1  So I'm about to play a home game. What do I need to do?

In order, these are the steps necessary to play an official game in the National Strat-o-Matic Hockey League:

  1. In the current newsletter, check the schedule for your club to see which games are available. Choose one.

  2. Make sure that you've got the current set of league files loaded into your "DATA" subdirectory.

  3. Download the computer manager for your opponent's team. Import it.

  4. If you wish, you can view your opponent's instructions by highlighting the team, going to "Team / Display Reports / Computer Manager Reports". (As an aisde, it is generally considered unethical to enter your opponent's computer manager - whether it is locked or not. Viewing the report, however, is fine and encouraged)

  5. Create the computer manager for your team (if it's not your team, then you may need the team's lock code, which should be on file with the Commissioner). Make particular note of the special NSHL usage rules.

  6. Play the game, observing the aforementioned usage rules.

  7. At the conclusion of your game, send an e-mail to and your opponent containing the following:

    • The boxscore, attached as an uncompressed plain text file.

    • The export file (found in your "EXPORT" subdirectory), attached as a compressed file. The Commissioner requests that you do not use commas in any of your file names (boxscore or export).

    • Any further details of the game you wish to provide (three stars, highlights, play-by-play, insults, etc.) in the body of the message.

2  So I'm about to play a road game. What do I need to do?

In order, these are the steps necessary to play an official game in the National Strat-o-Matic Hockey League:

  • Check your team's schedule to see which road games you have this biweek.
  • Check the games played for your roster, and the injury list in the most recent newsletter, to determine who is eligible for the game in question.
  • Create a valid computer manager, based on the rules and regulations in Strat-o-Matic hockey (in general) and this document (in particular).
  • If you decide to use a lock code, you MUST tell the commissioner the lock code.
  • Compress the file, and mail the file to your opponent and the commissioner. The Commissioner requests that you do not use commas in your file names.
  • Sit back and relax.

3  How do I know which computer manager to import?

Each week, all teams are required to send their computer managers to their opponents, as well as the Commissioner. If you don't think you have received a computer manager yet, feel free to ask (either the owner or the Commissioner). If you're not sure which computer manager to import, the easiest thing to do is ASK! Most teams make it pretty clear which file is to be used against a particular opponent, but if you're not absolutely clear, it never hurts to ask.

Usually these files are compressed, so you want to uncompress them into your main SOM directory, unless you like searching for them elsewhere.

Then, simply highlight the team's name and "Import Computer Manager". Voila!

4  What are the NSHL Usage Rules?

There are two types of usage rules in the NSHL; the first type restrict who may play in a particular game, the second restrict how dressed players are used within a game.


  • The first rule is what the NSHL calls "the 110% rule". No matter what, players may play no more than 110% of their actual games played in the NHL.

    For instance, Andy McDonald played forty-six (NHL) games during the 2002-03 campaign. Therefore, in the NSHL, he is allowed to play as many as 46*1.1 = 50.6 = 50 (rounded down) league games. These are always rounded down.

    The natural question is "why do we always round down"? Well, if you round up, then that will always lead to a percentage more than 110%. Consider the McDonald example above - if we rounded up to 51 games, that would be 111% (too much).

    It's simpler than it sounds - take the "tens digit" of a player's NHL games, and add it to the total games played - that's the maximum number of allowable NSHL games.

  • The second rule is the injury rule. For each game, there may be players that are unable to play due to Commissioner-determined injuries. These can be found in the current NSHL newsletter until "Schedule and Injuries". Injured players are not eligible to play in these games.

  • The third rule is teams are allowed to dress either:
    • Twelve forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders, (or)
    • Eleven forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders.

    Teams usually choose the first option because it's easier. Players who are eligible to play both forward and defense will be considered to be at the position where they are primarily used in the Computer Manager, at the Commissioner's discretion.


In all of the following rules, a "shift" refers to a three Action Card sequence.

  • Forwards may be scheduled for NO MORE than four even-strength shifts per period.
  • In the first and second period, defenseman may be scheduled for a maximum of four even-strength shifts per period.
  • In the third period, defensemen may be scheduled for a maximum of six even-strength shifts per period.
  • All skaters (forwards and defensemen) must be scheduled for a minimum of four even-strength shifts per regulation game (not including overtime). These shifts must be scheduled within the first nine shifts of a period. (Why? Because special teams time usually eliminates the last few shifts of each period, and placing poor players there would be an attempt to get around this requirement)
  • No player may be scheduled for consecutive even-strength shifts.
  • A player may appear on (at most) one power-play unit and (at most) one short-handed unit per game. For instance, a player may be on PP1 or PP2, and SH1 or SH2.
  • A forward rated "POINT **" may play on either PP1 or PP2 (but not both). A forward rated "POINT *" may only play on PP2.
  • If a forward is playing the point on any power-play units, he may not appear as a forward on any power-play unit (and vice-versa).
  • Since the computer manager automatically reverts to PP1 and PK1 at the start of each period, the home team is allowed to do the same. This replaces the board game's "double-shifting power play units rule".

As an aside, if the usage rules seem complicated, these line orders are perfectly legal: 1-2-3-4/1-2-3-4/1-2-3 for forwards, and 1-2-3/1-2-3/1-2 for defensemen.

5  How do I rotate "Any Player" shots?

These shots must be given to the player on the ice with the highest "Offense" rating, usually a player with a "4" offense. If there is a tie (i.e., more than one person has the same highest offense rating), then "any player" shots must be rotated evenly amongst them.

The game keeps track of this; when an "Any Player" shot is an option, the game will list all of your players. To the far right of each player is "AP Shots". Amongst the highest-rated offense players, you must choose the one with the fewest "AP Shots".

Finally, the computer will not automatically do this for you, particularly in road games. To make this happen, in your road Computer Managers you must: under "Player Order", in "Shot Order", you must list all of your "Offense 4" players first, followed by your "Offense 3" players, etc. Amongst each category of players, you are free to order your players as you please.

6  When can a player play a non-carded position?

The following are the ONLY situations in the NSHL in which a player may play a position for which they are uncarded:
  1. A centre may player either wing position while shorthanded.
  2. A defenseman may play either left or right defense while on the power play.
  3. In four-on-four situations, a centre may player either wing position.
  4. In three-on-three situations, any forward may play at the centre position.

7  How do I pick up a player from the free agent list?

In order to pick up a player from the free agent list, they must first appear on the free agent list. Usually this means that you must wait for the newsletter to officially see the release.

In other words, if the Seattle Rainiers announce to the list that they release Dany Heatley, he cannot then be picked up as a free agent. It must first appear in the following newsletter before teams may put forth their claims.

To pick up an eligible free agent, you should e-mail the commissioner with your request. In nearly all situations, your request will be accepted and the signing will appear in the following newsletter. The player is not eligible until this point.

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.