Local NHL fantasy league celebrates 32nd annual draft

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The Elite Hockey League (EHL) recently completed their 32 annual NHL hockey fantasy draft. The draft started with only 6 teams taking part, in a draft held in Al Sellars basement on 8th Street. Shawn Bolack, Craig Richardson, Keith Richardson, and Al Sellars are the longest serving team owners, having participated in the inaugural draft in 1991/92.

Through expansion over the years, the league has grown to include twelve teams. Ten of the team’s twelve owners have been part of the league for 28-years or more. Throughout the years, the draft has been held at numerous locations throughout the city including the old Brandon Club, Keystone Centre Board Room, WCG Boardroom, Royal Oak Inn, BDO Dunwoody and most recently the Victoria Inn.

While the league’s ownership group has gotten older over the years, the competitiveness still remains. Numerous disagreements are a common occurrence come draft day including one year where an unnamed owner dared another owner “to go ahead, take a poke” during a heated discussion.

1997 wedding celebrating an owner’s wedding.

In the early days, the stats were entered manually. Today the league uses Fantrax as their official stats program. “Moving to an online stats program was a game changer” said Pylon’s owner Shawn Bolack. “In the old days I would have to run to Sellars house every Tuesday to pickup the weekly stats package just to see how my team was doing. Now the stats are updated in real-time” added Bolack.

A rather complex draft sees each owner draft a team of 20-players (2g, 6d, 12f) via a live auction draft of each player until their roster is full. Each team receives a $30 salary cap. Teams also draft a reserve list of 10 players and a rookie draft proceeds the auction where teams can protect up to 5 rookies. Once the season starts, a number of categories (goals, assists, hits, +/-, STP, SOG, wins, and GAA) are used to determine a winner. Each year the winner receives their team name on the league’s trophy and a small amount of cash.