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THE FEDERAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Constitution

Welcome to the Who's who of one of the premiere
Play-By-Mail
Strat-O-Matic Hockey League.

The following is the Constitution which rules all the activities
in the Federal Hockey League.

FHL CONSTITUTION-NOVEMBER 2000

1.0 Statement of existence.
1.1 The hockey league shall be known as the Federal Hockey League and shall consist of 20 NHL based teams.
 a) The team names will correspond to actual NHL counterparts unless that team has moved during the time while the manager has had the team, then the manager has the option of keeping the team in its original home.
 b) Any expansion or contraction will be voted on by the league with NHL expansion and movements considered strongly.
1.2 There will always be a league waiting list to fill any managerial voids in the league.
1.3 Strat-O-Matic Hockey (and computer utility) is the official game used by the FHL.  Any and all others are illegal.

2.0 League Officers and Committees.
2.1 There will be a permanent office of the commissioner who will act as an overseer of all league activities.
2.2 The commissioner will be responsible for and ensure fair and impartial interpretation of the league constitution.
2.3 The commissioner will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the managerial and backup list for the league.  Seniority, experience, dependability, and hockey knowledge are all factors that are considered when selecting a potential manager from the waiting list.
2.4 The commissioner will be responsible for the regular publishing of a league newsletter, either personally or by the appointment and funding of a league editor.  By the appointment of a league statistician the commissioner is responsible for overseeing the process of statistical accumulation and records.  The commissioner may appoint councilman to help see over the league and form a three-man ruling or "trade" committee.  The commissioner and league statistician will combine to produce an annual yearbook.  Award and all-star selections will be made at this time also.
2.5 The commissioner may initiate any changes or penalties in any situation by enacting "commissioner's authority".  The commissioner is said to be acting "in the best interests of the Federal" when enacting this power.
2.6 All rule proposals should be submitted to the commissioner who will have the responsibility to list the proposals on a single ballot to be voted on by all managers for ratification.
2.7 A committee of three members shall be established to investigate trades which could be considered "extremely detrimental" to the overall well being of the league.  The trade committee's purpose is first to rule if the trade is indeed detrimental to the league.  If ruled so, the committee will suggest a more equitable exchange between the coaches involved.  If substantial negotiations do not help, the committee has no alternative but to veto the deal.
2.8 An appeal over any committee or commissioner decision may be made to the commissioner.  A 75% majority of all league members is required to reverse the decision.

3.0 Membership requirements.
3.1 Managers must pay their dues before they are allowed to participate in any league activities.  Dues will be set before each season by the commissioner.  It is the commissioner's responsibility to set league fees according to expenses incurred during the previous season such as printing and mailing costs, phone bills, and league advertisements for potential managers.
3.2 Managers must play all their games, on or ahead of the scheduled statistic deadline dates as well as submitting the statistics for each half on time.
3.3 Managers are expected to follow any instructions they receive regarding a visiting team, but are required to be flexible enough in obviously uncovered areas to interpret logical action for the visitors when necessary.  However, the instructions should be complete enough that all but incredulous situations are covered.
3.4 Managers must complete a realistic home record.  No cheating or otherwise unfair favoring of the home team (i.e. card counting) is allowed.  Unrealistic records may result in part of the offending manager's games to be replayed by a neutral manager.  The term "unrealistic" is subjective to commissioner determination and will be termed as such only in extreme cases.
3.5 Managers have the right to make trades with players and current and subsequent year's draft choices only (barring veto by the trade committee) and to otherwise acquire talent for their teams.
3.6 Managers may not sell, loan or borrow players from other teams.
3.7 Interim managers taking over a team in mid-season will be required to pay a fee based on the length of their tenure.  Backup managers are required to pay a $4 to cover the cost of newsletters.

4.0 Managerial options and information.
4.1 If a manager successfully completes the season and meets all requirements set forth herein, he may then contract for the following season with the same team under a "guaranteed acceptance" program.
4.2 If a manager resigns while in "good standing" with the league (this is defined as being current in all league statistics and records for his team) and surrenders all materials needed to pass on to an interim manager, then he is eligible to apply for readmission to the league at a later date with the other applicants.  Those not falling into this category, who are seeking readmission, must be approved by the commissioner and may be required to post a bond.
4.3 Managers disrupting the league for any reason will be contacted and, if after previous discussions continue their actions, will be terminated.
4.4 Late statistics, dues and instructions (total # of days late for the ENTIRE season) will be accumulated and the appropriate manager will be punished by the forfeiture of draft choices for the draft as follows: 1 week late=5th round draft pick, 2 weeks=4th round, 3 weeks=3rd round, 4 weeks=2nd round, 5 weeks=1st round.  Lateness past five weeks will be grounds for possible termination under section 4.3 or combination of draft picks.  All due dates are postmark deadlines.  If a manager does not get you the stats to you by the due date send in what you have and report him late.  All penalties are combined equitably for player overuasage penalties.  That is, if the same pick is penalized in both tardiness and overusage a combination of other picks equaling the penalized pick will be given out.  Penalties are given out at the discretion of the commissioner.

5.0 League Operations.
5.1 The league will be aligned as that of the NHL with two conferences (Campbell and Wales) with strong consideration given to actual manager geographic location and NHL alignment.  Any team that wishes to move to a currently unoccupied city may do so at season's end (prior to the draft) if that team has made enough trades to have at least 10 counterpart players from the new team's roster.  However, please note the team will NOT have the territorial option available for its new counterpart until the following season.  Trading complete franchises is also legal however, in any instance when you change your team identity (move or trade) you may not change again for two complete seasons.
5.2 Rosters must be cut down to a 35-man limit prior to each season.  During the off-season there is no limit to how many players on each roster.  There are no restrictions as far as positions or card/non-card status goes.
5.3 Players may see action in NO MORE THAN the actual number of games as they played during the NHL season on which the current season's card set is based.  Managers must have ALL of their games covered.  There will be no overusage waiver and penalties for total player overusage (regardless of who that player is) is as follows: 1-4 games overused=8th round draft pick, 5-9 games=5th round, 10-14 games=3rd round, 15+games=2nd round.  Blatant and purposeful overusage will be dealt with more severely.  All penalties are given out at the discretion of the commissioner.
5.4 Trading may begin immediately after the end of the regular season and may continue right up until the date specified when final rosters for the new season must be submitted.  Trade negotiations for the upcoming season may be made during the previous season but are not considered official until season's end.
5.5 There are no restrictions as to the number of players or draft choices involved in a multiple player trade however, if the number and/or quality of the trade is "extremely questionable", then the trade committee has the right to investigate the deal.
5.6 When offering a player(s) to another team, the wording does not have to be precise.  For example, "I'll give you A and B for C", is considered an offer.  If you do not want the proposed player to be part of a definite offer, please state something similar to, "This is not a definite offer", in order to avoid the offer from officially being made.  Offers can be made via mail, telephone or in person.  An offer via mail or telephone is only good for 10 days from the postmark or phone call unless specifically stated by offeror to be less.  For simplicity's sake, the ending of a phone conversation should usually mean either a deal has been made or there is no deal.  The exception is when a DEFINITE "offer is on the table" and one party or the other will call back with either a straight acceptance or rejection.  Simply, it is not usually good practice to leave deals "on the table" when dealing by phone.
5.7 The following items conclude an offer: a) the acceptance or rejection by the offeree within the 10 day window (letters must be postdated within the window).  b) the revocation of the original offer by the offeror.  However, this must be done before the offeree accepts the offer.  c) the expiration of the 10 day period where then no transaction is completed.
5.8 No player may be offered to more than one team at a time.  If this happens, all pending deals as well as any acceptances become null and void.  However, a player may be shopped in more than one "feeler offer" at any time.
5.9 All offer/trade disputes should be referred to the trade committee.
5.10 Each manager must report each trade he has made to the commissioner's office as it is completed.  Each manager must report the trade IDENTICALLY.  Any conflict in the reporting will result in the deal being declared null and void.
5.11 Conditional agreements are legal provided the conditions are reported identically to the commissioner for his approval at the time of the trade and do not violate section 3.6 of the constitution.  The term  "FUTURES" can be used to describe conditions of the trade to take place at a later date.  It is up to the parties involved to remind the commissioner of the FUTURES when it actually takes place.  That is, if FUTURES from a pre-season trade takes place immediately following the next season the parties should remind the commissioner right after the season of the exact conditions when they take place.
5.12 The schedule will be organized and released yearly by the commissioner.
5.13 At the beginning of each season, each manager must submit an instruction sheet that will be used as his team's lineup for all his road games.  The instructions are limited to one sheet of paper (both sides).  Managers should make 22 copies of the sheet if possible (again two-sided if needed), and send the copies to the league office.  It should contain the following information:
a) List four forward lines and six defenseman.  The FHL will use four lines and six defenseman for periods one and two and three lines and four defenseman in the third period in all games.
b) The FHL will use six defenseman for all games.  The defenseman will change will change with every forward shift in the first two periods in an A, B, C, A fashion in the first, and B, C, A, B in the second.  In the third period and overtime, two sets of defenseman (any defenseman may be used including one or more from the "C" pairing provided positional requirements are met) with the change coming at the midway point of the period.  Defenseman are limited to the side(s) listed on their cards in even-strength situations only.  Two forward lines and two defenseman lines to be used on the power play.  Forward lines and defense lines must alternate throughout the game except once a game where one unit can play back-to-back.  No player can play on two consecutive power play chances save the back-to-back option.
c) List penalty-killing units for 5 on 4, 4 on 3, and 5 on 3 and list penalty killing instructions for players in these situations.  As with powerplay units, shorthand forward units must alternate throughout except once a game where one unit can play back-to-back.  Defenseman may play in all shorthanded situations and are not restricted to the side listed on their card in either specialty situations.  No forward can play on two consecutive shorthanded situations save the back-to-back option.
d) List options for all players for outside shots-under which numbers (i.e. 1-10) will the player shoot, penetrate or pass when he has the outside shot option.  For an "any player" situation (outside, inside or rebound) NOT requiring "a rating of X or more", you MUST use the highest offensive rated player on the ice.  If there are more than one, you must start with the player with the most goals, then next most goals, etc. and alternate throughout the GAME.  ALL situations which are shooting-outside ("only" OR with pass, penetrate, shoot option such as a face-off won to "any player" in the offensive zone, or a missed SH skate, etc.), inside, or rebound, and call for "any player" are alternating situations.  The exception is when an offensive rebound with a specific offensive rating (2, 3, or 4) is required-you do not have to rotate but may choose anyone on the ice which meets the requirement.
e) List all intimidation instructions-what players to intimidate and when.
f) List what players will get the puck on "any player" possession situation after a face-off, defensive save, etc.
g) List what offensive-defensive (a.k.a. offensive/forecheckers) mode your team will be in, in any given situation and when it will be changed.
h) List under what conditions in which a deflection will be attempted on a point "8-X-Reb" shot.
i) List when each goaltender should start each game and under which conditions he should be pulled along with the extra attacker to be used.  The extra skater can only take the place of the goalie and not be "slotted in" at a regular position.  Goalies can be pulled only with two cards remaining in the game and the extra skater cannot play in any of the five skater positions.  Goal and Goalie Rating "+" count the same as even-strength situations for the team with the goalie pulled (i.e. save and face-off).  Goaltender fatigue will only come into play on a game by game basis (goalies can play as many games in a row as you'd like keeping in mind the total GP limitations).
j) Who will play/sit in 4 on 4 and 3 on 3 even strength penalty situations.
k) List who will take face-offs if it is not the highest rated player on the ice.  The face-off man MAY maintain control after the face-off according to new S-O-M rules.  Also, a defenseman, most likely a forward playing the point on the power play, can take the face-off.
l) List your entire 35-man roster in ALPHABETICAL ORDER with your goalies first and then your skaters.  You must specify the real-life NHL team of each player (if it is not your own real-life counterpart) and whether the player is carded or non-carded (inactive).  It is important to list your entire roster properly as it not only allows for easy sorting but the rosters listed in the instruction manual will also double as each team's off-season roster guide in respect to trading, etc.
5.14 At the conclusion of each half, the manager is required to mail the following to the commissioner by the predetermined half deadline:
a) His team's 1ST OR 2ND HALF total home and away stats on one stat sheet.  This will be totals from your home games that half adding in results received from your opponents on the road for that half.  You must mail each your opponents their stats after each series and keep a copy for yourself in case of lost sheets or managers.   It is recommended you use the FHL stat sheet or if not make sure all categories are covered if using the Strat computer utility or your own sheet.  Note: The utility seems to track team stats such as PP and SH data but they donít print out.  One sheet will be mailed to each manager at the start of the season and it will be his responsibility to make additional photocopies.
5.15 Each manager should keep his game scoresheets until the final regular season statistics are released at the year's end-this is particularly important in the case of managers who go "missing".  The following statistics will be kept in the FHL: games played (GP), goals (G), assists (A), scoring points (PTS), shots on goal (SHT), penalty minutes (PIM), powerplay goals (PPG), shorthanded goals (SHG), and game-winning goals (GWG) Team totals for all categories will be kept.  Also make sure that you double-check yours as well as all your opponents team totals for each half in all categories.  The following statistics will be kept in the FHL for goaltenders: games played (GP), minutes played (MIN-be sure to add additional minutes if OT is played), wins (W), losses (L), ties (T), goals against (GA-do not count empty net goals as a GA for the goaltender), shots on goal against (SHA), shutouts (SHO), penalty minutes (PM), assists (A-do not include goalie totals in A or PM in skater team totals), empty net goals (EN), and goals against average (GAA), as well as team totals for the same statistics.  Credit empty net shots to the individual goalie but do not count EN goals when figuring an individual goaltender's GAA and make sure it is counted in the team's GAA.  The goaltender that is on the ice for the GWG or GTG is the goaltender that is credited for the decision.  A GWG is defined as the goal scored that is one more than the losing team scored for the game.  For example, the 5th goal scored by the winning team in an 8-4 victory is the GWG (this is NOT the same rule as pitcher decisions in major league baseball).  Special team totals will be kept for the following statistics: points (P), powerplays (PP), powerplay goals (PPG), powerplay % (PP%), powerplay goals against (OPPG), powerplays against (OPPA), and penalty killing % (PK%).
5.16 A player must SEE ACTION in, not merely dress for, the game in order to be credited with a GP.  When reporting series stats, list all carded players on the team's roster alphabetically as listed on the instruction sheet even if a player did not see action in any games (exclude non-carded players).  Designate players who did not see action with either zero GP or DNP (did not play).
5.17 The phone entry draft will include all players who played in at least ONE REGULAR SEASON GAME the previous year and are not protected on any team's final roster.  The order of drafting will be in reverse order of the final OVERALL regular season standings.  However, all non-playoff teams will draft before playoff teams regardless of record.  Ties will be broken using the playoff tie-breaking procedures.  In the draft, in order to use a territorial option, the team must have at least ten counterpart players on its roster and must have its OWN 1st round pick.  NOTE: Where a player PLAYED HIS LAST NHL GAME determines which team he is on when it comes to counterpart players.  If a team uses the territorial option he must carry at least ten counterpart players on his roster for that entire season.  Teams finishing 1-5 in the standings must use their first round choice to take a territorial rookie.  Teams ranked 6-15 must use their second round choice, and teams finishing 16-20 must use their own third round choice.  Draft picks from the next two years ONLY may be traded.  If any manager commits a violation due to late stats or overusage and loses a draft choice, all other teams will move up in the draft order accordingly for that round.  Pre-draft rosters do not have to be cut down before the draft.  Before the season rosters must be cut down to 35.  There will be no free-agent draft or any picking up of players cut.  Players cut will be eligible for next season's entry draft provided they played at least one NHL game.  The draft shall last eight rounds.
5.18 Unless otherwise specified, ALL super-advanced Strat-O-Matic rules (including miscellaneous) and NHL rules will be in effect and enforced.
5.19 A game misconduct will be given when a player receives his 3rd major penalty of the game, receives a combination of a least two majors and at least one misconduct over the course of a game or is given a game misconduct directly off the penalty chart.  In the case of bench penalties, goalie penalties or penalties where the penalized player cannot serve the full penalty, a player from on the ice shall be designated to take that player's position in the penalty box as per NHL rules.
5.20 The FHL will continue to recognize 4-on-4 situations as the result of coincidental minor penalties.  If one player from each team draws a minor penalty at the same time, those two players go to the penalty box and each team plays one man down for the full two minutes.  This is consistent with the 1992 NHL rule, which is actually the old rule, rescinded in 1985-86.  Looks like the FHL had it right all along.
5.21 Subs for 4-4 minute coincidental, major and 10-minute misconduct penalties will come from any of the top six defenseman for defenseman or from any of the top 4-lines in the first two periods or from the fourth line and fifth and sixth defenseman in the third period.  Note that in the third period the sub defenseman only can play either side regardless of his card ratings.  For game misconducts only, divide the remaining shifts up as evenly as possible between the remaining players left at that position if it occurred in the first two periods or use the fourth line or fifth or sixth defenseman for the third period.
5.22 The first through fourth place teams in each conference shall make the playoffs.  The tiebreakers shall be the following:
a) the team with the better road record.
b) the team with the better head-to-head record
c) the team with the better conference record.
d) the team with more overall wins.
The first and fourth and second and third place teams in each conference play each other in a best-of-seven series conference semi-final.  The higher place team shall play games 1, 2, and 5 at home.  The lower place team shall play games 3, and 4 at home.  Games 6, and 7 will be played be the league either by the commissioner or by appointing a neutral manager.  Please note that games 5, 6, and 7 will only be played if necessary to decide the best-of-seven format.  The winners of the first round will play a best-of-seven series for the conference championships.  The FHL Cup Finals will have the two conference winners against each other.
5.23 Skaters will have no limitation in the playoffs.  Goaltenders with a fatigue rating of SIX or more may play in all that team's playoff games.  Other goaltenders and "extra-extras" are limited to 1/3 of real-life games rounded up and are subject to all fatigue rules.  The exception being "extra-extra" goalies who cannot be used in the playoffs except if they played in the real-life NHL playoffs.  These goalies are then limited to their real-life NHL playoff usage.
5.24 The active roster of each team for the entire regular season may contain no more than 35 players regardless of position or carded/non-carded status.  Before each game however, each team may only dress a maximum of 18 skaters.
5.25 There will be no injuries.  Disregard all readings of "possible injury".
5.26 A five-minute (eight-card) sudden death overtime session will be played following all games that are tied after three periods of play.  There will be a forward/defenseman change after four action cards requiring the use of two forward and defense lines.  If no team scores in overtime, the game ends in a tie.  FOR PLAYOFFS ONLY-forward and defense shifts will occur after every FIVE cards and THREE forward lines and TWO defense lines will be required until a goal is scored.
5.27 Amendments must be finalized and approved by the commissioner before they are put up to vote by the managers.  In order to be ratified, amendments must be then approved by 75% of the managers who vote.  Please note, that commissioner approval does not necessarily mean that the commissioner supports the proposal in theory, only that is suitable to be put in front of the league for vote.
5.28 When any situation occurs resulting in a shooting situation for "any player" without an offensive rating specified, the player with the highest offensive rating must take the shot.  If there is more than one player on the ice tied for the highest offensive rating they must alternate throughout the game with first shot to the player with more goals, then next most goals, etc.  The exception is a rebound shot "any player X or more" which does not require alternation (the shot can be given to any player matching or exceeding the specified offensive rating).  An "any player" shooting situation can be after a failed SH skating attempt, an offensive face-off win to "any player", etc.
5.29 A forward rated at  "POINT" may play the point just like a defenseman.  Ignore the asterisk rating.
5.30 An assist is awarded to any player whose pass led directly to a goal.  For example, if a "passing J" reading resulted in a goal, that player would receive an assist.  Also give an assist due to a rebound shot converted by a teammate and an assist off the assist section of the split card.  Only two assists per goal can be credited.
5.31 Use the Super Advanced Timing Chart to keep time.  Note that it is not required to keep exact time of each goal and penalty.  However, the exact time of each OT goal and a goaltending switch must be recorded.
5.32 When a goalie is pulled, ANY shot on goal is an empty net goal.  Example:  If a player shot at the empty net and a reading of "X-DLW" came up, it would be counted as an empty net goal.  It does not take a "goalie rating" to score.  Also, in accordance with Start rules "Goal or Goalie Rating+", are simply save and face-off for the team with the extra attacker as in even-strength situations.
5.33 When killing a penalty, a skater may skate a MAXIMUM of two times per possession before he must either ice the puck or draw an action card.  After a failed skate attempt "any player" has an outside shot according to S-O-M rules.  This is an "any player" shooting situation and requires alternating as with all "any player" shooting situations.
5.34 The Super Advanced Penetration Chart-Five on Five will be used in five on five situations, this is the only time defense ratings come into play when penetrating.  The Super Advanced Penetration-All Other Situations will be used in all other situations including four on four, three on three, SH, PP, etc.  Remember to check whether a forward or defenseman is penetrating against his regular opponent or the left or right defenseman.  If unsuccessful when penetrating against a defenseman the defenseman has the puck.  When penetrating against a "playerless" position if the penetration is unsuccessful, it is a "loose puck".
5.35 When SH all "bracketed" defense ratings are used.  Defense ratings 12-14 are also changed accordingly.  That is, a 3(4) "takes away puck" on defense 14 and a 4(3) should read "outside shot" on defense 14 in SH situations.
5.36 A player can pass, penetrate or shoot after winning a face-off in the offensive end.
5.37 If a forward, not playing his primary position (the top listed position in the top right-hand section of his card), completes a pass to the position he is currently playing, the pass goes to whomever is now playing in the passer's primary position instead.
5.38 For the first period shifts divide the action cards up 7-8-7-8 and for the second period do the opposite and divide the shifts up 8-7-8-7.
5.39 Add +1 to a team's face-off rating when the goaltender is pulled for an extra attacker when this gives the team an advantage in skaters.
5.40 When a shot is designated through an action card, pass, or breakaway card to a "playerless" position give the shot to the player in parenthesis.  If there are no parenthesis, give to "Any Player"-(highest offense rating, alternation required if applicable) only when team shooting is on the powerplay or at even-strength.  If a team is shorthanded and the player in parenthesis is a "playerless" position or there is no parenthesis, it is a "loose puck" situation.
5.41 When there is a "possible penalty" through successful or unsuccessful intimidation immediately determine a new split number (roll 20-sided die or flip new card) to see if the player receives a penalty (AA 5-20, A 8-20, B 10-20, C 13-20, D 16-20).  In the case of a successful intimidation resulting in a penalty situation determine a new split number to see if there are additional penalties of any sort or even a "change" in the call through the "19" or "20" charts.  In the case of unsuccessful intimidation resulting in a penalty follow the play through to it's conclusion as a delayed penalty situation and at the conclusion of the play determine a new split number and check the penalty chart like usual for the "official" call.  Whenever members of both teams take penalties, even on intimidation or "goalie rating" penalties, no matter what the breakdown, the preceding face-off is always in the neutral zone.
5.42 At the end of a line shift the new player at the position where the puck was has control.  For example, if "X-LD" was the last action before a line change, the NEW LD has control of the puck when play resumes.
5.43 Play continues on at the end of a period until another action card would be drawn were there any remaining.  That means there can be multiple face-offs, rebounds, etc. until time expires.



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