Constitution rewritten for content, flow and elimination of outmoded rules and regulations, October 2003

Last Update: 7/26/2012





The National Strat-o-Matic Hockey League (referred to in the remainder of this document as "NSHL") is founded with the purpose of simulating the National Hockey League's competition and competitive environment through the medium of Strat-O-Matic Hockey. This purpose is to be fulfilled in whatever manner deemed fit by the league's membership, while maintaining an amiable league environment.

  1.1.1. HONOR CODE
By being a member of the NSHL, all members realize that the purpose of the league is enjoyment for all members, and not necessarily individual glory. To those ends, all members agree not to overtly cheat or alter results to his own advantage (or disadvantage), and all members agree to play all games fairly and with the best of intentions for both teams. By accepting an invitation for team ownership, the new owner agrees to be bound by this honor code.

1.1.2 AUTOPLAYING GAMES (added 2004)
The auto playing of league games is strongly discouraged. League policy is to have an actual person, preferably an associate, play an owner's games in the event that the owner cannot do so. All possible efforts should be made to affect the intent of this amendment.

1.1.3 Engine change (added 2011)
The NSHL will officially begin testing other game engines, provided volunteers can be found, to try and improve the league with a different game engine.

The NSHL is governed by this constitution. Any issues not specifically addressed by this document are to be decided at the discretion of the presiding Commissioner. The Commissioner shall edit the Constitution for spelling, grammar and overall consistency after each vote; if any league member disputes the need for an edit, that edit will be postponed until it can be brought to a vote.

1.2.1. CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL (Amended 2010)
The league shall have five-member Constitutional Council, the head of which must be elected by the league. The other four members of the Council shall be the Commissioner, the Vice-Commissioner, and two appointees to be chosen by the council's head. The Commissioner and Vice-Commissioner shall serve while in office, while the two appointees shall serve a one-year term (appointees may serve consecutive terms).

The five-member Constitutional Council is responsible for submitting all proposed Constitutional changes, in the form of amendments, to the NSHL membership on or before June 1 of each off-season. The council shall determine which possible amendments shall be put to league vote, and have the authority to edit amendments for spelling, grammar and content.

All constitution proposals are sent to the full NSHL membership one week before the ballot is to be distributed. During the week, members can participate in lively debate, request clarifications, and propose alternates. The Constitution Committee, using the debate and submitters' suggestions as a guide, shall edit the proposals only as required to ensure clarity. The Committee can also create alternative mutually exclusive proposals that have different terms than proposed amendments. Proposals are mutually exclusive only if adopting more than one would result in a conflict. Mutually exclusive alternative proposals shall be identified and grouped together when presented on the ballot. The Constitution Committee distributes the ballot on the appointed date. Sets of mutually exclusive alternative proposals will be clearly identified. Owners must vote on each proposed amendment (or set of mutually exclusive proposals).

If an owner votes positively for a set of proposals, he must select only one of the alternatives. For any proposal to pass, it must receive the current required 2/3rds majority of the non-abstentions. In addition, only one of a set of mutually exclusive alternative proposals can pass, as determined by a simple majority (most positive votes) among all the alternatives. If an owner votes positively for a set of proposals, he must select only one of the alternatives. For any proposal to pass, it must receive the current required 2/3rds majority of the non-abstentions. In addition, only one of a set of mutually exclusive alternative proposals can pass, as determined by a simple majority (most positive votes) among all the alternatives. A run-off between the top two vote getters will be held if no solution receives fifty percent of the league votes.

The NSHL shall consist of two types of members - team owners and associates.

There will be at most twenty-four (24) franchises in the NSHL. Each franchise will be allowed one vote on any item brought to a vote of the membership. Team owners may leave the league in good standing provided that they are not over their ten IP limit (see section 1.5, "Incentive Points") and provided that they allow adequate time for the league to find a new team owner.

The NSHL will allow for an unlimited number of associate members. Associate members will not be allowed to vote on league issues, but will receive the league mailings. Associate members may be asked to play league games for owners on a game-by-game basis, and may also be selected to play league games for an extended period of time should a full owner be unable to do so.

If a team should be vacated for any reason, the team will be offered to one of the associates based on the number of games played for league members. If there are an equal number of games played by two associate candidates, the associate will be chosen based on seniority. If an associate does not wish to become a team owner at that time, then the offer will pass to the next associate, and so forth, until the list is exhausted. If the associate list becomes exhausted in this fashion, the Commissioner may use his/her discretion to appoint a team owner, on an interim or permanent basis.

Members who leave the league in good standing may return as associate members at any time, retaining their previous years of service. However, any previous games played by returning league members will not count towards their future appointment.

The NSHL league officers will consist of the Commissioner, Vice-Commissioner, a three-member Review Board, and the head of the Constitutional Council.

The NSHL Commissioner shall serve a life term on a voluntary basis. The Commissioner can be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the league membership, at which point a new Commissioner must be elected.

The duties of the Commissioner include:

  • Responsibility for the NSHL schedule, including producing and distributing the schedule well in advance of the season opener.
  • Overseeing the annual entry draft.
  • Producing and distributing the NSHL newsletter.
  • Serving on the Constitutional Council.
  • Serving on the Review Board, as necessary.
  • Appointing members to the office of Vice-Commissioner and the Review Board.
  • Handling disputes between league members to the overall benefit of the league.

  The Commissioner is also entitled to use his/her discretion concerning any actions that are not specifically addressed in this Constitution. Any ruling made in this fashion is open to appeal; all appeals will be heard by the Review Board.

The NSHL Vice-Commissioner is appointed by the Commissioner to a one-year term of office (consecutive terms are permitted).

Duties of the Vice-Commissioner include:

  • Responsibility for all duties of the Commissioner in the Commissioner's absence.
  • Serving on the Constitutional Council.
  • Serving on the Review Board, as necessary.
  • Overseeing voting to remove the Commissioner from office.

The NSHL Review Board consists of three members, each appointed by the NSHL Commissioner. Review Board members serve a one-year term of office (consecutive terms are permitted).

Duties of the Review Board include:

  • Ruling on all protests submitted by league members (section 6.0, "Protests").
  • Ruling on all appeals submitted by league members (section 6.0, "Protests").

The Head of the NSHL Constitutional Council is elected by the NSHL membership to serve a one-year term (consecutive terms are permitted).

Duties of the Head of the Constitutional Council include:

  • Overseeing the operations of the Constitutional Council.
  • Submitting the full Constitutional Ballot to the Commissioner.
  • Tallying the resulting ballot vote, and releasing the results

The Constitutional Council is comprised of five league members, among which are the Commissioner, Vice-Commissioner and the Head of the Constitutional Council.

Duties of the Constitutional Council include:

  • Overseeing the production of the Constitutional Ballot.
  • Considering and debating all member-submitted amendments and proposals.
  • Drafting all amendments felt necessary by the Council.

The NSHL Commissioner shall give incentive points (IP) to any league member failing to meet league-assigned deadlines or for conduct detrimental to the league. Incentive points shall be awarded to teams based on the following criteria:

  • Late GRS - 1 IP (per offense)
  • Late CM - 1 IP (per offense)
  • Failure to vote on league ballots - 5 IP
  • Conduct detrimental to the league - 1 to 10 IP

Additional IP may be assigned per the Commissioner's discretion. Any member who accumulates 10 or more IP during one year is subject to removal from the league by the Commissioner. IP are set to zero on June first of each year.

The NSHL shall consist of at most twenty-four teams dividing into two conferences; each conference shall be divided into two divisions of no more than six franchises. The Commissioner has the discretion to realign the league structure, subject to two-thirds approval from the league.

Each owner has the discretion to choose a city in which to locate his/her franchise, and a team nickname. NSHL teams may not change cities or nicknames without prior approval from the Commissioner and Vice-Commissioner, and may only change cities and/or nicknames once per three years.

Teams may switch divisions and/or conferences by petitioning the Commissioner, who will recommend which teams shall switch. Realignment must be agreed upon by two-thirds of the league, and unanimously by all teams being realigned.

The league will maintain an official league mailing list; all franchises must have at least one owner subscribed to this list. In the event that a franchise has a party not on the mailing list, it is the sole responsibility of the subscriber to disseminate any pertinent information to other owners.



The NSHL will play an 82-game schedule, provided by the Commissioner. Opening day will be on a Wednesday in early-to-mid October. Each team will be responsible for playing four home games every two weeks, as well as providing a computer manager for four road games.

Each NSHL two-week period (hereafter referred to as a "biweek") will begin with a Tuesday afternoon newsletter, identifying the upcoming schedule and injuries. Computer manager shall be sent to a team's road opponents by Wednesday evening (or thirty-six hours after receipt of the newsletter).

Face-to-face play, either using the same computer or via NetMeeting, is permitted.

In the event that a team will not be able to play their home games for a given biweek, they need to contact an associate to play the games in their stead; alternatively, they may contact the Commissioner who will attempt to handle this transaction.

All results are due by the Monday two weeks later, with game reports and files sent to the Commissioner, Vice-Commissioner, the team's opponent and the games list by that time.

League standings will be based on the NHL-style points system, with two points per win, one point per tie and one point per overtime loss.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the top eight teams in each conference will be entered into the Farley Cup playoffs. Division winners will receive the top two seeds in each conference. For purposes of teams tied in the standings, all NHL tiebreakers will be considered.

Each conference will then determine a champion by best-of-seven series between #1 vs. #8, #2 vs. #7, #3 vs. #6 and #4 vs. #5. After the completion of each series, teams will be reseeded based on record, with division winners maintaining their advantage, and the process will repeat until each conference has a champion. These two teams will compete in the Farley Cup Finals, a best-of-seven series with home-ice advantage held by the team with more regular-season points.

Each series' schedule will be determined by the two participants, with guidance from the Commissioner if necessary. Series shall last no longer than two weeks.


Each NSHL team shall be limited to thirty-six players on their roster during the season and postseason. All players, carded and uncarded, count against this thirty-six man limit.

Once the Farley Cup playoffs have completed, teams may carry as many players on their roster as they wish until the annual entry draft. From draft day until the regular season cut down date, teams may carry a maximum of thirty-nine players.

All players who played in at least one game in the prior NHL season are eligible for the annual NSHL entry draft.

Even if a player is uncarded for a particular season, a franchise may hold his rights for as long as they desire. This player will count towards their roster maximums.

Transactions made during the season will be confirmed via the NSHL newsletter. Moves are not made official until announced in the newsletter. Allowed transactions include trades, free agent signings, and releasing of players to the free agent pool.

3.3.1. TRADES (amended 2009)
Trades may be made from the end of the NSHL season until the newsletter following week 13/14 (the NSHL trade deadline). All owners involved in a trade must notify the Commissioner and Vice-Commissioner via e-mail before the trade will be considered official. The trade will become official once it appears in the NSHL newsletter; to be assured of appearing in the upcoming newsletter, trades should be completed by the final Monday of a particular biweek.

All trades are final, pending protests, and all player compensation shall change hands at the time of the trade. Draft choice compensation may be conditional, but all conditions must be announced at the time of the trade. Owners may trade draft picks in the upcoming free agent draft only.

Trades must be reported to and confirmed to the entire league ( immediately upon completion.

Any league member may protest a trade between two teams if they feel either that the trade was made in bad faith, or that the trade represents an unrealistic or competitively dangerous exchange of talent. To protest a trade, a league member must send to the Commissioner, Vice-Commissioner, Review Board, and the teams involved in the trade an explanation of why the member is protesting the trade. Protests must be filed by the Friday following the newsletter announcing the trade. The Review Board shall request information from the teams involved in the trade as necessary. A unanimous vote by the Review Board voids the trade. The Review Board's decision can be reversed by a two-thirds vote of the league membership; such a vote may be requested of the Commissioner by any five league members not involved in the original protest. Such a request must be filed within one week of the Review Board decision.

An owner may sign any player on the free agent list at any point during the NSHL regular season. An owner signing a free agent must notify the Commissioner by the final Monday of a biweek in order for it to appear in the following newsletter.

In the event that two or more teams wish to sign the same player, the team with the lower winning percentage will be permitted to sign the player. For players signed before the beginning of week three, the previous year's winning percentages will be used.

Any player signed as a free agent must be dressed for a minimum of six of his team's games in the following biweek. A player that does not fulfill this requirement will be immediately released to the free agent pool. As a corollary of this rule, a player must have at least six games' eligibility remaining in order to be signed as a free agent.

All players signed as free agents become full and permanent members of the franchise that signed them, with the exception that players signed after the trade deadline will be returned to the free agent list immediately following the Farley Cup Finals.

At any point during the regular season and off-season, a franchise may release any of their players. To release a player, an owner must notify the Commissioner by the final Monday of a biweek in order for it to appear in the following newsletter. If applicable, the player will then be added to the free agent pool.


4.1. REGULAR SEASON (amended 2007)

During the NSHL regular season, players are permitted to play no more than 110% of their NHL games played. Any games played over this limit will result in the forfeit of the game by the player's team. Limits may be verified by any owner, although the honor system will be the primary method of enforcing this rule. The maximum usage rule is designed to prevent abuse of players with low playing time.

The Commissioner has the option to assess draft choice penalties for franchise owners who overuse their players in the preceding season.

In assessing these penalties, the Commissioner will use judgement and take into consideration previous violations as well as the number of games overused. Penalties may be appealed to the Review Board.

At the conclusion of each game, the Commissioner will randomly select one player per game (not per team) to potentially suffer an injury. Each player's chance of injury will be linear with respect to ice time (goaltenders will have their injury chance cut in three for this procedure). For this player, the Commissioner will then roll on the NSHL injury chart to determine any further games missed.

Injuries will be reported in the biweekly NSHL newsletter.

In addition to injuries, goaltenders are limited to a consecutive number of games as determined by their fatigue rating, and may not play more unless they are maintaining a "hot streak" (per Strat-o-Matic rules).

4.2. POSTSEASON (amended 2007)
No player may play more playoff games than he played in the previous NHL regular season. Goaltender fatigue is normal with these exceptions:

  1. a goaltender with a fatigue rating of five or more may play in every game while they maintain a "hot streak" subject to the restraints of maximum usage,
  2. and if a team wins its playoff series in fewer than the maximum number of games (eg, six or fewer games in a seven-game series), its goaltenders' number of consecutive starts resets to zero when the team's next series begins.

The only players that may appear in the NSHL postseason are those that have been "carded" by the Strat-o-Matic game company; that is, either a regular card, or an additional player card. "Computer-only" players can only appear in the playoffs with approval of both the Commissioner and the opposing owner.

  1. There are no limits on Goalies rated 5+.
  2. A goalie rated 1 or 2 cannot play a game, either as starter or backup.
  3. A goalie rated 3 or 4 can start a playoff game under two conditions: a) He starts the first game of the playoffs and he plays until he reaches his special fatigue rating (SFR: See Point 4) b) He starts the game AFTER another goalie of his team reaches his own fatigue rating (or SFR if less than 5) and can play until he becomes fatigued again.
  4. The special fatigue rating (SFR) is faced when a goalie rated less than 5 allows 4 goals or more in a game, excluding overtime (instead of the 6 of the regular fatigue rating). A goalie reaching his SFR can finish his game, but has to sit until the conditions in Point 3b are fulfilled.
  5. In the playoffs, a goalie change can occur only in case of fatigue.

5.1. NSHL PLAYER ENTRY PROCESS (amended 2012)

The NSHL player entry process will consist of an entry draft of an indefinite length (until the pool is exhausted).

Eligible players for the entry draft include all carded or computer only players not currently on an NSHL roster.

The entry draft will occur on the second Saturday in September, live via the NSHL chat room. Teams may draft in as many rounds as they would like until the pool of eligible first-year players is exhausted. The NSHL draft order will be based on the exact method of the NHL with respect to lottery and seeding of playoff teams based on postseason success. All tie breakers will also follow the NHL rules..

Immediately following the release of the entry draft results, teams may claim players from the free agent list. The free agent list is comprised of players who were not selected in their respective drafts as well as any players released between the drafts and Opening Day.

Teams must have a roster size no larger than thirty-six players (skaters plus goaltenders) as of Opening Day.



By Wednesday evening of each biweek (or thirty-six hours following the newsletter release); each owner is required to release a Computer Manager to their road opponents.

These computer managers must be created and exported using the official NSHL league files, and must conform to all NSHL rules and regulations.

Lock codes are permitted on computer managers, but lock codes must be sent to the Commissioner in the event that it is needed (for verification or other purposes).

At the conclusion of each home game, and by the end of the biweek period, all games must be reported to the Commissioner, the road opponent, and the games report mailing list. This report shall include:

the box score of the game played (in plain text format)
the (compressed) export file of the game played.
any further detail at the owner's discretion.

Now that the computer game is keeping a large number of team statistics, the only statistics an owner must track manually are game-winning and game-tying goals.

In a game with a victor, a game-winning goal will be awarded to the player, on the winning team, who scores the goal which gives the winning team one more goal than the losing team's final score.

In a tied game, a game-tying goal will be awarded to the player scoring the final goal of the contest. Note that only one game-tying goal is awarded per tied game (not per team).


A road manager may protest to the NSHL Review Board any outcome which he/she feels results directly from negligence or maliciousness on the part of the home manager. Managers should try to settle all protests by mutual consent prior to filing a formal protest with the Board.

If a member elects to protest the results of a game, the member must send to the Commissioner, Vice-Commissioner, the Review Board members, and the home manager an explanation of the protest as well as supporting documentation regarding the protested game.

Protests must be filed by the Monday following the newsletter reporting the game result (although all efforts should be made to protest a result as soon as possible following the outcome). The Review Board shall request a statement from the home manager regarding the incident, and then review all evidence and vote on the protest. If a Board member believes that negligence or maliciousness did occur, and that there is reasonable doubt that the outcome would have been different if it had not occurred, the member should vote in favor of upholding the protest.

A unanimous vote is required to uphold a protest. The Review Board shall issue a ruling on a protest within two weeks from the date of the protest. No league member may rule on a protest involving his/her own team. If a Board member is involved in a protest, he/she shall be replaced first by the Vice-Commissioner and finally the Commissioner.


All rules of hockey and the Strat-o-Matic Super Advanced Hockey game will apply, with exceptions listed within this Constitution. It is the feeling of the league that the Strat Hockey game should be left intact as much as possible.

8.1 LINE PLAY AND SHIFTS (amended 2008)
Each shift will be scheduled to last three actions cards, with forwards and defensemen changing at the same time.

All dressed skaters must be scheduled for a minimum of five shifts (15 AC) per regulation game, not including overtime. In the case of computer managers, these shifts must be scheduled within the first eight shifts of each period.

In the first two periods (and in postseason overtime), forwards may be scheduled for a maximum of four shifts (12 AC) total. Defenseman may be scheduled for a maximum of four shifts (12 AC) total. No player may be scheduled for consecutive shifts.

In the third period (regular season), forwards may be scheduled for a maximum of four shifts (12 AC) total. Defenseman may be scheduled for a maximum of six shifts (18 AC) total, but each defenseman must be scheduled to play one shift within the first three shifts. No player may be scheduled for consecutive shifts.

In regular-season overtime, teams can schedule players in any manner of their choosing, so long as players are not scheduled for consecutive shifts.

During playoff overtimes, the fourth line must be scheduled to play one shift before the overtime period is 3/4th complete. You must also play/rotate your three/four defensive lines equally, barring penalties.

  8.1.1 SPECIAL TEAMS SHIFTS (clarified 2003)
Since the Computer Manager reverts to PP1 and PK1 at the start of each period even if PP2 and PK2 haven't touched the ice, the home team will be allowed to do the same.

As of SOMH 2.0, the computer lines will use the best player possible in the event that a player for an active line is incapacitated, i.e. sitting in the penalty box. However, for human controlled special teams lines, the player to be played in place of the penalized player should be one that is not listed on either of the special teams lines, unless there is no other option. (example: If Lidstrom is on PK#1, he can not play on PK#2 unless the team's #5 and #6 defensemen are also ineligible to play).

The above rule does not count if the game is quick-simmed, but if you play the game as human controlled, or computer lines/human decisions, you should be required to make the appropriate changes.

For even-strength play, penalty replacement players must be chosen in such a way as to equalize shifts, at the discretion of the owner involved.

All teams must dress a game roster of eighteen skaters and two goaltenders, including no more than seven defensemen.

Teams may pull their goaltender at any point in the game.

Forwards rated as "POINT **" are allowed to play on either the first or second power-play unit. Forwards rated as "POINT *" are allowed to play on the second power-play unit.

8.6 SHOOTOUT (added 2006)
There will br a three-skater shootout following the conclusion of tied regular-season games.

The NSHL will adopt the Goldberg passing system as implemented in the computer game. For further notes on the Goldberg system
go to

8.8 OPTIONAL PENALTY RULE (added 2007)
The NSHL will adopt the "optional penalty rule" as implemented in the computer game. According to Strat-o-Matic, "with this option selected, seldom-penalized skaters will be penalized less often".

8.9 Enforcer rules (amended 2012)
The NSHL shall eliminate the new Strat "Enforcer Rule.".