The IceHL: Recap

Since the return of Icethetics, readers have slowly been making their way back. That's good news because it means the revival of one of my favorite projects. Many of you have asked about it. Now we're finally ready to pick up where we left off.

But before we can do that, I need to catch everyone up. There are as many new visitors has those returning. That means recapping the history of the IceHL. I'll try to make it as brief as possible.

The IceHL is a fantasy hockey league that Icethetics users decided to build and brand from the ground up. That means coming up with names, creating logos and designing uniforms. Icethetics readers would vote on every decision-making step of the process, from the very beginning.

Project Intro

It began nearly a year ago, August 10, 2008, after the completion of the IHA project (our first fantasy league project). I announced that we would be building and branding an entire league from scratch. Readers were very happy about this. Why? It would give them an outlet to express themselves creatively, designing logos and uniforms for teams that didn't already have a logo or colors.

Creating the League

The first decision would be about geography. Do we want a North American league or a global one? After a week of voting, 59% of users opted for a league restricted to North America. I then set up five options for league size and breakdown, ranging from 24 to 36 teams. The 30-team option secured the most votes, with 34%.

The Ground Rules | Divisional Alignments

After setting the ground rules for how the rest of the project would play out, users voted on five divisional boundary alignments. Basically, maps of the U.S. and Canada with blue lines dividing up geographical regions. The idea was to determine how users wanted the teams to be spread out.

After a week of voting and garnering 33% of the vote, Aligment A was selected, as seen below.

Selecting Cities

The next step was to determine which cities would be awarded franchises. Users voted on the available locations from the above lists, two divisions at a time. Each of the six divisions would be narrowed from 12 available cities to five.

Voting on the Pacific and Central Divisions ended a week later. By this time it was the first week of September and nearly a full month into the project. For the Pacific Division, voters chose Anchorage, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. In the Central Division, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and St. Louis garnered the most votes.

The following week, final locations were released for the next two divisions. The Northeast Division would be made up of Boston, Montreal, New York, Quebec City, and Toronto. For the North Division, users selected the only all-Canadian group, comprised of Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg.

The final two divisions were announced the next week. In the South Division, readers picked Dallas, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, and Salt Lake City. And finally, the Southeast Division would include Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Tampa, and Washington, D.C.

Selecting Nicknames

With all 30 cities now in place, the fantasy league, which had yet to be officially named, was finally christened, the IceHL. The Icethetics Hockey League, or as one reader suggested, the Icethetics Continental Elite Hockey League (thanks, Vic DiGital).

As soon as each divisional breakdown was officially announced, readers were given the opportunity to submit nominations for team names. This was a chance to be creative, though some restrictions were put in place to assure originality. For each division, team name nominations were accepted for one week, followed immediately by a week of rating each entry in the long list of names for each team.

At last, one week at a time, the official names for each of the IceHL's 30 teams were released. Finally, we had a real league. The following team names were selected:

  • Pacific Division: Alaska Huskies, California Wave, Portland Pioneers, Seattle Aviators, and Vancouver Lumberjacks
  • Central Division: Chicago Hitmen, Detroit Motorheads, Milwaukee Lagers, Minnesota Mammoths, and St. Louis Archers
  • North Division: Calgary Cavalry, Edmonton Kodiaks, Regina Renegades, Saskatoon Sharpshooters, and Winnipeg Winterhawks
  • Northeast Division: Boston Colonials, Hamilton Steelcats, Montreal Olympiques, New York Guardians, and Quebec Armada
  • South Division: Boulder Beasts, Dallas Outlaws, Houston Hellcats, New Orleans Gators, and Salt Lake City Scorpions
  • Southeast Division: Atlanta Arsenal, Baltimore Blue Crabs, North Carolina Nighthawks, Tampa Bay Barracudas, and Washington Sentinels

It was nearly the end of October by the time all of the teams were officially named. From the announcement date, each division was open to logo submissions for three weeks. Designers were to submit primary, secondary and script marks for as many or as few teams as they wished.

On November 1, the brand new was officially launched, and along with it, readers began rating each of the accepted logo submissions. For each team, a different number of logo sets were submitted so it was determined that each set would be narrowed down to three by having Icethetics readers rate each one. Those three would then be voted on. The logo set with the most votes would be the final design.

That's where the project currently stands. Our next step is to have you vote on the Top 3 logos for each IceHL team. I will reveal the Top 3 for the Eastern Conference on Thursday and the Western Conference on Friday. Voting for the first team will begin on Saturday.

To see the Top 3 and to vote when polls are posted, the IceHL tab will soon return to the top of the page, giving you access to everything related to our fantasy league. I hope you guys are as excited about this as I am! Weigh in with a comment.