I can’t believe I’m putting myself through this again!
But then – I’m a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan so I understand that tradition and dedication require lacing up the skates and getting back in the fray –- no matter how hopeless the quest may seem.
And a special thanks to perennial poolie Peter Wildman for helping me to my feet and finding my mouth guard. For this is the moment when those with hockey smarts and the courage of their convictions shine. Because next to getting stitched up on the bench or playing with a broken leg, the most venerable tradition in the quest for the Stanley Cup is the "Hockey Pool"!
AND NOW YOU CAN BE A PART OF THE BEST ONE THERE IS!!!
Will Dixon and I have been organizing hockey pools almost as long as we've pretended we were adults. No matter where we were or what we were doing, we celebrated our on-ice warriors by picking the best among them and placing a little wager.
Many seasons back, being thousands of miles apart and with most of the people with whom we regularly communicated passing through our blogs, we cooked up a plan to hold our hockey pool online. It was an astonishing success! As have been the years that have followed. And 2014 will be even bigger and better.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS
You join "The Infamous Writer's Hockey Pool" by sending me an email at email@example.com with "POOL PICKS" in the subject line between 8:00 AM Eastern Tuesday April 14/15 (today in some parts of the world) and 8:00 PM Eastern Thursday. (04/16/2015).
Now, “Technically”, that will be after the opening games on Wednesday night and a period or more of Thursday’s action. But any earlier becomes a deadline far too tight for even a seasoned prognosticator like me. So we’ll take our chances that nobody gets a leg up knowing those results.
In your email, list the 10 skaters and 2 Goalies who make up your team. They can be members of any of the 16 teams competing in the opening round.
At least THREE of your picks must come from one team. Three skaters, two and a goalie, your choice. The point is to make a small commitment (25% of your roster) to a team you think is either going to win it all, go deep or roll up a lot of points.
The scoring is as follows:
For every goal or assist scored by your skaters you earn 1 point.
Should one of your skaters score a “Game Winning” goal, that’s worth two points.
Every time your goalie wins you also earn 2 points and you tally seven points each time he earns a shutout.
Shutouts in Stanley Cup play are rare and skaters will always earn more points than a Goalie, but this is a way of evening things up.
In addition, the pool will also award one point to a goalie who loses in overtime.
The 12 players you choose are yours for the entire tournament. As the teams your players represent fall by the wayside, they cease earning points, but their totals remain part of your total.
In the end, the pool contestant with the most points wins.
I'll post your team online. From then on, you can check your progress by visiting our private online pool site whenever you like. All players will be provided with a login and password so they can check their progress throughout the playoffs.
Once you're inside the pool site, you'll see all the information on the teams you’re up against. You'll also receive a twice weekly (Monday and Friday) update of the pool standings, which I will post for all the world to see here at The Legion.
See -- easy and fun!
The only thing missing is the chance to share beer and wings and make fun of each other's choices. Anybody who wants to open a Facebook group to handle the trash talk or Twitter their opponents has our blessing.
But to help that along this season, I’m also asking everybody who wants to join to reach out to somebody who’s either never been part of the pool or has skipped a season or two.
And if you’re a fan or follower of The Legion who’s never played, give it a shot. You certainly won’t fare any worse than I have!
The more the merrier as Brendan Shanahan says as he escorts Maple Leaf Sports Execs out the door.
Now, playing in a hockey pool is very simple. But a certain amount of strategy is involved.
I've seen contestants pick players from teams that exited early still win because their players racked up so many points in the early going. I've also seen contestants with terrible picks come out on top because they had a hot goalie.
Like everything else in the game, it's ultimately up to the Hockey Gods.
WHAT DO YOU WIN?
Well, since gambling is technically illegal around here and Infamous Writers entrants come from several disparate currencies, your entrance fee should be something either related to your career or a sports souvenir you've acquired as a fan.
What you choose to wager is completely up to you and never revealed to anyone but the eventual Pool Winner.
Once our winner is decided, all entrants ship him or her their prize. In the past, the winner's booty has included DVDs, autographed scripts, game worn jerseys, signed hockey cards and much more.
For a full list of the kind of stuff you might win. Please contact Will Pascoe.
There will also be prizes for finishing 2nd and 3rd as well as our incredibly popular "Props" contest in the final round.
There are no other restrictions to participating. Just join up, pick your players and set aside your victory swag.
A lot of great Canadian artists (even some you might recognize) and hockey fans from here and elsewhere are looking forward to playing with you!
So jump in the pool!