In an effort to reduce the IceHL fantasy leagues from 44 teams to 40, a process began two weeks ago that culminated yesterday with the elimination of four franchises. This contraction coincided with the dissolution of the IceHL World conference and fantasy league and absorption of its remaining teams into the IceHL East and IceHL West.
With more than 2,300 votes cast this week, the Icethetics community selected the Chicago Hitmen, Saskatchewan Snipers and Seoul Express for contraction. Fourth place in that vote was a tie between the Gold Coast Rush and Munich Machine. The IceHL Design Council was tasked with selecting the fourth team and opted to break the tie, citing the Machine's color palette which is currently overused in the league.
The GMs for the Hitmen (Dylan Alexander), Express (Andy Taylor), and Machine (Dallas Kirkpatrick) will be reassigned prior to the start of the 2016-17 season. Snipers GM Tony Pomposelli previously resigned from the team.
The Hitmen logos were designed by Scott Robbins in 2008. Matt McElroy designed the Snipers' marks in 2013 when the team was rebranded. In 2015, when the IceHL World expanded, Ross Taylor created the logos for the Express while Christian Ryder designed the logos for the Machine.
Contraction does not necessarily mean these teams can never return to the IceHL. Should the league ever expand again in the future, these identities may be considered to return in some form. Their status is simply considered to be "inactive" until further notice.
As the IceHL World is dissolved after two seasons, 10 teams from that league remain active. The IceHL East and West each have 15 teams and therefore five openings to reach the ESPN limit of 20. Naturally, the remaining World teams will be split evenly to be absorbed by the two leagues.
The IceHL East will welcome the Geneva Mountaineers, Helsinki Lynx, Royal London HC, Quebec Armada, and Stockholm Hammers for the 2016-17 season.
Meanwhile, the IceHL West will welcome the Auckland Rockhoppers, Crete Minotaurs, Gold Coast Rush, Moscow Cosmonauts, and Osaka Samurai for the 2016-17 season.
The teams shown the above graphics are sorted alphabetically. New divisional alignments will be announced following any relocation decisions to be made in the coming weeks. Each league will have four geographical divisions of five teams each.
It should also be pointed out that the above images do not necessarily represent the 2016-17 season. This summer, the league will undergo a rebranding process where the community will select at least two and as many as four teams to be revisited.
2016 Compensation Drafts
Finally, the dissolution of the IceHL World fantasy league means the GMs being absorbed by the East and West will have to start over with the building of their rosters. To smooth the transition, we will conduct Compensation Drafts ahead of the standard Drafts.
Details are still being ironed out, but in essence, the Compensation Draft will allow incoming World teams to select unprotected players from the rosters of existing teams in their new league. The goal is to set them up with potential Keepers or trade-worthy assets in an effort to create a level playing field going in the 2016 Drafts.
World teams would have priority access to claim players from their previous rosters if they are not already protected on an existing team's roster. Again, more details will be released soon. Your commissioner welcomes all feedback on the subject.
Going forward, there may be a push toward converting the IceHL from keeper leagues to dynasty leagues where more players may be retained by teams from season to season, resulting in more consistency over the years.
The 2016 Rebranding Project will launch on Sunday afternoon with the full announcement of the rules and procedures, including the list teams that will be eligible for rebranding. Voting will commence on Monday.