With the end of the NHL season coming to a close this weekend, it inevitably means that another Fantasy Hockey season has come to pass as well. While some of you may be celebrating a Fantasy Hockey victory while trying to decide how to spend your newly inherited cash, most of you (like myself) are wondering what went wrong and how you can do better next season. Whichever situation you are in, however, remember to take a second before you stop checking your league page for the summer to thank your league commissioner and let him know how much you appreciate his effort.
As the league commissioner for Hockey World Blog’s friends and family league for the past several seasons, I can tell you that being the commissioner is not always an easy task. It starts in September when you create the league, but in my case it also involves opening a dialogue with returning managers to see what types of changes they would like to see and determining how to best keep the league fresh and competitive on an annual basis. Duties also consist of finding players to round out the league if you have uneven numbers or if players from previous seasons drop out.
Toward the end of September, the task of setting up the draft usually falls on the shoulders of the league commissioner as well. This can involve juggling multiple schedules to find a date and time that works well for everyone involved in the league and finding a place to hold the draft that can accommodate a large party as well (if you do a live draft like we do). On draft day, it usually falls to the commissioner to keep the draft going and keep everyone involved and focused – often times hindering the commissioner’s own ability to review player stats and be prepared when his or her turn comes up in the draft order. In addition, if someone can’t make the draft, the responsibilities to get that manager’s team drafted usually falls to the commissioner as well. Collecting dues, keeping tabs on who paid and generally keeping the money safe (i.e. ensuring your wife doesn’t buy shoes with it…) are all things the commissioner has to worry about as well.
Throughout the season, your commissioner generally keeps tabs to ensure everyone is playing by the rules and he or she is usually the one responsible for settling disputes as well. It’s not fun to receive a random text when you’re at work or about to go to sleep regarding a lop-sided trade or any other general issues that may arise that call for the commissioner’s attention.
Finally, at the end of the season, it usually falls to the commissioner to ensure that playoffs go smoothly and that after the season everyone gets their money. If that involves taking time to meet with people personally, or trying to again accommodate everyone’s schedule to organize some sort of group dinner or what have you, these are all things that the commissioner happily does around his own work schedule and personal life without complaint.
A co-worker of mine recently asked me about my Fantasy Hockey league. When I told him I was the commissioner, he asked me, “Do you take a cut?” At first I didn’t know what he meant, but he informed me that he has played in several leagues where the commissioner will take a cut of the dues just for being the commissioner. I was baffled; the notion of taking a cut from the dues just for being the commissioner had never even occurred to me. When we started playing Fantasy Hockey several years ago, I was the one who initially set it up and I continued to do so year after year because I love hockey. I love the interaction with fellow hockey fans and I enjoy doing it. This past season was more hectic and less enjoyable personally due to increased responsibilities in my personal life and less free time overall, but I could still spend pointless hours looking up and comparing player stats and trying to find the right moves that would give my team an edge. That’s part of the fun for me.
Maybe some commissioners out there do take a cut of the dues just for setting everything up. Maybe some of them are more or less involved than they should be. But if you feel like you’re commissioner has done a good job this year and if you had fun in your Fantasy Hockey league, remember to take a second to send your commissioner a note or a text to thank him for his hard work in keeping the league going.