League Rulebook

The rules of the National Simulated Hockey League are intended to maintain the integrity of the league and ensure the best possible experience for its members. As the league is continually evolving and new technologies develop, the Commissioner reserves the right to change these rules at any time.

Member Activity

The league as a whole can only be successful if its members are active. As such, various events throughout the season require member participation.

Roll calls and league surveys are required events without exception. Participating in the league's Entry Draft, assembling a roster and lineup that complies with all roster requirements, and voting for league awards, All-Star Game rosters, and the DFHL Hall of Fame are also required but a team may miss one (1) out of five (5) of these events if necessary. For the purposes of these limits, each draft pick counts as a single event. Each occurrence of an invalid roster or lineup also counts as a single event.

The commissioner reserves the right to declare events as required without exception.

A definitive response to all trade offers is required within five days (120 hours) of the initial trade offer. If a general manager does not reply to a trade offer within that time, the offering general manager can choose to post in the league forum noting such and "at-mentioning" the non-responsive GM. If the non-responsive GM does not reply to that post within twenty-four (24) hours, s/he will be removed from the league.

Exceptions may be made for members who announce their absence in advance or are able to provide reason for their lack of response before their team is assigned to a new general manager.

League members are required to treat each other with respect, although "trash-talking" is allowed (and, to an extent, encouraged). League members who are deemed to be disrespectful may be removed from the league.

Teams are expected to actively compete. Any general manager that is found to be "throwing" games will be removed from the league.

The commissioner reserves the right to remove a general manager from the league at any time.

Team Rosters

Each team will be made up of no more than forty-five (45) players, split between a "Pro" roster, a "Farm" roster and a list of "Scratches." Only players on the Pro roster are eligible to play in league games. Players on the Farm roster will be included in Farm League games where they have the ability to raise or lower their respective ratings. Scratches are not eligible for play in either type of game. Any injured player is required to be on the list of Scratches.

In addition to the combined roster of players, each team has a "Property List" of players who are not eligible to play in games. Players on this list are eligible to be traded. The Property List is intended to contain players who have not yet played at a high enough level to be rated for league play but it may also contain players who were once rated but, for any reason, no longer are. Additionally, at the start of each season any player who is younger than twenty-one (21) years old and has played fewer than twenty (20) career regular season National Hockey League games, or any player who has played fewer than ten (10) career regular season NHL games, may be sent to the Property List. Players on the Property List cannot be moved to the active roster until the next rerating occurs and only then if they are a rated player.

At no point during the season will a team be allowed to have more than sixty (60) players on its Reserve List - the combined rosters and Property List. If a team needs to release a player from its Reserve List, that player will be placed on waivers.

A team's roster may go above the player limit during the off-season. Teams must be back down to the limit by a date to be declared prior to the start of each season. If a team is above the 45-man roster limit as of that date, the last player listed on their team roster will be waived. If a team is over the 60-player Reserve List limit but not over the 45-player roster limit, the last player on their property list will be waived.

Each team may have no more than twenty-three (23) players on their pro roster. Players who are suspended or on injured reserve will not count towards this limit. Additionally, players who are not on the game roster - i.e., healthy scratches - who are also on waivers will not count towards the pro roster limit. Unless there is an active Waiver Draft, players on waivers for the purposes of release or demotion, who are also on the game roster, will count towards this limit. The pro roster limit will be lifted during the playoffs.

For each game, a team's game roster must consist of eighteen (18) skaters and two (2) goaltenders. Of the skaters, at least three (3) must be centers, at least three (3) must be left wings, at least three (3) must be right wings, and at least five (5) must be defensemen. Any team that fails to dress a valid roster for a game will forfeit that game.

Injured players may not be moved from the Pro roster to the Farm roster or vice-versa.

Roster-related Terms

Game Roster

A team's lineup for a specific game. Must be made up of eighteen (18) skaters and two (2) goalies.

Pro Roster

A team's Game Roster, plus any scratches (healthy or otherwise). Limited to twenty-three (23) players with exemptions for players on injured reserve. Players who are on waivers and are not on the Game Roster are also exempt from this limit. This limit is lifted for the duration of the playoffs.

Farm Roster

All players not on the Pro Roster are relegated to the Farm Roster. There are no specific limits on the Farm Roster.

Combined Roster / "Roster"

All players on the Pro Roster or the Farm Roster. Limited to forty-five (45) players.

Property List

Contains players who are either ineligible for their team's roster or are eligible to be demoted from the roster back to the Property List. There are no specific limits on the Property List

Reserve List

The combination of all rosters plus the Property List, this list is every player whose rights are owned by a team. Limited to sixty (60) total players.

Emergency Position Changes

Should a team have fewer than eighteen (18) healthy skaters available but more than two (2) healthy goaltenders, they will have the option of dressing one of their extra goaltenders as a skater to complete their roster. Similarly, should a team have fewer than two (2) healthy goaltenders but more than eighteen (18) skaters available, the option to dress a skater as a goalie will be available.

Emergency position changes will not persist from day to day. They will need to be applied for each day that the roster is ineligible.

Injured Reserve

Players who suffer an injury may be placed on injured reserve to clear a roster spot for a replacement player. Players on injured reserve will not count towards the pro roster player limit. Players are required to be removed from injured reserve upon their return to good health.

A player whose initial injury estimate is "day to day" is not eligible for injured reserve.

Players may be placed on injured reserve at any point prior to their return from injury.


Waiver Eligibility

Skaters who have played more than six (6) seasons and goalies who have played more than ten (10) seasons at the pro or farm level will be subject to waivers before they can be sent to a farm team. A player who has cleared waivers can remain with or return to the pro roster for twenty (20) schedule days or ten (10) games played before he needs to clear waivers again.

Releasing Players

Any time a team wishes to release a player for any reason, that player must first be offered up to the rest of the league via waivers, regardless of that player's waiver eligibility.

Waiver Availability

A player placed on waivers will remain on waivers until twenty-four (24) hours after the noon after they are placed on waivers (e.g., a player placed on waivers at 7:00 PM on Monday will remain on waivers until noon on Wednesday while a player placed on waivers at 11:00 AM on Thursday will remain on waivers until noon on Friday).

While a player is on waivers, all teams may make a claim on that player. In cases where more than one team makes a claim, the team with the highest waiver priority will be awarded the player.

Waiver Priority

Waiver priority for the start of the following season will be determined at the conclusion of the playoffs by the reverse order of the regular season standings. This order will also be used for the Waiver Draft. During the season, the waiver priority will be updated every ten scheduled days based on the standings at that time.

Waiver Draft

During the offseason, standard waivers will be suspended, with any player placed on waivers queued up for a "waiver draft." Only teams who have room under the roster limits may acquire a player during the waiver draft. Players waived during the waiver draft will be available in the draft. The draft will run until there is a round in which no team makes a selection or waives a player. For the purposes of record keeping, any rounds at the end of the draft in which no players were selected will be removed.

At the conclusion of the Waiver Draft, standard waivers will resume.

Waiver Claims

Any player claimed via waivers will be ineligible to be traded during the season in which he is claimed, unless he is first offered to the team that originally waived him and any other teams that made a claim on him.

If a team loses a player via waivers and the claiming team places him back on waivers later in the same season, the original team can claim the player and send him to the farm league if they are the only team to submit a claim.

Limited Waivers

A player who is claimed via waivers may be offered back to the team from which he was claimed and any other claimant teams without being offered to the rest of the league via a process known as Limited Waivers. Limited Waivers function in parallel to standard waivers, with the primary difference being that a player on Limited Waivers is only made available to a specific team or teams. Additionally, a player who clears Limited Waivers will not see a change to his standard waiver eligibility, except for in the case of a player re-claimed by his original team when no other team also submitted a claim.


Through the Trades Office section of the league website, general managers may complete player trades with one another. Players on the team's roster and Property List are eligible to be dealt, as are a team's draft picks. The Trades Office section of the site is to be used only for confirming trades, negotiations should be conducted beforehand via email or other form of communication. Any trade that is not confirmed by all involved teams will be removed from the Trades Office after forty-eight (48) hours.

Players who are on waivers are not eligible to be traded until they clear waivers.

There will be a "trade deadline" each season set for after 80% of the scheduled regular season games have been completed. Any players who are acquired via trade or waivers after this deadline will not be eligible to play in the playoffs.

Proper trading etiquette is that all trade offers must be replied to. A simple "No" is an acceptable response. Trade agreements made via email or other form of communication are considered binding.

Trade offers are considered void if any of the players involved are traded before a response is sent.

Future Considerations

Future considerations are a formal way of saying that part of a trade may be conducted at a later date. This is specifically applicable in the case of conditional draft picks, where the trading teams agree that if a certain condition (or set of conditions) is met, another trade will take place in the future to change the result of the original trade.

The conditions of future considerations need not be documented. If these conditions go undocumented, however, the terms are unenforceable if a general manager who owes future considerations as part of a trade drops out of the league - the new general manager of his team owes nothing.


During each offseason, there will be an Entry Draft, a Supplemental Draft, and the aforementioned Waiver Draft.

Entry Draft Eligibility

Any person who is listed in the database at EliteProspects.com and not currently on a team's roster or Property List and who is at least nineteen (19) years old as of the day of the draft will be available in the Entry Draft. If a player who has a rating is drafted, he will be added to the drafting team's roster. Unrated players will be added to the Property List for the drafting team.

Entry Draft Order

The draft order will be determined by the previous season's standings. A draft lottery will determine the first overall selection, with the non-playoff teams eligible. The current draft lottery odds are as follows:

Standings PositionLottery Odds
12th Place27.9%
11th Place21.7%
10th Place17%
9th Place13.5%
8th Place10.9%
7th Place8.9%

Regardless of their position in the league standings, the playoff champion will select last in each round.

Each draft will consist of four (4) rounds.

Supplemental Draft Eligibility

Any person who meets all Entry Draft eligibility requirements, is not currently on a team's roster or Property List, is included in the league's rating set for the draft's season, and meets all eligibility requirements to appear on an NSHL roster will be available in the Supplemental Draft. Selected players will be added to the drafting team's roster.

Due to technical limitations, ineligible players may appear on the list of available players for the Supplemental Draft. It is the responsibility of the selecting team to confirm that their selection is eligible. If an ineligible player is selected, he will be removed from the selecting team and his selection will be voided.

Supplemental Draft Order

Teams with a regular season winning percentage over the previous three (3) seasons below .500, who also did not qualify for the postseason in either of the previous two (2) seasons, will be sorted in ascending order by winning percentage for the first round of the Supplemental Draft. For the second round, that order will be reversed.

Draft Timing

Whatever the exact dates, the Entry Draft will occur first, followed by the Supplemental Draft, followed by the Waiver Draft.

Special Drafts

If it is determined that one is required to protect the competitiveness of the league, the commissioner may declare a "Special Draft." A Special Draft can be declared at any time of the season or offseason and will follow the guidelines determined at that time.


At the close of each season's playoffs, the players in the league will be rerated to reflect the status of their NHL counterparts. The ratings set used will be the most-recently published set from the CPHL. The ratings will be edited to include player vitals as recorded on CapFriendly.com and NHL.com.

Any player who is not currently signed to an NHL contract or has yet to make his NHL debut will not be eligible for play in the NSHL. Additionally, any player who is not rated will not be eligible, whether or not they otherwise meet the eligibility requirements. Unless otherwise noted, any player deemed ineligible will remain ineligible for the entirety of the NSHL season, regardless of changes to his NHL status.

Any skater who has appeared in fewer than twenty (20) games on a Pro roster and fewer than four (4) seasons combined on Pro and Farm rosters as of rerating will be considered a rookie for the following season. Any goaltender who has started fewer than ten (10) games or appeared in fewer than twenty (20) games and fewer than four (4) seasons combined on Pro and Farm rosters will also be granted "rookie" status.

Should no CPHL ratings be released during a NSHL season, the ratings from the end of that season will carry over to the next one, with player eligibility redetermined.

Deceased Players

Any player who passes away while active in the DFHL will be removed from his team's Reserve List. If the player is on a team roster, this will occur upon the team's final game of the season (playoffs included), unless the team's general manager opts to do so sooner. If the player is on a team Property List, this will occur as soon as possible.

Retiring Players

Players who have retired from play in the real world may be submitted for retirement in the NSHL. This process allows them to exit the league without having to first clear waivers as a released player.

Game Scheduling

The regular season game schedule will be generated by our own custom scheduler. Playoff game schedules will be generated by the simulator software. For the regular season, each team will play six (6) games against intra-conference opponents and four (4) games against inter-conference teams. This results in a fifty-four (54) game schedule. At the end of the season, the top three (3) teams in each conference will advance to the playoffs. Three (3) best-of-seven playoff rounds will be played to determine a champion from the six (6) playoff teams. Conference champions will receive a bye for the first playoff round.

Prior to the start of the regular season, an exhibition schedule may be scheduled. The exact format of this schedule will be determined on a season-by-season basis.

Game Simulation

Games will be simulated using the FHLSim hockey simulator program. This program outputs game boxscores and statistics which are then read into the league website. The program is not infallible and any errors found should be reported to the Commissioner.

League Standings

Teams will be awarded two points for each win, one point for each tie, and zero points for each loss accumulated throughout a season. The teams will be ordered in the season standings by total points accumulated. Should two or more teams be tied in points, the following tiebreakers will be used:

  1. Games played, with fewer games taking priority
  2. Wins
  3. Points earned in games against the tied team(s).
  4. Goal differential

At the end of each regular season, the top four teams in each conference will be seeded into a playoff.

Team Naming and Relocation

No two teams in the league may have the same nickname. Similarly, no two teams in the farm league may share a nickname. A farm team may use an NSHL team's nickname only with the NSHL team's permission.

Every NSHL team holds exclusive territorial rights for a 75 mile radius from their city and exclusive territorial rights for a 50 mile radius from their Farm team. Each NSHL owner has the sole right to block or permit the movement of another team, be it Pro or Farm, into the exclusive territory of their own Pro or Farm team.

The announcement of a proposed move or name change will initiate a 7 day period during which league members can voice objections to the proposed change. Objections can relate either to the territory to which the team would be moving or the name the team would be taking.

In the case of an owner objecting to a move that infringes upon the exclusive territory of one of their teams, the move will be immediately rejected. An objection by any other team would initiate a league-wide vote requiring a simple majority in favor of the change for the change to be approved. Tie votes will result in rejection of the change. If the league commissioner submits an objection, a two-thirds supermajority in favor of the change is required for approval.

Changes involving an Identity switch must be presented with a logo, ready to use, or they will be immediately rejected.

Championship Recognition

Teams may add graphics representing championship banners to their team pages for any team awards as well as regular season playoff and conference championships and retired or honored numbers. These graphics will be created by the commissioner with input from the GM unless the GM wishes to create the images him/herself. Banners can be only redesigned by the GM who earned them and may not exceed 125 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall.

National Simulated Hockey League