From The Ground Up, Part 3

Part 1 · Part 2

Today voting ended on the poll about how many teams our little fantasy league will have. Much to my disappointment, you all chose 30 — same as the NHL and same as the IHA. I know I run the risk of alienating readers by calling 34% of you a disappointment, but that's something I'm just going to have to live with. (Unless someone can give me a really good reason why we should be unoriginal and then I'll eat my words.)

I'll tell you I almost didn't include it because I wanted to stay off the beaten path. I used it more or less as a test to see how much you guys were willing to stray from what you know and move into new territory. Comfortable is comfortable but let's not make a habit out of recreating the NHL here. That's not the point, remember?

I've been reading the comments in the last two posts. A lot of you seem to like the idea of doing a league with all non-NHL cities (with an Original Six exemption, oddly enough). That's not a terrible idea considering what we've witnessed in the last two polls. But to do that would be an executive decision by me. Instead, here's the plan.

Instead of creating a giant list of cities and allowing you guys to pick your favorites, I have a better idea. First, you're going to choose the geographical boundaries for the divisions.

I've created five maps for you to choose from. I think they're each different and good in their own way. None of them are even close to being in line with the NHL's current divisional map. You guys can study them and pick your favorite. Once we have the divisional boundaries decided, everything we vote on will be done division by division. Makes less work for me.

At some point tomorrow the new poll will appear in the sidebar with the five choices.

The next step will be selecting the markets that will have teams. I say markets (or metropolitan areas) for a couple of reasons: 1) I'd like to avoid multiple teams from the same market like New York or L.A. (I know it's one decision I'm taking away from you. Sorry. Let's make this easy.); and 2) if, for example, a city like San Francisco is chosen, I want there to be the option of placing the team in San Jose or Oakland or something.

I'll pick 12 cities from each divisional area (based on market size, most likely) and the 5 with the most votes will be awarded franchises. Simple as that. If you don't think this is the good plan, present a better one to me either by email or as a comment.

I've also been planning into the future of this league and while I won't go into detail right now, I will offer a few tidbits. Once we have all the cities picked out for each division, we'll move on to naming the teams, one division at a time. We'll take nominations and every entry that meets the guidelines will be included in the voting. More details on that later.

To keep the rest of the process from becoming excruciatingly tedious, we won't be voting on things like logos and colors separately. Once all the teams have been named, I'll begin taking logo submissions. That means you pick the color scheme to go with your logo set. The team's colors will be determined by the winning logo. All entries that meet the guidelines will be included in the voting. More details on that later.

All of the accepted entries will appear on one page and you'll rate each logo from 1 to 5 stars. The logo with the highest rating wins. In the event of a tie, we'll hold a run-off poll. After we have logos, we'll do jerseys. After that who knows. But all that will probably take us several months anyway.

By the way, this league is going to need a name. Start making suggestions. The only criteria I have is that it must use the name Icethetics in it and it cannot have the acronym IHA or NIHL. Let's hear some creative ideas.

For what it's worth, I like the idea of the guy who said we should pretend we're creating a new league in a world 20 years after the collapse of the NHL. Let's say some Bettman-like character holds the trademarks to every team name and logo from the NHL and he's vindictive. You steal one of his logos or team names — even a little bit — and he'll eat your children. You don't want your children eaten do you?

Let's try to be original and, mostly, have fun!