IceHL 2016: How Will Contraction Work?

A couple weeks ago I announced the shake-ups coming to the IceHL this summer. Now it's time to explain the details about how the Contraction process will work.

Contraction will be a quick and painless process — like ripping off a band-aid. The first polls open Sunday and within two weeks, we'll be finished. There will be 14 teams protected from contraction, meaning 30 teams will be eligible. Four will be selected to suspend operations.

Protected Franchises

Two criteria were used to determine the teams that will be ineligible for contraction. First, any team that has won an IceHL championship is safe (Huskies, Colonials, Beasts, Kodiaks, Lynx, Royal HC, Mammoths, Nighthawks, and Scorpions). Second, any team currently managed by a GM who joined during our inaugural fantasy season, 2010-11, is safe (Wave, Archers, Sentinels, and Winterhawks). The goal here is to help protect the rosters of our longest-serving GMs.

Those criteria only account for 13 teams but, as IceHL Commissioner, I've also taken the liberty of protecting the Milwaukee Lagers, the only IceHL team for which an actual jersey was produced and made available for purchase by IceHL fans.

The teams depicted above will not be included in the voting process for IceHL contraction.

Eligible Franchises

The protection criteria leaves us with 30 IceHL teams that will be eligible for contraction — 10 from each of the three conferences, as it turns out. The graphics below depict the teams that will be included in the contraction voting process.

Continue reading for details on the voting process.

Contraction Voting Process

As previously announced, the voting will not take long, lasting just two weeks beginning Sun., June 5. By Sat., June 18 we will declare the 4 contracted teams.

The community will cast votes in two rounds of polls. The first round will consist of three multiple choice polls — one per conference. Voters will be able to choose up to 3 teams from the 10 listed in each poll. The 3 teams receiving the most votes in each conference will advance to the second round. Voting results will be visible while the polls are open.

The second round will consist of a single multiple choice poll. Again, voters will be able to choose up to 3 teams from the 9 listed. The 3 teams receiving the most votes will immediately suspend operations. Voting results will not be visible while the polls are open so as to keep the June 18 announcement a surprise.

The fourth and final team to be contracted will be decided by the members of the IceHL Design Council. Their decision will be subject to a community veto requiring a 60% majority. In the event of a veto, the team with the 4th-most votes in the second round poll will be contracted.

For what it's worth, this vote will be one of the final decisions of the current Design Council, which was elected in late 2014. A new Council will be elected by the community this fall. Until then, Matt, Colin, Will, and John will continue to help guide our rebranding efforts this summer. More to come on that soon.

This voting process outlined above was designed to allow for the possibility that all 4 contracted teams could come from the same conference or be spread out among all three.

One final note: Should the IceHL ever seek to re-expand beyond 40 teams in the future, we will first consider reactivating the teams that were contracted this summer.

Rebranding Process

Following the announcement of the contracted teams, we'll begin the process of rebranding 2 to 4 existing teams — because it's not really summer without an IceHL design contest!

The list of protected teams here will be much longer because the criteria will include teams that have undergone rebranding in the past as well as any teams created within the last two years. Obviously we won't have solid numbers on those groups until after the 4 contracted teams are removed from the equation. But I am expecting 8 to 12 teams to be eligible for rebranding.

More details will be announced as we get closer to launch time. As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask by email or comment.