Alternate Universe Hockey League Rules

SECTION I: GENERAL/SETUP

Simulation Engine: AUHL will always use the most recent version of Action!PC Sports Hockey. In such cases as when the new version of the game is released during the middle of an AUHL season, the league will upgrade at the conclusion of the season. Ownership of the current version of APC Hockey is required for membership in AUHL.

Initial League Alignment: AUHL will cover both the NHL and the WHA. The initial alignment of the league will follow the alternate history as laid out in AUHL: The Backstory on the AUHL website. Specifically, the NHL alignment will be exactly that as of the 1971-72 NHL season (ie, no expansion to Atlanta or Long Island, NY). The initial alignment of the WHA will be as follows. EAST: Atlanta Flames, Cleveland Crusaders, New England Whalers, New York Islanders, and Quebec Nordiques. WEST: Alberta Oilers, Houston Aeros, Los Angeles Sharks, Minnesota Fighting Saints and Winnipeg Jets.

Initial Player Dispersal: The following rules will determine where players begin their AUHL careers:

  • The NHL teams will consist of their actual rosters as of the start of the 1972-73 plus any players lost in the historical expansion draft to the Flames and Islanders who previously had been the property of the NHL club in question. For example, the Montreal Canadiens held the rights to goalie Phil Myre who was drafted by the Flames. In AUHL, Myre will be the property of the Canadiens at league start.
  • All 1972-73 Islander/Flame players who were 1972 amateur draftees will be drafted by the 14 other NHL clubs immediately prior to the start of the league using the historical 1972 draft order minus Atlanta & NYI: Vancouver, Los Angeles, Buffalo, California, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit, Toronto, Minnesota, Chicago, Montreal, New York and Boston.
  • The WHA player pool will be comprised of those players who played in the WHA in 1972-73. Each of the 10 WHA teams may pre-select five players from their club's actual 1972-73 roster. In the case of Atlanta, the club will have rights to the players of the 1972-73 Philadelphia Blazers, while the New York Islanders will have rights to the players of the 1972-73 New York Raiders. All players from the Chicago Cougars and Ottawa Nationals will be placed in the draft pool with all players who were not pre-selected and the league will hold a dispersal draft for these players. The draft order will be the actual 1972-73 WHA order of finish with Atlanta slotted in Philadelphia's place. That order is: New York, Quebec, Atlanta, Alberta, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Houston, Cleveland, Winnipeg and New England.

League GMs: Each GM can elect to run a team in both the NHL and WHA or choose to run only one club. The commissioner will not run any one team but will rather handle any un-owned teams and be responsible for autoplaying and games that are not submitted by the block deadline by that team's GM.

GM Participation: GMs can elect to play their own home games and submit to the commissioner, or play as a GM only and allow the commissioner to play the games centrally. This is done to allow the maximum amount of flexibility for interested people to participate in AUHL.

 

SECTION II: PLAYERS

Roster Size: Each team may have no more than 24 players on the roster at any time. Of these 24, only 18 skaters and 2 goalies may be active for each game. Players may move freely between active and scratch during the season.

Player Retention: All teams, both NHL and WHA, may keep up to 14 players each season as long as the player did not switch leagues in real-life. If a player moved from the NHL to the WHA, he can not be kept by his NHL team but will be added to the WHA's draft pool for that season. If a player moved from the WHA to the NHL, two things may happen: 1 - if the player had never played in the NHL before, he is a free agent and goes into the draft pool; 2) if the player had previously played in the NHL, his NHL team's GM may elect to reclaim him as one of his 14 "keepers." The lone exception to this is in the merger season - when the merger occurs all players will be eligible to be kept by their teams regardless of prior NHL/WHA experience.

Retention Limitations: GMs are limited in the number of players they can keep within their 14-man list. No more than 1 goalie can be protected UNLESS both goalies' total games played in the upcoming season is less than 80 games. Similarly GMs can not keep more than 4 players at any forward (C, LW or RW) position or more than 6 total defensemen. For positional purposes, the primary position listed on the APC Hockey roster disk is considered to the player's position. 

"Uncarded" Player Retention: Any player who missed a season in real life may be kept on the inactive list by his GM. This player does NOT count against the 14 man limit in seasons in which he is inactive. Once the player returns, he will count against the 14 player limit.

Yearly League-specific Player Pool: Each year the NHL and WHA player pools will be comprised only of players who played in the respective league in that season. There will be no ahistoric player crossovers - for example, Bobby Orr will never be in the WHA player pool and Bobby Hull will never appear in the NHL pool while the WHA remains active. In the few cases where players played in both leagues in the same season, the player can be drafted in both leagues but can be active in each league only in the time period in which he was actually in that league in real life.

 

SECTION III: DRAFT

Annual Draft: Prior to each season, both leagues will hold drafts for all unprotected players and that year's incoming rookies. The draft will last 9 rounds with any remaining players left being free agents who can be picked up during the season by any team within that league.

Lottery Round: The first round of the draft in both leagues will be a lottery round and the order of selection will be determined prior to the season (so 1973's first round order will be determined BEFORE the 1972-73 season is played). All league members will be assigned a state lottery game whose winning number on a specified date will be used to determine where the team picks in the draft's first round. Therefore all teams have an equal shot at the #1 overall pick - and the first round order is known before the season is played. This can be used for trade purposes.

15th Keeper: All teams whose lottery number places them in the 2nd half of the lottery round (picks 6-10 in a 10-team WHA and 8-14 in a 14-team NHL for the first season) will be permitted to keep a 15th player prior to the start of the draft. The other teams will be allowed to reclaim a 15th player at the end of the first round as long as 1) the player was part of their team the previous season and 2) the player was not drafted in the just completed first round.

Remainder of the Draft: Rounds 2-9 of the annual draft will follow the reverse order of finish of the previous season with the worst team picking first and the league champion last, even if the champion did not have the league's best regular-season record. In cases where the team with the league's best record does not win the Cup, that team will pick next-to-last in rounds 2-9.

 

SECTION IV: LEAGUE ALIGNMENT/EXPANSION/RELOCATION

Merger: At some point the NHL and WHA will merge. This may or may not be the actual historic year of 1979-80, but could come as early as 1977-78 or could come later (though that is unlikely). Depending on the makeup of the leagues at the time, the specific clubs who will be absorbed into the NHL can not be predicted. 

Expansion: Expansion is likely in both leagues, though to no more than 12 in the WHA or 18 in the NHL. Expansion can occur in any given season, provided there were enough actual teams in the combined NHL/WHA to support it. In no event will AUHL allow either league to expand to a point where there are not enough players in that league's pool to cover the expansion. 

Relocation: Each year nearly every club in both leagues will be graded and that grade will determine if the club is a candidate for either relocation or contraction. Note that the "Original Six" NHL clubs: Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and the NY Rangers are exempt from relocation/contraction. All other clubs are eligible. Should a club's grade determine that the club is eligible to be relocated, the GM will have the option of moving the team to an open city that hosted an NHL or WHA club, with the club being renamed accordingly. In most cases, moving a team to a city that already has a club in the other league will not be permitted. 

Contraction: Clubs with poor grades will be candidates for contraction. Contraction means removal from the league and the dispersal of the clubs' players amongst the other teams in the league. Most contractions will be offset with new "expansion" teams to maintain the league size, though this will not always be the case.

Club Grading: Each season a club's performance will be used to determine a score that will be used in deciding if a team is a candidate for contraction or relocation. Factors impacting the grade will include the club's longevity in the league (hence the reason the Original Six will never be eligible to move or contract) and weighted scores reflecting their on-ice success over the recent past. Essentially, newer teams with consistently poor performance will be more likely to get the axe than longer-tenured clubs who may struggle. This makes the WHA teams more vulnerable as well as newer NHL teams - think of the historical struggles of the California Golden Seals/Cleveland Barons and the relocations of the Kansas City Scouts/Colorado Rockies/New Jersey Devils as what the rule will be trying to emulate. MORE DETAILS ON THE MECHANICS OF THIS ARE TO COME.

 

SECTION V: GAME PLAY & REPORTING

Season Length: Both the NHL and WHA will follow historical season lengths, divisional formats and schedules (whenever possible). 

Session/Block Length: Each session (or block) of the AUHL season will cover three weeks of the NHL/WHA season (measured Sunday to Saturday) and cover two weeks of real-time. 

GM Play: Each GM will play his own home games against computer coach profiles provided by the other GMs with the neutral ice setting ON.

Reporting: When a GM is finished with his games for a block, he should provide a short recap of each game posted to the league forum. He should also provide one export file containing the results of all his team's games for that block, named in the following manner: TM-Block-#.HKX (so Montreal's first block results filename would be MON-Block-1.HKX). This file is to be emailed to the commissioner prior to the block deadline. Missing the deadline means your games will be autoplayed.

Player Usage: Players are limited to their actual games played with in-game penalties scaling up in severity for over-usage: MILD at 105%, MODERATE at 115% and MAJOR at 125%.

Game Rules: Appropriate rules for the era for each league will be in use (such as no OT in the NHL)

Injuries: Injuries are off