Federal Hockey League

Constitution and By-Laws

Federal Hockey League – Constitution and By-Laws                                  

Last Updated:  26 August, 2022                                                         Website Address:  www.rfg917.com/fhl

1.  Preamble

The Federal Hockey League (FHL) is a draft league formed in 1997 to provide entertainment to its’ members and to simulate the operations of managing a professional hockey franchise.  Rules and regulations are provided herein by which the FHL operates.

2.  Commissioner

The Commissioner may make any changes which he feels beneficial and necessary to the league’s successful operation.  (Democratic processes will be offered whenever feasible.)

3.  General Information

A.  The FHL uses the current DKSports: Action Hockey P.C. computer hockey game with players based on the previous NHL season.

B.  FHL games are governed by rules of this Constitution and By-Laws, Action: P.C. game rules and the National Hockey League, in that order.

C.  The FHL is an Internet/EMail league.  All members are expected to have access to Internet and Email capabilities.

D.  ETHICS – It is expected that all members will utilize their best players to the maximum over the course of a season.  Minor underplays and marginal differences between rated players will not be penalized. 

A team found to have “TANKED” may be penalized with loss of Playoff position and/or Draft picks as deemed appropriate, along with any other penalties, by the Commissioner.

4.  League Dues

The FHL does not presently collect any league dues.  This is subject to change if dues become necessary.

5.  Schedule

A.  Each team plays 82 games – 41 Home & Away.

B.  The schedule for each team will consist of 6 games vs. each team in their Division, 4 games against each team in the other Division in their Conference Conference, 2 games against teams in the other Conference, with 2 additional Home and-Home with teams from the other Conference.

            (We will try to balance and rotate these opponents, but on occasion may not be able to make the changes for various reasons.)

C.  Teams may request a change of Divisions in the off-season to facilitate face-to-face play between league members.

D.  A season will be broken into five (5) “play periods”.

6.  Rosters

A.  Each team will adjust their roster to no more than 34 players (32 Active Players and 2 Minor Leaguers) at a pre-season “cut-down” date to be established annually.

B.  In-season 31-man Active Player rosters may include a maximum of two (2) game unrated players.

C.  Each team must carry a minimum of two (2) goaltenders during the season.

D.  Rosters consist of 2 parts.  The “Active” Roster will consist of 32 players.  The “Minor League” roster will consist of 2 positions reserved for players from the Rookie/Free Agent Draft that have fewer than the required number of NHL games played in the past NHL season to be eligible for the FHL roster.  (Skaters who have not exceeded age 26 with fewer than 10 NHL GP and Goalies with fewer than 6 NHL GP.)

        E.  Annually, the League will produce a List of Minor Leaguers who have qualified to be retained in that category.  Individual teams will have to decide if they want to retain those players as Minor Leaguers, or not, prior to the annual draft.

7.  Player Usage

A.  Players are limited to the number of actual games played in the prior NHL season.

B.  Backup goaltenders will not be charged with a “game played” against their eligibility when brought into the game due to injury or game misconduct penalty to the starting goaltender.  (Voluntary use of the backup goaltender will count towards their game played eligibility.)  This rule eliminates any need to voluntarily replace starting goalies in FHL play.

C.  Defenseman may play either defense-side without penalty.

D.  In 5-on-5 even-strength play a game-rated Center MUST be at the Center position and Wings must be rated at their respective position.  (A player rated at Defense may play Wing.)

E.  A Power Play is NOT required to have a player rated at the Center position.

F.  Any player (includes defensemen) may play the wings (LW/RW) on a Power Play.

G.  As a “General Rule”, skaters are restricted to playing the number of minutes they are rated for per game.  It is recognized that this is a difficult situation to control in some circumstances.  Gross misuse of player minutes can lead to League sanction and penalty to be determined by the Commissioner.

8.  Player Overuse

A.  Player overuse by a Playoff team will result in overused players being ineligible in each Playoff series for the number of Playoff games that they were overused for in the regular season.  (Example:  A player used in 3 more games than eligible for in the regular season would be required to miss the first 3 games of each Playoff series.)

B.  Additional player overuse penalties follow:

1. First player overused up to 5 games – no additional penalty.

2. First player overused by more than 5 games:

a. Playoff standings – One (1) victory subtracted and one (1) loss added to final regular season standings for each game over 5.

b. Draft position – One (1) victory added and one (1) loss subtracted from final regular season standings for each game over 5.

3. Second player overused up to 3 games – no additional penalty.

4. Second player overused by more than 3 games – same penalty as 8.B.2. above (cumulatively applied).

5. Third player overused by 1 game – no additional penalty.

6. Third player overused by more than 1 game – same penalty as 8.B.2. above (cumulatively applied).

7. Fourth player overused – Commissioner review.

9.  Annual Rookie/Free Agent Draft

A.  An annual draft will be held prior to each season from players rated by the DK Sports:ACTION HOCKEY game who are not on an FHL roster.

B.  Teams will draft in inverse order of previous season final standings (adjusted by any penalties and Draft Lottery).

                1. League Championship Finalists will draft #23 & #24 – (League Champion #24). 

C.  A weighted Draft Lottery will be conducted.

1. Lottery selection will affect only the First Round of the Rookie/Free Agent Draft.

2. All non-Playoff teams will be included in the Lottery.

3. Lottery teams will receive “chances” in the Lottery according to League Standings and Tie Breakers.  i.e.  The last team receives 8 chances; the last qualifier 1 chance. 

3. Two selected teams will move up a maximum of 3 positions in draft order.   (The second selected team may, thus, pass back ahead of the first drawn team.)

D.  Ties to determine first round draft placement will be resolved by:

1. Head-to-head record.

2. Wins (SHOOTOUT wins will NOT be counted).

3. If in the same Division, Division record.  (Not valid with 22 teams.)

4. If in the same Conference, Conference record.

5. Non-Conference record.

6. Goal differential

7. Coin toss.

E.  Tied teams will alternate in subsequent draft rounds.

F.  NHL skaters with fewer than 10 GP and Goalies with fewer than 6 GP may only be drafted for the teams’ 2-man “Minor League” roster and may not be activated during the FHL season.  Once a team has drafted to fill their “Minor League” Roster, they may no longer draft players with fewer than the required number of NHL games played.

        G.  Goalie Restrictions

                1. No team will be forced to move a goalie from their roster.

                2. A team may release a goalie prior to or during the Draft to become eligible to draft another goalie.

                3. Annually, a Games Played average (rounded up) will be calculated of the top 32 NHL goalies in games played (minus ties).

                4. Annually, a Games Played average will be calculated of the next 32 goalies.

                5. Teams with 2 (or more) goalies with 41 (or more) Games Played each will not be eligible to draft a goalie with 41 (or more) games played.

                6. A product will be obtained that is 2 times the result of #3. above plus the result of #4. above.

                7. Teams may draft goalies until they exceed the product obtained in #6. above.  (Minor League category Goalies will not count against a teams’ goalie total Games Played).

10.  Supplemental Draft

A.  At the conclusion of each Playoff season, A Supplemental Draft, consisting of 2 rounds, will be conducted.

B.  Prior to the actual draft, Supplemental Draft picks cannot be traded.

C.  No team may lose more than 3 players.

D.  A team may select their own players in the draft, but they will not count as a “lost” player.

E.  Each team will provide a list of “un-protected” players, the number to be determined based on HOME Record (adjusted by penalties) as follows:

Non-Playoff Team – 6 Players. 

League/Division Champ/Runner-up and Championship Finalist – 10 players.

Other – 8 players

EXCEPTION: Teams tied for second place in their Conference (Division after expansion to 24 teams) will all provide 9 un-protected players.

F.  Draft position will be determined the same as Paragraph 9 using HOME records only (except that the Draft Lottery will NOT apply).

11.  Free Agents (excludes Minor Leaguers)

A.  Any rated player, not on an FHL roster, is considered a Free Agent.

B.  Following the annual roster cut-down to 34 players per team, there will be a 3-day claim/waiver period.

C.  Each team may acquire 1 player per day.

D.  Claims must be accompanied with the player to be “waived” (released) if the claim is successful.

E.  Players claimed by more than one team will be awarded based on draft position as in Paragraph 10.F.

F.  After the 3-day claim/waiver period is completed, Free Agent claims will be awarded to the first requesting team.

1.  If the NHL has not begun their season, Free Agent claims are unrestricted until they date the NHL season begins.

2.  If/when the NHL has begun their current season:

a. Free Agents may not be claimed for the opening Play Period.

b. FHL teams are limited to 2 (two) claims for the First Play Period and 2 (two) more for the Second Play Period.  Unused claims from the First Play period will be lost.

3.  Free Agent Claims will end with the completion of the Second Play Period (start of the Third Play Period).

4.  If a team has used all their eligible claims and makes an uneven trade in the first two Play Periods creating an open roster position, they will be granted an extra claim in order to fill their roster.

G.  Claims on “waived” (released) players will not be awarded until one complete day has passed to allow all league members an opportunity to file a claim on “new” Free Agents.  Then, multiple claims of a “waived” player will be awarded to the lowest rated team from the prior FHL season (per Paragraph 9.)

H.  Through unlimited Free Agency, all players released will become “new” Free Agents eligible for claim. 

I.  Once unlimited Free Agency ends, qualifying players (skaters with fewer than 10 GP and goalies with fewer than 6) will be removed from the available Free Agent List and moved to the Minor Leaguer List, making them ineligible for claim.

12.  Trading

A.  Only draft picks from the next FHL draft are tradable.  CLARIFICATION – with the completion of the Supplemental Draft, all draft picks for the current draft and picks 1-6 for the following year become eligible for trade.

B.  Until the number of draft rounds is determined annually, only draft picks 1 through 6 may be traded.

C.  There is NO trade until reported to league officials by all coaches involved, and is then not “official” until announced to the entire league.

D.  Uneven (i.e. 2-for-1) trades during an FHL season will require teams to remain at the 34 man Active Roster limit through “waiver” (release)/Free Agent claim.

E.  The off-season trading period commences with the conclusion of the Supplemental Draft.

F.  The in-season trading period commences with the announcement of 34-man roster cuts and opening/closing of the trading period and effective dates of trades will be provided annually.

G.  The Trade deadline will be at the end of our 4th month of play and before our final month of play.

H.  The Commissioner may establish a Trade Committee to review “questionable” trades that may be considered “not-in-the-best-interest” of the league.  The current Trade Committee consists of Bob Gaynor and Bobb Beauchamp.  Committee members will be replaced for any review involving their own teams.

I.  Trades may be “protested” by any league member within 48 hours (extended to midnight, Pacific Standard Time of the second day) of their announcement.

1. Protests must be written (Email) to the Commissioner and must included protestors’ reasoning.

2. If the Commissioner determines the protest to be “valid”, involved teams will be asked to provide their explanation of the trade.

3. The protest and explanations will be considered by the Trade Committee within 48 hours of receipt of all communications.

4. For a trade to be reversed, the Trade Committee must come to a unanimous decision.

        J.  Trading Mnor Leaguers

1.  A team trading away a Minor Leaguer loses that roster spot (player cannot be replaced).

2.  A team acquiring a Minor Leaguer in trade must pace that player on their Active Roster and may not exceed roster limits.

13.  Method of Play

A.  Coaches will provide their team Road Coach Files per League schedule.

B.  All Road Coach Files will be distributed to all league members.

C.  Managers will play their Home games and should EMail a copy of the boxscore to the entire league.  Managers are encouraged to also send the game EXPORT so other league members may IMPORT the games into their databases.

D.  Managers will EXPORT their game Files from the current play period to league officials and are encouraged to address the entire league.

E.  If a volunteer League “WEBstician” is available, league info may be posted as it becomes available.

14.  Playoffs

A.  The first 3 teams in each Division will qualify for the Playoffs along with 2 “Wild Card” teams.  The #2 “Wild Card” will play the #1 Seed in the Conference and the #1 “Wild Card will play the other Division Champion.  (Seeding will be adjusted for penalties.)

B.  Position ties will be decided according to Paragraph 9.d.

C.  All Playoff series consist of the best-of-7 games (2-2-1-1-1 format).  The higher seed is the series Host.

D.  Any game 7 will be played by neutral party if the contestants are not available for head-to-head play.  (Participants may agree to an alternative solution approved by the League.)

E.  Playoff eligibility (not including penalties):


1-7 NHL games – 0 (no) Playoff games

8-10 NHL games – 1 (one) Playoff game

11-20 NHL games – 2 (two) Playoff games

21-30 NHL games – 3 (three) Playoff games

31-40 NHL games – 4 (four) Playoff games

41+ NHL games – ALL Playoff games


1-12 NHL games – 0 (no) Playoff games

13-15 NHL games – 1 (one) Playoff game

16-19 NHL games – 2 (two) Playoff games

20-24 NHL games – 3 (three) Playoff games

25-31 NHL games – 4 (four) Playoff games

32-39 NHL games -5 (five) Playoff games

40-47 NHL games – 6 (six) Playoff games

48+ NHL games – ALL Playoff games

(ALL Goalies are Eligible to be active as backup goalie, with 2 qualifications: 1) They may only appear “voluntarily” in the qualified number of eligible games; 2) Additional appearances may ONLY be due to starting goalie injury or game misconduct.

15.  Season Awards

If there is a league volunteer to conduct voting, post season awards may be made, to include, but not necessarily be limited to:

Coach/GM of the Year (Jack Adams Award)

League MVP ( Hart Memorial Award)

Best Goalie (Vezina Award)

Best Defenseman (Norris Award)

Rookie of the Year (Calder Award)

Playoff MVP (Conn Smythe Award.