First Look: IceHL World Initiative

It's been mentioned in the last two IceHL yearbooks. Now it's finally becoming a reality — the IceHL World is happening in 2014. It'll be the third Icethetics fantasy league, joining the IceHL East and IceHL West.

I'm still working out all the details of how we'll create the league this summer. But I did want to run through what I do know and take any feedback.

I have a feeling 2014 will be the year of the bracket on Icethetics. Not only do the tournaments have new life on the Vote page, but the IceHL West rebrand will utilize that system of voting. The IceHL World will be no different in that regard.

League Size

The IceHL World will debut with 8 teams this summer. This number was not selected arbitrarily. It's a good starting point for a league I'd like to see grow in the coming years. It's exactly half the number of teams of the East and West and will give us several years of expansion.

Truth be told, if I had it to do again, the original IceHL project in 2008 would not have been 30 teams. Had I known what it would become, we would've started small to allow steady growth over the years. So that was very educational.

Selecting Locations

Trying to cover the world with just eight teams will be an enormous challenge. It won't be perfect. Know that from the outset. But I believe we will have a fantastic opportunity for some unique team branding.

In my role as commissioner, it's my job to guide the process. The final decisions will still be yours to make, as always. I'm just here to keep things organized and running smoothly with an eye to the future. So here's how I'm organizing the start of this new project.

Nation Brackets

We will begin with 32 nations — the number of current IceHL teams — divided into eight groups. Each group will use a two-round bracket to determine which countries will be selected to join the IceHL World.

The brackets will be grouped based on geography to ensure a decent spread of teams across the world. We'll have a mix of traditional and non-traditional hockey nations throughout the groups. But I'm sure you just want to see the full breakdown.

Not quite yet.

The eight brackets will be unveiled over a two-week period immediately following the IceHL season, which ends April 13 — just to draw out the fun! It'll take place while we're selecting the city for the team that's relocating to the IceHL West.

City Designations

In the past, we've started by selecting cities. I decided on nations for this one so we don't have multiple cities from the same country in the brackets. For the IceHL World, the cities will be assigned during the name nomination process.

For example, if Russia was one of the countries selected, you could nominate teams names for Moscow, St. Petersburg, Omsk, etc. This will foster more creativity in the naming process. (Of course you'd also be able to name a team for "Russia" rather than a specific city, but we'll still have to designate a home city.)

Logos and Jerseys

Once all eight team names are set, the logo and jersey design and voting process will use the same bracket format as the IceHL West rebrand. All in all, we should be finished with everything by mid-August. We'll have almost two months to spare before the start of the 2014-15 season and plenty of time to select GMs for the new teams.

As always, I'm happy to answer any questions by email or in the comments below.