XHL Rulebook

 

Thank you for joining the XHL. By joining, you agree to the following in the league’s Code of Conduct:

That you will be active and participate often in the league. These duties include line changes, message board posts, transactions (trades/free agent signings/demotions/call-ups, etc.) and replying to trade proposals from other GM’s in a timely manner

That you will do your best to keep your team competitive at all times

That you will notify the league if real-life situations may arise that would render you unable to run your team

That you will either submit a list or attend each season’s Entry Draft

That you will not harass other GM’s

And, most importantly, that you have fun. This is an escape from reality, you should enjoy it!

 

Setting up a team:

Re-branding fees: Re-branding fees are put in to protect the league from constant transition. The re-branding fee for a GM that has been in the league for more than a season is $10 Million. All name-changes are subject to Board of Governors approval.

Moving fees: Moving fees are put in to protect teams from constant movement. The moving fee is only instituted for a GM that has been in the league for more than a season. The fee is $50 Million. All moves are subject to Board of Governors approval.

GM’s that have just entered the league may change their team’s name or move without paying either fee, however, that move will be subject to Board approval.

 

What is needed to set up a team:

Team name – City (only somewhat large cities/regional areas please, see list below) and team name (nothing overtly sexual, racist, sexist or homophobic permitted)

Arena name – Same rules for team names. Also, giving your arena a corporate name will generate money for your team depending on how large the company that you choose is.

Arena capacity – No arena’s capacity can be higher than 21,500. Please specify the capacity of each of the four levels of your arena along with the luxury suites. Also, depending on the size of each team’s market, certain limitations may be in place. Only the top 25 markets in the United States listed here can have an arena up to 21,500: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_metropolitan_areas

As for Canada, any of the top 10 Canadian markets listed here can be up to 21,500: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_100_largest_metropolitan_areas_in_Canada

Ticket prices – Ticket prices are determined by level. Level 1 being the lower bowl will be most expensive, followed by Level 2 (higher part of the lower deck), followed by Level 3 (lower part of the upper deck) and then Level 4 (upper part of the upper deck). Luxury suite prices also must be listed.

Head coach – You must sign your coaches to contracts just like you would for players. The coach will accept any salary given, but the years can be anywhere from one to five. You also must hire a head coach for your farm team. Teams that do not hire coaches will be at the mercy of the league, which will choose a coach for them.

Captains and alternate captains – You can choose one Captain [C] and two alternate captains [A].

MHL affiliate – Every team in the XHL gets an affiliate in the MHL, the XHL’s farm league. These teams can play in any city in North America and the same rules as above for team names apply.

Email address – Provide the league with your address so that you can be contacted by the league, as well as by other GM’s.

Messenger (optional) – If you have a Twitter feed, you may use that for GM’s to contact you. You may also set up a separate Twitter page dedicated only to your team so as to not be bothered on your personal feed if you wish.

Message board – All GM’s must sign up for the league’s message board. There are no laws that you must post there, but it is a good way to show some of your creativity while writing articles and other short stories about your team.

Uniforms and logos – Your logo and uniforms can be designed by either myself, the XHL commissioner, or you can do them on your own and I will designate them for your respective team.

 

Expansion draft info:

In 2013, the XHL will hold its second expansion draft in as many years by welcoming two new franchises to the league. It is expected that this will be the last league expansion for the foreseeable future.

Each team will get to protect a total of 11 players (six forwards, four defensemen and one goalie) from their pro roster age 26 and older. A minor league expansion draft will also take place featuring all players on MHL teams age 24 and older. If you wish to protect anyone fitting this criteria, you may move them to your pro roster.

Pending free agents can be exposed to the draft and selected, though they will remain pending free agents unless the Franchise Tag (more on this later) is used. Either of the expansion teams may also select an unrestricted free agent and can sign them to a franchise tag if they wish. Teams will alternate picks. No more than four players can be taken from each team.

 

The Sim:

The XHL is not dictated by the real-life events of NHL games. Rather, it is run by using the SimonT simulation program, more info available here: http://sths.simont.info/index.php

The manual detailing the sim can be found here: http://sths.simont.info/Manual_En.php and there is also a free demo on the site for you to use to get more acclimated to how it works.

 

The Commissioner:

The duties of commissioner of the XHL include the simulation of games and posting of results on the website as close to schedule as possible, to update league files, to run the league’s website and message board, to maintain an information page as best as possible and to treat all GM’s fairly and evenly. The XHL commissioner will not favor one GM over others regardless of their relationship with certain other GM’s.

 

Board of Governors:

Currently, the XHL consists of four GM’s that make up the ‘Board of Governors,” a ruling body that consists of commissioner Dan Sicignano, Toronto GM and dean of discipline Kelly Reardon, Winnipeg GM Faisal Hussainly, Quebec GM Matt Jordan and Pittsburgh GM Brent Baldwin. The board votes on significant league changes including possible rule changes, suspensions, GM dismissals and prospective new GM’s, team re-names and franchise shifts. The board will require a simple majority to pass all votes and in case of deadlock, or issues regarding a conflict of interest, Mr. Sicignano will rule in their stead.

 

Suspensions:

Any GM in the league may appeal a suspension that they deem unfair. To do this, they must email an appeal to Mr. Reardon, who will run the league suspension program that he created to determine if a player is a repeat offender. If the player is not, the suspension has a better chance of being overturned. If the player IS a repeat offender, then the issue will then go to the Board of Governors for them to vote.

As a trial run this year, we will also try a system in which suspensions can be issued to players who do NOT receive a suspension from the sim. The way this would occur would be if a GM had a player injured, he consulted a box score, saw in the play-by-play that the player was hit by somebody else, and then requested a suspension for that offending player by emailing Mr. Reardon. What would then happen would be that Mr. Reardon would run the suspension program to see if the player was a repeat offender, and then the Board of Governors would rule if the combining factors (such as if the offending player is a known goon, or if the game was a blowout late, or a rivalry game, etc.) and determine if a suspension should be issued, and for how long.

 

Rosters:

You may have an unlimited amount of players on your team between pro and farm team. Your pro roster can hold 25 healthy players (20 dressed – 18 skaters, 2 goalies - 5 healthy scratches) plus injuries. Forwards must make up at least 3 from each position (C, LW, RW) Injuries don’t count against the salary cap. The farm roster is unlimited but only 18 skaters and 2 goalies can dress at one time and nobody making more than $3 Million per year can be sent down.

You can also change the positions of players if you wish. You can either make a forward into a defenseman or a defenseman into a forward, but please be advised that their ratings will take a hit in several key categories as a result of this.

Also please note that there is a minimum of 50 players that your organization can have, and when you have injuries, even as few as one injury, that number drops below 50 and NO GAMES are allowed to be simmed. Teams in violation of this will be fined $5M per day they violate this rule, so PLEASE keep your roster number at a comfortable number in relation to the limit.

Waivers – The same rules for free agency (no players under $3M can be demoted) apply for waivers. For a player to be subject to waivers, they must be 26 years old or older and they must have played 30 XHL regular season games or more. Players will spend 2 days on waivers before they can either be claimed or can clear waivers and go down to the minors. Teams that lose a player will be compensated with $250,000. Teams with waiver priorities will go from worst in the league to best. Waivers are not enabled during the preseason to allow for teams to try different players from the minor leagues in those games.

Lines: There are three different methods for sending lines to the league. The first one is Manual Lines. With this, you fill in the following template with the players that you want to dress on their respective lines and then you email it to the league. Here is how the email should look:

5 vs 5 (Even strength)
   Center                   Left Wing                Right Wing               Defense                  Defense                 

 1 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          

 2 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          
 3 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           

 4 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          

Power Play (5 on 4 or 3)
   Center                   Left Wing                Right Wing               Defense                  Defense                 


 1 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          
 2 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          


Penalty Kill - 4 Players (4 against 4 or 5)
   Center                   Wing                     Defense                  Defense                 

 1 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          

 2 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          

4 vs 4 (Even strength 4 on 4 or 4 against 3)
   Center                   Wing                     Defense                  Defense                 


 1 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          
 2 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          

Penalty Kill - 3 Players (3 against 4 or 5)

   Forward                  Defense                  Defense                 
 1 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player          
 2 Unknown Player           Unknown Player           Unknown Player           


Goaltenders
Starting : Unknown Goalie          
Backup : Unknown Goalie          

Extra Forwards (In case of injury or empty net)
Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player
Extra Defensemen (In case of injury)
Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player
Penalty Shots (Shootout lineup)
Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player, Unknown Player

Scratches (5 healthy allowed)

Strategy (Combination of 5 points split between the 3 facets)

Physical Style:
Defense Style:
Offense Style:

Minimum # of Goals:
Save PCT Under:
(Guidelines for when a goalie will be removed from the game)

Strategy - You receive five points to use on your team to determine the style of play they will implement. The three phases available are Physical Style, Defense Style and Offense Style. You can balance them all fairly throughout the three phases or you can go with a complete goon team or go with an all-out offensive attack. And these can be changed on a game-to-game basis in case you want to mix it up against certain teams. There is a link on the front page for you to check what your current setting is.

 

The next styles of lines are Automatic lines. With this, you just inform me to “auto your lines”. While this is the easiest and simplest way to run things, it is extremely risky, as it puts you at the mercy of a sim that occasionally acts strangely. I would not necessarily recommend this.

Finally, there are the lines that are edited by the STHS Client. This client, once downloaded, allows you to edit all aspects of your everyday lineup yourself, which you can then email me and I will load them into the sim for that night’s games. More info is available here: http://sths.simont.info/Manual_En.php#STHS_Client

The client may appear confusing at first, but it is actually the easiest format for sending lines. It’s easier than manually filling out an entire set of lines, and it’s much easier for me to just click a few buttons rather than painstakingly entering every single player into the lines. The files are updated daily and posted at the top of the page. If you need any further help with this, please email me. Also, please note that the client will not work on all operating systems.

 

Salary Cap - The league operates with a hard cap of $70 Million. The cap factors in all healthy players on the pro roster (injuries don’t count against the cap) as well as players that are bought out (more on this later). Teams can be over the cap all throughout the offseason, but they must be under by the first Preseason game.

While the sim won’t allow for games to be simmed if even one team is over the cap, any teams in violation of the cap are at the mercy of the commissioner in terms of roster moves to get that team under the cap for that evening’s games. It is time consuming and aggravating to have to make these changes, so please stay on top of your team’s cap situation as much as possible.

There is also a salary floor of $30 Million, meaning that no team can have a pro payroll lower than that number. Again, if teams are below this number, the commissioner will make any necessary changes to bring the team into compliance, so please stay on top of this as well.

 

Trades – Trades are the lifeblood of the XHL, and they have played an enormously significant role in the history of the league. Trades are deemed official as long as A) Both GM’s agreed to the deal and B) It is in compliance with the salary cap. Trades cannot be protested and will only be overturned in extreme situations. Teams will trade at their own risk, so if a trade is awful, it must be processed since both teams agreed to it.

While every GM is in charge of keeping their team as competitive as possible, they are not forced to make deals and no other GM can make them do so. Any instances of pressuring by one GM over another will not be tolerated and will be met with extreme consequences.

With that said, it is the duty of every GM in the league to respond to deals in a timely manner. A simple response can be “No.” But it has to be something. Other GM’s are working hard to build a winner and you should too, so don’t make their offers fall on deaf ears. If you are having email address problems, let me know from an alternate address. As well, if you feel that you will not be able to run your team for a certain amount of time, please let me know.

Among the players who can be traded are any players currently under contract that do not have the Franchise Tag or Lifetime Clause (after the first four seasons). Players who are pending unrestricted free agents can’t be moved either (RFA’s can be dealt). Picks, cash considerations and “future considerations” can also be traded.

Unassigned Free Agents – Unclaimed players who are active in any league around the world age 22 and over can be signed by any team in the league provided they are not on a pro roster, a farm roster or a prospect list of a team. Unassigned players can be signed to any dollar amount from 1 to 4 years. A GM is to send a link to a player’s stats along with contract details. Stats are available at the following sites:  www.nhl.comwww.tsn.ca,www.hockeydb.com or http://forecaster.faceoff.com/faceoff/hockey/playerindex.cgi .

Prospects – Any prospect age 18 to 21 that you acquired either in the entry draft or by trade can be signed for any dollar amount from 1 to 4 years. In order to activate a player, the rules for unassigned free agents apply in regards to sending that player’s stats.

Please note that starting this year, players on the Prospects page without a year next to their name will either become unrestricted free agents or will go back into the draft depending on their age. Following this year, the rule will apply to players drafted in Year 1, Year 2, and so on.

When signing an unassigned free agent or prospect, NHL stats take priority, followed by AHL, CHL leagues, Europe, American colleges and so on. The same applies for rerates. (More on this shortly)

 

Buyouts – You can buy our any player that is not a Franchise player or holds the Lifetime Clause (more on this shortly). However, since there is no limit to the amount of players that can be in your organization, I wouldn’t recommend this.

If you do wish to buy a player out, however, all releases count "50/50", meaning that 50% of the total contract value will be taken out of your current funds, while the other 50% will be your salary cap hit throughout the remainder of the contract.

For instance, if you release a player making $2 Million a year for the next 3 seasons, 50% of that total contract (half of the total value of $6 Million, or $3 Million total) will come out of your current funds. The remaining $3 Million will count evenly among the remaining years of the contract (meaning that $1 Million will still count against your cap for the next 3 seasons)

 

Retired and deceased players – When a player retires in real life, he will retire in the XHL when his contract runs out. So even if a player retires in real life while he’s in the first year of his XHL deal, he must finish out the remainder of his deal.

One new rule regarding retired players involves “off the map” players who ended up being a bust in real life only to become a star in the XHL. If this is the case, and retirement info for a player who hasn’t played in a few years is unavailable, he may continue to sign new contracts in the league until the age of 31, meaning that a 4-year deal at 31 can extend his career until 35 – an acceptable retirement age.

Unfortunately, players do occasionally tragically pass away at an age that’s way too young while they are still active. In case of this, the player will be removed automatically and immediately from the league. No player that is retired or deceased may be signed to a contract.

 

Firing a coach – In order to fire a coach from either the pro or farm club, all you have to do is send an email. Their salary will need to be bought out, but it will not count against the salary cap. If you wish to fire a coach, please make sure that you have a replacement ready. The replacement can even be yourself, but you must specify.

 

Entry draft – Each year’s entry draft follows the last NHL draft in terms of eligibility. Picks can be traded at any point and the draft order is posted shortly before the draft. Any player eligible to be drafted between the ages of 18 and 21 can be selected even if they weren’t drafted in real life.

For your team, there are a few ways of handling the draft. If you’re not interested in participating, you can trade away your picks and put it out of your mind. If you do have picks, you can either make a list (at least 25 players to as many as you see fit) beforehand, tell me to pick the best player available for your team or you can attend the draft. Failure to do any of these will result in the lowest players from the previous NHL draft being selected for your team.

The draft is usually held over Yahoo Messenger Voice Conference at a time that is most convenient for as many GM’s as possible.

 

Rerates – After the end of each season, rerates are permitted to every team in the league. Each team is given four rerates to use on any player that isn’t a pending Unrestricted or Restricted Free Agent (they are automatically rerated). A link with stats from that player’s respective league must be sent, and it must be specified if the rerate is for the XHL/MHL or real-life (NHL, AHL, etc. Same order as listed previously). XHL rerates carry more weight, so if there is a choice between the two, go with that.

 

Free Agency – Free Agency is the busiest time of the XHL calendar, more so than even the regular season. Teams have won and lost championships and shaped the direction of their franchise for years to come depending on just who they signed (and didn’t sign) in free agency. The league minimum is $500,000. Free Agency happens immediately following the XHL draft and takes places in two parts.

The first part is the Restricted Free Agent period. This is a 48-hour window prior to the start of Unrestricted Free Agency. During this period, you may offer contracts to your RFAs as part of the exclusive negotiating window. You can also slap the franchise tag on a pending UFA before he hits the market.

RFA’s will automatically re-sign if you go by the RFA Guidelines listed on the XHL’s website. However, please note that you do NOT have to sign players to the deal that corresponds with their age and rating. It’s just a suggestion. RFA guidelines are in relation to the top 5 best players in the league at their respective positions.

If you offer a player a deal that is close to the guideline, he will take an extra day after the window closes to sign. If it’s still a good deal, it will take two days. An insulting or underwhelming deal won’t be agreed to until the end of free agency. If you offer any sort of deal to an RFA and somebody signs that player to an offer sheet, you will still get compensation. Any players not offered a deal during the exclusive window become Unrestricted Free Agents.

RFA offer sheets rarely occur, but if you do sign a player to them, you will receive compensation in the form of a similarly rated player and draft picks depending on the player. The commissioner will act solely when judging compensation for RFA’s.

 

For the first time ever this year, the XHL Free Agency period will undergo drastic changes thanks to a free agency program designed by Toronto GM Kelly Reardon. Currently, details are still being worked out and they will be posted here when they are made official.

While bidding on a player, please be mindful of the salary cap and don’t get involved in any bidding wars that could jeopardize your cap situation. Also please do not sign players with the intent of flipping them to another team for draft picks days later.

 

All players are subject to free agency, but there are two ways to delay the inevitable. First is the “Lifetime Clause” – a one-time opportunity to lock up one of your best young players (Age 25 and under) to a deal anywhere from 5 years to 15 years. You may only have 1 “Lifetime Clause” player on your roster at any given time. The player’s salary must be consistent with the top 5 players in the league at his position. You may not trade that player for the first four years of their contract. A “Lifetime Clause” player also can’t be released or demoted during the first four years of their deal.

The other option is the Franchise Tag – a contract anywhere from 1 to 4 years that can be used on a pending UFA (age 28 and over). A player who is signed to a franchise tag must receive at least a 20% raise over what they are currently making, may not be traded for the duration of their contract and can’t be released or demoted during the duration of the deal as well. Also, when that player’s contract runs up, he can never be signed to a Franchise Tag again and will automatically enter into Unrestricted Free Agency. This can only be used during the RFA window as well. Please use this carefully – it has crippled teams in the past.

 

Preseason Tryouts – Preseason tryouts let you sign any player in free agency to a “tryout”, which entails the entire preseason. For sim reasons, the player will be signed to a one-year deal at the league minimum. If the team does not want that player, he will be released with no cap  hit at the end of the preseason. If they do, they can either keep that contract or sign him to a longer deal.

 

Ratings – Ratings are what each player is judged upon in terms of his talent. The ratings go from around 50 (lowest) all the  way up to 99 (highest). The categories that players are rated upon are as follows:

CK = Checking
FG = Fighting
DI = Discipline
SK = Skating
ST = Strength
DU = Durability
PH = Puck Handling
FO = Face Offs
PA = Passing
SC = Scoring
DF = Defense
EX = Experience
LD = Leadership
MO = Morale
PO = Potential
OV = Overall

It should be noted that OV doesn't carry a whole lot of stock, as you should be more focused on key categories such as DI, SK, FO, PA, SC, DF, EX, LD among others. This sim puts a lot of stock into teams that are a true “team” in all senses of the word. So you may not be able to win simply by having the best skilled players on every line. You need 4th liners who have high CK, FG and DF ratings. You need to pair defensemen that have good SC and PA ratings with d-men who have good DF ratings. You need an excellent passing center to go with your good scoring wingers. If you build a team this way, it will pay off. The last 3 champions – the New York Empire, New England Whalers and Montreal Moose – all won by utilizing this formula. Trust me, it works.

Goalies also have ratings. In fact, OV actually does come in handy with goalies, but you do want your goalie to also have good Durability, Strength and Agility.

Alternately, just because a player may not have amazing ratings, that doesn’t mean that he can’t be effective (such as defending Vezina winner Jaroslav Halak). On the other side, a player may have great ratings but could be a disappointment.

 

Endorsements – As a way of making finances start to mean something, endorsements and media contracts were brought in to the XHL. Every team is required to purchase at least radio and television rights and is encouraged to add sponsorships as well

Media Contracts – Every team must have a radio affiliate. To see a list of affiliates in your team’s city, Google your respective market’s radio stations. For example, the Swordsmen GM would enter “Greensboro radio stations”. Depending on the strength of the station’s signal, along with their importance, stations will cost different dollar amounts. An example:

Internet broadcast only (NOT recommended) - $2 Million

Local low-watt station (college radio, NPR affiliate, etc.) - $3 Million

Mid-level station (5 to 15,000 watts) - $5 Million

Large station (50,000 watts – think WGN, WFAN, KMOX, etc.) - $15 Million

The more you spend on radio rights, the more money you’ll make depending on the on-ice performance of your respective team.

Next are television affiliates. As with radio, the more you spend, the more you make. You can opt for a blackout of all games or all home games, but you’ll make no money other than what you’ll make up in tickets, and as a result, there will be backlash from your fans.

A deal for a local cable station (think News 12 in New York or the station formerly known as CN8 in Philadelphia) will result in a little more cash flow, but not much. A RSN (Regional Sports Network – MSG, NESN, Fox Sports Detroit, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, etc.) will result in a significant amount of cash flow depending on how your team does, and you can also split games up between the RSN and a local over the air affiliate (NBC, CW, My Network, etc.) if you wish. The most expensive, but potentially rewarding option is to create your OWN RSN (think YES Network, SNY, Altitude, Leafs TV). Here’s the chart:

Blackout (Home or altogether) – Nothing (not recommended)

Local cable affiliate - $10 Million

Regional Sports Network - $20 Million

New team-owned network: $50 Million

 

Finally, there are advertisements. You are not required to add them, but for a nominal fee, on-ice production will result in more exposure for your advertiser and will then result in money made by the team. The deeper you advance in the playoffs, the more money you make. There will not be a limit to the amount of sponsors you can have and you will make money for each one. Here’s how it will work:

Local sponsors (Jim Bob’s Plumbing, Fook Yu Chinese Restaurant, The Pleasure Zone Adult Hotline, etc.): $1 Million each

Significant local companies (think insurance companies, banks, local breweries, restaurant chains, etc): $3 Million each

Local Fortune 500 companies http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/states/CA.html (Dunkin’ Donuts in Boston, United Airlines in Chicago, TD in Toronto, Anheuser Busch in St. Louis, Ford in Detroit, Chase Bank in New York, etc.): $5 Million each

Massive global companies/Fortune 500 companies http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/full_list/  (Microsoft, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Subway, Toyota, AT&T, etc.): $8 Million each

Email me which companies you’d like, I’ll tally up the price and make a list on the website.

At the end of the season following the Finals, totals will be tallied up with a number of variables including momentum (or apathy), extra money per round of playoffs, 100-point seasons, and many others. Teams that miss the playoffs will likely end up losing money, those who just make it will break even or see a slight gain, and teams that go deep will make a significant amount of money.

 

Awards – Each offseason, the XHL Board of Governors will vote on who they felt was deserving of last year’s major awards – the Hart (MVP), Norris (Defense), Vezina (Goalie), Selke (Defensive Forward), Calder (Rookie) and GM of the Year.

Hall of Fame – This isn’t mandatory either, but the XHL Hall of Fame will start in 2013 and will feature a ballot of some of the greatest players in league history, who will have as much information as possible about them posted on the upcoming league information site. As many as eight players can be voted for the hall of fame. Players need at least 5 votes to be elected. All GM’s may participate.

 

Should any questions arise, please email the commissioner at thexhl@gmail.com . Thank you for your participation in the XHL!