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Chapter 3 - Team Rules, Draft Rules & Captaincy

3.1 - Team Rules

Each team must meet certain requirements in order to be considered eligible to play in each game and through the season as a whole.  In addition, each team, as well as their respective captains and players, share responsibilities that are essential to the integrity and functioning of both the team and the league.  

Team Eligibility

Teams must meet the following conditions in order to be eligible to participate throughout an official season:

1) Minimum of six (6) players on the team’s official roster.
2) A designated full-time captain, as well as one to two assistant captains.
3) Minimum of one (1) active referee on the team by the end of the preseason/beginning of the regular season.

If a team fails to designate its captains by the first game of the regular season, they will be rendered ineligible to play until its captains are decided.  In the event that a team loses its full-time captain during the season, then the assistant captains are responsible for managing the team; if the captain disappears or is not able to return on a long-term basis, then the team must eventually assign one of the assistant captains to take over as team captain.

If a team does not draft a player who will serve as an active referee, then the team will be ineligible to play until one of its players will volunteer as a referee.  

A team that is deemed ineligible to play will automatically forfeit its games until it can satisfy these requirements.

Teams must also meet all of the following requirements in order to be eligible to participate in any given game without risk of forfeit:

1) Minimum of three (3) rostered members of the team are present; this total does not include on-loan prospects.
2) Players must be present no later than ten (10) minutes after either the scheduled start time, or after game setup (i.e., after the referee has input a game onto the scoreboard), whichever comes latest.
3) No fewer than four (4) players must be available to play; if a team has only three rostered players present, then it must have at least one substitute or if available, call in a prospect.

Team Responsibilities & Conduct

Every team in the league is responsible for regulating its own activities, conduct and participation in games.  To the extent provided by the rules, teams each team is considered as an autonomous entity that must function within the framework of its division and of the league in general.

While the conduct of each individual player is held to the standards described in the league’s mission statement and code of conduct, the conduct of an entire team is the summation of the actions and behaviors of its members.  Thus, it is of vital importance that teammates hold one another to a high standard of conduct, and that teams can regulate themselves in a way that either stops any internal issues from spreading out of the team or interfering with the team’s ability to compete, or prevents these issues from ever arising in the first place.

The responsibility of upholding proper conduct throughout the team is shared among the players and the team captain.  When players cannot talk through their problems, it is left up to the captain to use the tools that are made available to them to deal with conduct issues.  These tools include benching players, seeking management approval to scratch players, engaging in trades, and appealing for disciplinary waivers.

Captains are also responsible for organizing the strategies and lineups that the team will use in every game, and must also manage ice time for each player in accordance with the rules for ice time listed later in the chapter.

Team Dysfunction

In cases of severe team dysfunction, management may be called upon to intervene or may launch an investigation independently to assess the situation on the team.  Management must then determine whether or not a team can remain viable on the basis of competitiveness, attendance, team morale and player relations.

Due to the uniqueness of the circumstances surrounding each team, management reserves the right to act with a wide degree of freedom and may take several different actions based on the severity of the situation and pervasiveness of the team’s problems, including but not limited to:

- Relocation or removal of problematic players, with supplemental discipline applied as deemed appropriate.

- Change of captaincy, with replacement(s) to be appointed by management.

- Waiving players who are negatively impacted by but not implicated in the issues surrounding the team.

- Suspension of players who are a clear source of team dysfunction (season suspension + conduct warning).

- Shutdown of the team, for a set length of time of no less than three games and/or until the team can demonstrate clearly that it has resolved its problems internally and can cooperate effectively.

- Dissolution of the team, with all future games for the team cancelled for the remainder of the season, as well as all standings points rendered void for all past games involving that team; optionally, management may move some or all of the team’s remaining players to other teams via placement or midseason draft.

Managing Ice Time

The amount of playing time that a player can receive per game depends on several factors related to time of arrival and player status, and is to be regulated by each team’s captain.  While captains are advised to divide playing time among all players on the team as best as is feasible under the conditions of the game, ice time will always be situational by nature and will vary from one game to the next for each player.

Unless noted otherwise, the minimum amount of ice time that players must be given is four (4) minutes per game, either in one continuous shift or broken into several shifts.

Even if a player is guaranteed to have ice time, they are not required to enter a game if they so wish, and may also participate in a game for less than the minimum time if they desire.  In both cases, the player must speak with their captain and express their wish to sit out of the game or play for fewer minutes.  Captains cannot pressure a player into staying out of a game or playing for less than four minutes, and cannot cut a player’s ice time below four minutes in the middle of a game for any reason unless the captain must bench the player.

Team captains are responsible for managing ice time for each member of their team; referees cannot enforce ice time rules but may inform management of any issues that emerge.  If a player feels that they have been unjustly benched or has had their ice time mismanaged, they are encouraged to discuss the issue with their captain and should consult their division manager if no resolution can be reached.

Time of Arrival

Players who are present at the start of a game, or who arrive before the end of the 1st period, are guaranteed a minimum of four minutes of ice time.

Players who arrive any time between the 1st intermission, and the midway point of the 3rd period (i.e., at or before the 4:00 mark), are eligible to play in the remainder of the game but are not guaranteed any ice time.

If a player arrives any time after the midpoint of the 3rd period, they will not be eligible to participate in the rest of the game, including overtime.

Benched/Scratched Players

If a player has been benched, they must sit out of the current game for a length of time, to be decided by the team captain.  In many cases, a benching can last for the entire game and can be done regardless of whether or not the player is guaranteed any ice time.

Captains may bench a player for problems related to a player’s conduct or attitude toward their teammates, blatant disregard for team strategy, refusal to play in the position that they were assigned to, and similar issues.  A player cannot be given less ice time than they are guaranteed to have solely due to their in-game performance.

Players who have been scratched by their team captain will be ineligible to play in their next game.  Captains may elect to scratch a player for issues dealing with team conduct (i.e., leaving a game out of frustration, arguing with teammates in a hostile nature, disrespect toward captains or other teams, etc.), but cannot scratch players for in-game performance, poor  attendance, or for missing games.  Scratches are designed to allow captains a means of maintaining order within their team for incidents that may occur outside of the view of the rest of the league.

If a captain wishes to scratch a player, they must provide an explanation and speak with their division manager for approval.  When approved, the captain must notify the player that they have been scratched for their next game.  If problems escalate, then the captain should use their discretion to either seek approval to scratch the player again, or talk with management to pursue a more long-term solution.

Players may only be scratched for one game at a time.  If a player feels that they do not deserve to be scratched, they must discuss the matter with their division manager.

Player Status

The rules listed above apply to players who are rostered members of the teams involved in a particular game; different guidelines for playing time apply depending on the player’s status relative to the team, specifically dealing with substitutes and on-loan prospects.


If a team decides to use substitutes, then those players are eligible to play until a rostered member of the team arrives.  Once this player is ready to enter the game, the substitute must exit; thus, the amount of playing time that a sub receives is never guaranteed but will depend on when a rostered player becomes available.

To stay aligned with the rules for arrival time, substitutes cannot be replaced by players who attempt to enter the game with less than four minutes remaining in the 3rd period or in overtime.

On-Loan Prospects

If a team does not have enough rostered players available for a game, it has the options of asking for substitutes and/or calling in an on-loan prospect who was assigned to the team.  Captains may also allow their prospects to wait on the bench during games if a full squad is present, either to include them in the lineup or to keep them available to replace any players who are lost in the middle of a game.  In both of these cases, an on-loan prospect is not guaranteed ice time and may be given as much or as little time as the captain sees fit.

Teams are not required to dress any of their assigned prospects and may instead play shorthanded or use other substitutes; in doing so, captains must assess the risks involved in their decision.

Prospects cannot be placed into a game during overtime or after the midpoint of the 3rd period if the prospect was not present in uniform and on the bench beforehand.

3.2 - Rules & Guidelines for Season Drafts

The number of teams participating in a given season is based on the number of players entering the draft for that season, as well as projected player attendance and availability (full-time vs. part-time).

After the list of draft-eligible players has been finalized, management will decide how many teams will be formed.  This decision is made in a way that will strike a balance between forming as many teams as is feasible while ensuring that all teams have enough players to avoid any significant attendance issues and can put forward a full squad for most games.

Draft Format & Rules

Season drafts follow one of two formats:  full redrafts, or drafts with the option to retain players from the previous season (i.e., saves).  The format for each draft is decided by management during the offseason.

The number of teams to be included in the draft for each season is based on the number of players included on the draft list.  Teams may be added or subtracted from one season to the next for the sake of balance, even distribution of players, and to reduce the chance of attendance issues.

Draft captains are appointed for each team during the offseason; see Section 3.3 for further details regarding draft captains.

Draft order follows a pattern similar to that used by the NHL.  The first overall pick is awarded to the winner of the TB Series from the previous season, and will pick first in each subsequent round.  Cup champions from the previous season will have the final pick in each round.  Draft order for the remaining teams in each division is then based on their placement in the standings from the previous season, in order of lowest to highest.  Draft captains may only make their selections from the finalized draft list.

Draft picks for future seasons may not be included as part of any trade deal.

In a full redraft, all players who participated in the previous season, excluding draft captains, will be removed from their team and placed into the draft pool along with any new or returning players.

Rules regarding drafts with saves are listed below:

- Teams may hold a maximum of two (2) saves per season.

- Saves may only be applied toward players who ended the last season in good standing on that team's roster.  Additionally, saves may only be utilized for players who have completed an intention card for the next season.

- Teams that opt to utilize saves will sacrifice their opening round picks (1st round pick for one save, 1st & 2nd round picks for two saves).

- If a team vacates their captaincy in the offseason (i.e., the team captains and assistant captains either do not wish to draft for the next season, or are suspended, rendered inactive, or retire between seasons), then that team will not be able to use saves.

Partner Picks

Details regarding partner picks are listed below:

- Partners must indicate on their intention cards whether or not they wish to be picked separately or as a couple.

- Partner picks that are selected from the draft pool will count as one pick.

- Partnered saves will only cost a team its 1st round draft pick, but the team will not be allowed to have additional saves.

- Draft captains who wish to play with their partner may do so without sacrificing any draft picks, but may only utilize one save; this save will cost the team its 1st round pick.

- In the event that a set of partners plays on separate teams in the previous season but wishes to play together in the next season, if both teams wish to save each partner, then the pair will go to the team that was lower in the standings in the last season.

- Only one partnered pair may be drafted or retained per team; exceptions will apply if there are more partnered pairs than there are teams in a given season.

- Teams who make additional partner picks beyond the limit for the season will not be able to pick again for two rounds afterward.

Draft-Eligible Players & Intention Cards

Players must complete an intention card and send it to a member of management before the deadline in order to be included in the draft.  Intention cards that are received after the established deadline, or players who otherwise voice an interest in playing for the next season after the deadline passes, will not be included in the draft and must wait until the end of the preseason to be placed on a team.

Draft captains are not required to complete an intention card.

To be considered eligible for the draft, players must submit an intention card and cannot be under indefinite suspension.  In addition, they must meet at least one (1) of the following criteria:

1) Player has been indefinitely suspended from the league previously but has been granted permission by the commissioner to return to play.

2) Player is a prospect who has made sufficient progress and has been approved by management to enter the draft.

3) Player was rendered inactive via retirement or lack of attendance and has expressed a desire to return through the draft.

4) Player is a rookie or veteran who ended the previous season in good conduct standing and as an active member of a team.

3.3 - Captaincy

Captains fill a role that is vital to the operations of a team and for the league as a whole.  While not involved directly in the day-to-day operations of the league, captains work alongside management to address team needs while also ensuring that the league’s best interests remain a priority.  Thus, to be selected as a captain is to hold a position of considerable importance and honor, as well as a great degree of responsibility and devotion.  Above all else, captains should embody the principles outlined in the GOHA Mission and hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct.

All teams must have a designated captain responsible for the season draft, as well as a captain and assistant captains to organize and prepare the team for games during the season.  Each type of captain has their own set of requirements and responsibilities to fulfill, and are selected through different processes.

Selection & Captain Voting

Typically, the team captain from the previous season is first offered the chance to remain as captain; if the captain wishes to step down, then management will either offer the position to one of the team’s assistant captains, or will declare the spot to be vacant and will search for a player to take over as captain.  The selection process for new captains is to be determined each season by management.  If a captain or assistant captain is retained for the next season, then they are expected to take over the responsibilities of drafting their team.

Captains from the previous season should notify management no later than a few weeks before the season draft if they intend to either keep their position and draft for the team, or step down from captaincy.  Based on circumstances from the previous season, management may decide to vacate a team’s captaincy regardless of whether or not the team’s captain wishes to remain for the draft.

Each team must take a vote to decide who will serve as captain through the remainder of the season; these votes must be completed by the last day of the preseason.  The exact voting process is announced in-world at the beginning of each season.

Captain Requirements

To be eligible to hold a position in captaincy, players must meet the following basic requirements:

- Must be of active veteran or rookie status; inactive players and prospects cannot be considered for captaincy.
- Demonstrates a firm understanding of league rules & regulations with regards to player conduct and captain responsibilities.
- Must not be under conduct probation.
- Must not have received a conduct warning in the previous season or during the last offseason.

Captains must also possess certain personal qualities, which are taken into account by management when determining whether or not a player will have any chance of success if selected as a captain.  These qualities include:

- The ability to put the team and the league before oneself, and to act as an advocate for one’s team.
- Strong organizational skills, adaptability, and functional knowledge of the game mechanics and league rules.
- The ability to create strategies and prepare the team for each game, to be knowledgeable of player tendencies and positions, and to use this information to make adjustments on the fly during games.
- Able to lead by example and maintain a high level of both personal and team morale.
- Communicates effectively with both teammates, fellow captains, referees, and members of management.
- Establishes strong rapport with teammates and ensures that drama, gossip, and other internal and external obstacles do not interfere with the team’s ability to compete and cooperate at the highest possible level.

Captain Responsibilities

Draft Captain

- Make preparations ahead of the season draft, and be in attendance on the day of the draft.
- Determine whether or not to keep saves from the previous season, and decide which players will be saved (if applicable).
- Review intention cards and factor player attendance into drafting decisions.
- Communicate with players prior to the draft to gain more insight into their attendance for the season, preferred positions, chemistry with other players, and other details.
- Decide whether or not to continue captaincy throughout the season, and inform management of this decision before the beginning of the preseason.
- Carry on responsibilities of organizing and preparing the team through games during the preseason.

Team Captain

- Organize the team in preparation for each game, and develop strategies and lineups for each game.
- Ensure that all members of the team are kept up-to-date with the correct schedule.
- Maintain strong communication with teammates, and manage all affairs related to the team.
- Take all reasonable measures to uphold team morale and proper conduct of teammates; defuse conflicts within the team as best as possible, and consult with management for assistance.
- Maintain a high standard of conduct among all teammates; bench/scratch players as needed for displays of poor conduct, and utilize disciplinary waivers in unresolvable cases.
- Appoint one to two assistant captains, no later than one week after the start of the regular season.
- Serve as an advocate for their team, and send team concerns to management, either during weekly meetings or individually.
- Attend captain meetings and divisional meetings as best as possible.
- Gauge the status of the team to determine any weaknesses or needs, and initiate trades or seek placements to address them as needed.
- Manage ice time for all players on the team, ensuring that they stay in accordance with the rules for playing time.
- Schedule and organize team practices and meetings.

Captains are restricted from the following actions:

- Assigning co-captains.
- Suspending players from games or team activities.
- Scratching players for more than one game at a time, or without approval from management.
- Assigning a new captain if they are stepping down from their position.
- Trading themselves.
- Promoting activities within the team that act contrary to the GOHA Mission and conduct rules.
- Unjustly benching/scratching players, or pressuring players into staying out of a game.
- Coercing or enticing players from other teams into leaving their current team in order for the captain to acquire them.
- Seeking out or attempting to convince inactive players to return to the league with the intent of having those players be placed on their team.
- Colluding with players and/or other captains to forcibly delay or postpone games or overturn managerial decisions.
- Attempting to gather substitutes without consulting a referee, and contacting players to ask them to act as a sub with the intent of attempting to hand-pick players to play as substitutes.

Assistant Captain

- Schedules practices and organizes the team in the absence of the team captain.
- Assumes all game-time responsibilities that are otherwise handled by the team captain; only one assistant captain can be appointed as the acting captain for each game.
- Works in collaboration with the team captain to assess the status of the team and formulate strategies for each game.
- Must be prepared to take over leadership of the team, in the event of long-term absence of dismissal of the team captain.
- Attends captain meetings alongside or in the absence of the team captain.

While serving as the acting captain, assistant captains are not permitted to scratch players and should instead speak with their team captain when possible if they feel that a player should be scratched.  Additionally, assistants cannot negotiate or engage in any player transactions (i.e., trades, placements, waivers, etc.), and cannot be granted the authority to do so by their team captain.  Assistant captains are otherwise given the same restrictions as team captains.

Expectations Between Players & Captains

The relationship between a captain and the players they oversee on their team is symbiotic in the sense that each side complements and supports the other, and that both need each other in order to keep the team cohesive.  A captain cannot lead effectively without cooperation from their teammates, and a team cannot properly function without a captain to lead it responsibly.  As such, it is vital that players and captains come to a basic understanding of what to expect from one another with respect to gameplay and conduct within the team.

In addition to their other responsibilities, each captain is expected to maintain regular contact with their teammates and to keep their channels of communication open so that they can receive any concerns or input that their players may have.  Similarly, captains are expected to adhere to the values described in the league’s mission statement, and must make every effort to interact with their teammates in a calm, respectful manner.  With regards to gameplay, captains should have an understanding of the capabilities and preferred positions of each of their players, and should use this information to help put together lineups and strategies for the team.  Captains are also advised to seek input from their players when needed and to voice their expectations of the team and of each player before the season begins.

Players should have an expectation that their captain will be able to suitably handle their responsibilities to the team, and are encouraged to speak with a manager if there are serious concerns over their captain’s ability to lead.  While it is unrealistic to assume that every member of a team will get along with their captain, all players are nonetheless expected to act with some measure of respect toward the captain, the role that they occupy, and their decisions.  Each player must understand the process by which different conflicts are resolved, and must understand the difference between cooperating and arguing; players must not harass their captain, and should have an idea of when is the most appropriate time to bring up their concerns or raise questions.

While captains are responsible for understanding the positional strengths and weaknesses of their players, each player must not cling to their own expectations about where they will play and should instead work toward a compromise by realizing that situations may require them to take positions that they are not accustomed to.

Blatant disrespect toward the captain, or a player’s refusal to play in a position that the captain assigns them to, could leave the player subject to being reprimanded either at the team level (i.e., being benched/scratched by the captain, having ice time reduced, being placed on disciplinary waivers), or in more serious cases, through supplementary discipline via management.
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