There have been a few FanPosts out here recently concerning Fantasy Hockey. I wanted to try and consolidate some information in one central spot, so pardon if some of this post seems redundant. Inside you'll find not only information about a couple of opportunities in which OTFers have to participate, but also some reasons why you should take part, including the renewal of a certain league from last season...
LEAGUES ARE AVAILABLE
Several years ago, a massive super league was started as a result of interest by people on the official Predators Message Boards. This league, managed by Brian Fisher, has grown to 6 leagues deep and features Keeper players as well as promotion/relegation based on your team's performance. These are ESPN fantasy hockey leagues and feature a deep set of stats, including Faceoffs Won, Blocked Shots, Goalie Winning % and more.
There are still several spots available if you are interested. You can drop Brian an email (email@example.com) if you want to join in there.
Here at OTF, an Official On The Forecheck League was created using the Yahoo! platform for fantasy hockey. Now in its third year, it features a more basic scoring settings and is currently set for 20 teams - though all this can change based on demand. Donelson Nominals was the champion last season, and there is plenty of room for returning managers or anyone new to fantasy hockey. Give me, Matt, a shout via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions or want to hop into this league.
WHY CARE ABOUT FANTASY HOCKEY?
This is a question I hear a lot from those who don't participate in fantasy sports. It's not just a waste of time, as many may think. Depending on the players you have drafted, it provides the means for you to actually care about what happens in a Florida-Edmonton game in late November!
For me, one of the biggest benefits is that you are exposed to players from all the teams in the league. In order to assemble the best team possible, you need to know about players from everywhere (including the minors) and not just the marquee guys around the NHL. This familiarity with all players brings knowledge about who scores/wins faceoffs/gets power play time -- all things that will enhance your viewing experience when you watch that team play for real.
In short, Fantasy Hockey can be an educational tool for familiarizing yourself with NHL teams and players, which can amplify your enjoyment of watching games, no matter which teams are playing.
Knowledge Of Opponents
If you take care to research players from teams you may not be familiar with, that knowledge will help when it comes time to watch a Predators game. Knowing who tends to draw penalties for the Capitals or who the power play point producers are for Colorado - this will provide info on other aspects of the game to be aware of and anticipate while watching a game.
And as Preds fans, we can have some fun building a fictitious team while enjoying the season with fellow Predators fans, talking smack about others' teams, and gain bragging rights among other Managers. Fantasy leagues are a good forum to discuss players with others and see their perspectives (not that we don't get plenty of that in the gameday threads...).
So participating in a fantasy hockey league can be a rewarding and, dare I say, educational experience. Like most pursuits, though, you get out of it what you put into it. Fantasy Hockey came into view for me much later than baseball and football did, but I can't imagine a hockey season without it!