is a hockey pool manager that will allow you to host your hockey pool for free. Hockey pools are similar to fantasy hockey leagues, but they tend to have less complex rules and scoring. Owners select a team and receive points based on player scores. Hockey pools can get complex with rules governing if owners may or may not be able to select the same player twice or whether two owners might not be able to select the same player in the same week. PickupHockey.com supports many of these options for your fantasy pool.

Online Pay Fantasy Hockey Sites

If you are interested in the additional features and cool prizes from a pay site, consider the following sites.

Fanball

Fanball is one of the best known names in pay hockey sites. They offer two different styles of fantasy hockey for those looking for a little extra in their online fantasy hockey experience. They offer fully customizable leagues for less then $70 which work like free sites, except they offer a much greater degree of customization. Owners looking to make some money can play in Draft & Play leagues which allow you to win $100 for as little as $10 a team.

Fanstar

Fanstar is another popular choice with for-pay online fantasy hockey. They really try to make the price of hosting a league worth it with a number of features not found anywhere else. This includes leagues with up to thirty-two teams and four conferences, farm systems, branded backgrounds, and other cool features. Their software is so advanced, they offer demos to show it.

Keeper Fantasy Leagues

For many fantasy hockey fans, Keeper Fantasy Leagues is well worth the $69.95 a year it costs to host a league with them because of their unique focus: keeper leagues. A keeper league is a long term league where owners are able to keep some or all of their players from one season to the next. This type of draft can be very exciting for owners who can set up farm clubs, protect players, and generally feel what real hockey GMs go through as they try to build and maintain a team for years. Because of its focus on keeper leagues, Keeper Fantasy Leagues offers numerous ways to tweak your keeper league and customize it your own preferences.

HockeyDraft.ca

HockeyDraft.ca is the self-proclaimed “best hockey pool on the Internet.” Fortunately for them, reviews on the internet tend to prove that the site has great technology and lots of features. Like other pay sites, they earn their money by offering more features (like live scoring) or advanced customization options than free services such as the ability to host keeper hockey pools. They cost $20 for the regular season and $20 for the playoffs.

Sporting News

Sporting News offers both a free and pay salary cap hockey service. Salary cap is yet another type of fantasy sports where owners create teams of hockey players by paying them a certain salary. The more productive a player, the more they get paid. Owners have an important job: to get the most amount of scoring for the least amount of salary. Sporting News’ free service offers the basic features, while the pay service lets you play for big money.

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