NAIHL League Structure

Revised September 6, 2012























The purpose of this document is to provide a framework under which GMs can operate in the North American Internet Hockey League.

The goal of this league is to foster an environment where everyone can use their talents to build competitive fantasy hockey teams, build friendships, and have fun. First and foremost, this league is about fun and please keep this in mind at all times.
Here you will find most of the guidelines you will need to operate a franchise in this league. The league uses the SimonT Hockey Simulator.

The league uses the NAIHL website as the main vehicle for communication. All league members have a user account they are expected to use regularly to check e-mail, the forums, etc.

If you are unclear on any of the rules or guidelines, ask first and save trouble later. Where rules and guidelines are subject to interpretation, the interpretation determined by the Chairman of the Board, representing the League's Board of Directors is final.

All rules are subject to revision. Input from all GMs on these rules is welcome and encouraged.

Each owner is expected to treat all members of the NAIHL with respect, to respond to any and all trade requests, and to direct themselves toward the well-being and long term goals for their team.

Each owner is expected to act in an ethical manner at all times, and to have the best interests of the league in mind. It is not enough to observe the rules verbatim, but all owners must also observe the spirit of the rules.

Any GM who fails to behave in an ethical, respectful, and sportsmanlike manner will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the league. No harassing, insulting, or other inappropriate behaviour will be tolerated. No behavior which casts the league or other GMs in a negative way will be acceptable.

Any GM who feels he has received abusive treatment from any other GM is encouraged to contact the league executive.

As an owner you are required to answer ALL NAIHL email that you receive from league management, where a response is requested. There are several reasons for this. The first is common courtesy, the second is so that the League can continue to keep flowing forward and people aren’t left hanging. Your response doesn’t have to be long or detailed; it just has to be a response.

General managers are also required to reply to communications from other GMs, particularly PMs received on the league website. Failure by a GM to reply in a timely manner can result in disciplinary action.

Team owners are encouraged to write press releases, send lines, and make trades where needed. If an owner is going away or losing their internet access for any amount of time over seven days they must contact a member of the league executive and notify him of this.

Owners need to keep their teams out of debt. If a team runs out of money, then that owner could be subject to penalties, up to and including expulsion from the league. Financial help is available to clubs having problems.

The operations of the NAIHL are overseen by a Chairman and Board of Directors. There are four Directors. All Board members (including the Chairman) have an equal vote on matters affecting the league. Board members are also responsible for key functions such as maintaining the website, running the simulator, processing trades, running the drafts, mediating GM disputes, etc. The Chairman will direct Board members to undertake duties and projects as required.

The NAIHL would like each new GM to be successful and encourages them to become familiar with the league structure. To assist new GM’s, the league will take the following 3 steps:

1. If their fund balance is below $5-million, it will be adjusted up to $5-million.

2. Within the first 30 days of new management, one player can be released from his contract without paying any financial penalties.

3. The Chairman of the Board will appoint a Board member as a formal mentor to assist the new GM in learning new rules and assessing the current state of their franchise. During the 30-day mentoring period, all trades for that team would need to be approved by the appointed mentor prior to their posting and approval. In addition, the appointed mentor would not be allowed to trade with that GM during the 30 day mentoring period.

Following the completion of the previous seasons playoffs teams’ financial balances will be finalized.

Each teams Pro Payroll cannot exceed $50 million during the regular season or playoffs. Also there is a player salary cap of $8.8 million. No player at any time in the NAIHL can make more than this value. 

Any player earning any amount of salary can be placed on the farm team. For players earning less than $1-million per season, they are paid at a rate of 10% of what they would earn on the pro roster. For players earning $1-million or more per season, they earn their full salary. 
If a team’s payroll exceeds $50 million, the team will be fined the amount that they are over the cap, plus 3% of the team's Current Balance of cash, for every day they are over the cap.

Note that the league salary cap will increase to $59.4 million for the 2013-14 season.

This must be corrected as soon as possible, or additional penalties may be applied by the league, up to and including dismissal of the team's GM.

At the league's discretion, salary cap penalties may also be waived if the situation is warranted.

The salary cap is subject to change during the offseason, depending on financial conditions in the league. This will be announced in advance. Each team must be under the salary cap before the opening of the Waiver (Supplemental) Draft. Failure to do so will result in fines.

Teams with cash balances of less than $1-million that show a projected financial loss at anytime during a season will be forced to rectify the situation with all expediency.

The league will notify the club warning them of the seriousness of their financial situation and the club will be given a reasonable amount of time to stabilize their finances.

If this is not accomplished to the league’s satisfaction, additional penalties may be taken, up to and including dismissal of the team's GM.

The league also reserves the right to act in a situation where a cash balance of greater than $1-million is being maintained, but where the projected financial loss would be exceedingly great.

All player ratings will be based on the player’s NHL performance. They will be re-rated every off-season.

Players can play positions other than what they are listed at, but they will not play to their full potential when they play out of position. Player’s ages will be updated at the end of each season before the free agent signing period begins.

Players that retire in the NHL will retire from the NAIHL during next off-season. Players that suffer massive career ending injuries in real life will be removed from the NAIHL at the end of the year. We will not be creating players or altering player ratings. The only exception to this is in an emergency situation where, in order to continue with league operations, a player may be created to meet roster requirements on a team.

Teams are permitted to change the positions on players with no limit during the regular season. During playoffs teams may change positions freely. Players may change positions based on the following restrictions:
  • Wingers may switch freely between RW and LW

  • All other position changes must be supported with evidence. Currently the accepted sources for this are at Hockey Forecaster ( and

The NAIHL Entry Draft is held every year following the NHL Entry Draft. The NAIHL Entry Draft consists of 7 rounds. The first 3 rounds are mandatory for all GMs to participate. Participation in rounds 4 through 7 is not mandatory. Every team must have in its possession at all times at least two picks for the upcoming Entry Draft.

Teams are allowed to trade their picks, but must always carry at least two draft picks, whether it is one of their original picks, or a pick acquired from another club. Draft picks may only be traded for the upcoming season.

Teams will draft in reverse order of finish, with the exception of the worst 5 teams. A Draft Lottery will be held prior to the draft, which will determine where each of the worst 5 teams will draft.

The team finishing with the worst record will receive 5 chances to draft first, the 2nd worst team will have 4 chances to draft first, and so on. A drawing will determine which team drafts first, second, etc.

The NAIHL uses the List Randomizer, available at The list randomizer is used to produce a random list, based on the criteria above. Obviously, teams with more entries have a greater chance of landing the first pick.

Each team's highest ranking entry is used, and the other entries for that team are thrown out.

Each team gets to pick from any NHL club. Eligible players will be limited to those players who have been drafted in the NHL; including players taken during that summer’s June NHL draft, but are not in the NAIHL on a roster or prospect list.

Any player who has already played in the NHL and is not on an NAIHL roster or prospect list can not be selected in the entry draft. These players will be available at a later date in a dispersal draft.

Any players drafted become permanent property of the team drafting them, and are placed on their Prospects list. While the Entry Draft is under way, picks for the draft being conducted may be traded. The first 3 rounds of the draft are conducted through the NAIHL Forum on the NAIHL website. Each team has 24 hours to make a selection when it is their turn to select. Teams not making a selection within the 24 hour period will be awarded a player from the corresponding selection of the following round in the NHL draft. Rounds 4-7 will be conducted using e-mail, with each GM who wishes to participate sending a list of possible selections to a designated Board member. The results for these rounds will then be published on the NAIHL website.

Drafted players must be signed within the league designated period (announced as part of the offseason activities) as follows:

  • 1st Round picks: $1,050,000
  • 2nd Round picks: $750,000
  • All other rounds: $525,000
Contracts are based on the NHL round the player was drafted in.

Draft picks not signed within the designated period will have their salaries set to a value of $1,111,111 with a 1 year contract length. 

All players not resigned during the post-season resigning period will become Free Agents.

Each team must place a qualifying offer to their player if they want to retain Restricted Free Agent status to them. That means that the team must offer the player the mandatory raise of 10% from the year before.

If the team does not do that, then the player will become an Unrestricted Free Agent and team will lose all rights to the player. All players of the age of 29 and over will automatically become Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs), unless they are re-signed as indicated below.

The age for UFAs will be lowered to 28 for the 2013 season.

Unsigned UFAs cannot be traded, and UFAs that are re-signed and then traded count against the signing team's 6-year contract re-signing cap, and counts against their free agency priority list (i.e., if a team re-signs 2 pending UFAs, then the highest priority they can assign to any free agent they bid on is 3).

When the free agency period starts, each team can go ahead and bid on the player(s) that they wish.

There is only one round of bidding using the Free Agent Bid Form. The new contract calculator will determine the free agents choice using a formula that takes into account the length and value of the contract as well as:

  • Depth Chart Position

  • Did your team make the playoffs last season?

  • Priority of signing this Free Agent

  • Your coach's LD rating
For Restricted Free Agents where a qualifying offer was made, if the owning team DOES NOT have the highest bid after the above procedure is completed, they will be given the option of matching the highest bid. If they do so, the team will retain the player’s rights.

Otherwise they will be compensated with one year of the player’s new salary.
(i.e., if a team bids a player $5-million for 3 years they will have to pay the team owning his rights $5-million.)

Note: If a team cannot afford to pay the compensation, they will be fined an amount to be determined, and the player will go to the team with the next best offer.

Players who are not bid on in the free agency process described above can be signed at any time for the league minimum ($525,000 per season), during a time period directed by the Chairman of the Board.

The owning teams can re-sign players before the signing deadline announced by the league (and thus avoid free agency for those players) by using the NAIHL Contract Calculator and Submission Form. Players signed using this method must be signed to contracts between 1 and 3 years in length.

Each team will be allowed to resign their own potential Unrestricted Free Agents, but will be limited to 6 years of contracts. This means that a team could sign two Unrestricted Free Agents to two 3 year contracts, or 3 Unrestricted Free Agents to three 2 year contracts. The combined contract years for a team's own Unrestricted Free Agents cannot exceed 6 years.

When re-signing or signing an Unrestricted Free Agent or Restricted Free Agent, a team, depending on where they finished in the previous season, has the option of paying 50% of one year’s salary for a signing bonus, or increasing the player’s salary by 20% extra of the new salary. Teams who were NOT playoff teams in the previous season may pay bonuses using either the 50% of one year’s salary, or the 20% extra of the new salary. Teams who were in the playoffs in the previous season may only pay bonuses using the one year’s salary option.

The maximum contract length is 3 years.

The minimum salary is $525,000 per season.

Teams will be able to sign one pending free agent, regardless of age, to a 10 year contract. If that player is scheduled to be a UFA, no other pending UFAs can be re-signed. The 10 year contract is based on the following chart:

Age 29 or 30+$8,000,000
Age 27-28$7,250,000
Age 25-26$6,500,000
Age 23-24$5,750,000
Age 21-22$5,000,000

All teams must meet the following Pro roster requirements at all times; 3 LW, 3 C, 3 RW, 6 D, 2 G, and a total of at least 19 players on the Pro roster. At no time may a team exceed 50 players on the combined Pro and Farm rosters.

All teams must also have at least 25 players on the team including farm team. 

If a team fails to comply with roster regulations they have 48 hours to correct the situation after that there best overall rated player will be suspended with pay, until they once again follow roster regulations. The league may also, at its discretion, issue fines.

Any player who is 24 years old or older, and has played at least 10 games during the season in the NAIHL will be placed on waivers if a team sends him down to the farm team.

Teams have 48 hours to enter a claim once a player is placed on the waiver list. The lowest rated team in the league standings (as of the date and time the player is waived) to enter a claim for a player is awarded that players rights. A player claimed must be placed on the Pro Roster or he will be forced to clear waivers once again.

A team making a successful claim goes to the bottom of the list until another waiver is made by another team, then reverts to their regular position in the waiver claim order. Disputes on waiver claims can be reported to the Chairman of the Board, who will appoint an Arbitrator. The decision of that Arbitrator is final.
If a player is inadvertently placed on waivers, and the waiving GM wishes to pull the player back from waivers, the GM has the 48 hour waiver period to advise any member of the Board of Directors that he wishes to recall the player from waivers. The player will then be placed back on the GM's roster, and the GM will be penalized his lowest available draft pick for the upcoming NAIHL Draft, which will be awarded to the team that has been awarded the waiver claim of the player.  If the GM cannot give up any picks without leaving him short of the minimum draft pick requirements, then the GM will have to pay $1-million in compensation to the team that has been awarded the waiver claim of the player. The waiving GM only has the 48 hour waiver period to act. After this period has expired, he is no longer entitled to any action or compensation regarding the waived player.

For a player to be released he is first sent to the minors, which will allow the GM to place him on waivers (within the STHS client) at his current salary. Waiver rules then apply. If the player is claimed off waivers by another team, that team assumes his current remaining contract, and the team that released the player is under no further financial obligation. If the player passes through waivers unclaimed, then he must be immediately bought out by the team that released him.

Any player bought out by a team will cost that team 40% of the remaining portion of that player’s contract. Players in the last year of their contracts can be bought out, but at the cost of 50% of that player’s remaining season salary. Once the buyout has been completed, the player then becomes a free agent. During the season, the free agent player may be signed by any team. The first team to notify the league that they are offering a new contract to the free agent player will be awarded the player. During the off season, the free agent player is placed in the free agent pool, or unassigned players pool if the release occurs after the free agent period.

During the post season resigning period and prior to free agency, each team will be allowed to release one player still under contract to enter the free agency pool and not payoff the remainder of the contract. If that player played in 20 or more NHL games, you will be excluded from bidding on free agents that off-season. If that player played in less than 20 NHL games, you can bid on free agents.

A team owns players listed on the their Pro roster, Farm roster, or Prospect list. The team retains those rights, regardless of what NHL organization the player ends up with, until the NAIHL team trades, waives, or releases the player. Players can be obtained via trade, as a prospect, or draft selection.

Players who debut in the NHL and were not drafted by an NAIHL team are not added to any club’s prospect list. Instead, these players are entered into a Dispersal Draft after free agency and prior to the pre-season.

It is the GMs responsibility to have any unwanted players removed from his prospect list. If a player has played for multiple years in Europe or the minor leagues he will stay on your prospect list until the GM notifies the league to have these players removed. Once a player has been removed from a team's prospect list at the request of a GM, that team gives up all rights to the player.

Should a player return to the NHL following his removal from a prospect list he will be placed in the dispersal draft as well.

An owner can trade players, draft picks, money, and future considerations. Both teams must confirm all trades using the NAIHL Trade Submission Form, found in the Members section. A trade will not occur until this happens.

In the event of a conflict between two GMs over a trade, the Chairman will appoint a GM or GMs (normally members of the league executive) to review the trade. The decision of this trade review will be binding. The League will also review trades if there is reason to suspect any unsportsmanlike activity is taking place.

Additionally, the Chairman of the Board will appoint a trade review of any trade that results in complaints from multiple GMs, where those GMs feel the trade is lopsided. Formal written complaints must be received by the Chairman of the Board or Board of Directors; in the form of e-mails, or PMs on the league website (complaints over instant messaging software are not valid).

All rosters will be frozen following completion of games played on day 120.

GMs may not trade draft picks beyond the current season and money sums greater than $3-million. Teams who make a trade where cash is involved are prohibited from making another trade within 60 days, where cash involved would exceed $3 million combined in the two trades.

As has been stressed previously, the primary objective of this league is fun. Towards this end, the League takes a dim view of any harassing, insulting, or other unsportsmanlike activities by GMs in matters of trades, trade negotiations, or other interactions. GMs are advised to be courteous at all times in trade negotiations, including keeping other GMs who are simultaneously involved in negotiations apprised of whether they have completed a deal with another GM.

GMs who engage in unsportsmanlike activity are subject to penalties that could include expulsion from the league.

All playoff games will be played on a conference basis on alternating nights. Each succeeding round will begin 2 days after what would have been the date of the seventh game of the previous round. Rest days corresponding to days off in the schedule will be simmed between games.

Financial aid is available from the league for teams meeting the following conditions:
  • Teams with regular season record below 0.400 win percentage get $4-million in financial aid.

  • Teams with regular season record below 0.300 win percentage get $6-million in financial aid.

  • Teams with regular season record below 0.200 win percentage get $9-million in financial aid.
Off season awards and the money they will earn for their respective teams is as follows:

  • $500,000 for each division winner.

  • $500,000 for each of the two regular season conference leaders.

  • $1,000,000 for winning a conference final.

  • $2,000,000 for winning the Stanley Cup.
In addition all teams will receive about 75% of the gate receipts for all playoff games (players salaries are not paid in post-season).

Teams can adjust their ticket prices at the start the season and again at the 20 and 40 game marks.

It is possible for teams to expand the capacity of their arenas, thus generating additional revenue, using the following guidelines:
  • If the arena has up to 15,000 seats, every new costs $1,500

  • If the arena has 15,000-17,500 seats, every new costs $2,500

  • If the arena has 17,500-20,000 seats, every new costs $5,000

  • If the arena has 20,000-25,000 seats, every new costs $8,000

  • If the arena has greater than 25,000 seats, every new costs $12,000
Example: A team has an arena with 14,000 seats and they would like to expand.
  • Expanding to 15,000 would cost 1,000 x 1,000 =1,000,000
  • Expanding to 25,000 would cost 1,000 x 1,000 + 2,500 x 2,500 + 2,500 x 5,000 + 5,000 x 8,000=59,750,000

Below is a breakdown of the ratings STHS uses.

Roster Page - Skaters - Full Ratings

CK = Checking
FG = Fighting
DI = Discipline
SK = Skating
ST = Strength
DU = Durability
PH = Puck Handling
FO = Face Offs
PA = Passing
SC = Scoring
DF = Defense
EX = Experience
LD = Leadership
MO = Morale
PO = Potential
OV = Overall

Roster Page - Skaters - Reduced Ratings

IT = Intensity --> Checking / Fighting / Discipline
PY = Physique --> Skating / Strength / Durability
PC = Puck Control --> Puck Handling / Face Offs / Passing
SC = Scoring --> Scoring
DF = Defense --> Defense
ME = Mental --> Experience / Leadership / Morale
PO = Potential --> Potential
OV = Overall --> Overall

Players Stats

GP = Games Played
G = Goals
A = Assists
P = Points
+/- = Plus/Minus
PIM = Penalty Minutes
HIT = Hits
HTT = Hit Received
SHT = Shots
SHT% = Shooting Percentage
SB = Shots Blocked
PP = Power Play Goals
SH = Shorthanded Goals
GW = Game Winning Goals
GT = Game Tying Goals
EG = Empty Net Goals
HT = Hat Tricks
MP = Minutes Played
P/20 = Points per 20 Minutes
FO% = Face off Percentage
FOT = Face offs Taken
PSG = Penalty Shot Goals
PSS = Penalty Shots Taken
GS = Current Goal Scoring Streak
PS = Current Point Scoring Steak
WG = Current Goal Scoring Slump
WP = Current Point Scoring Slump

Roster Page - Goalies - Full Ratings

SK = Skating
DU = Durability
ST = Strength
SZ = Size
AG = Agility
RB = Rebound Control
SC = Style Control
HS = Hand Speed
RT = Reaction Time
EX = Experience
LD = Leadership
MO = Morale
PO = Potential
OV = Overall

Roster Page - Goalies - Reduced Ratings

PH = Physique --> Skating / Durability / Strength / Size / Agility
RB = Rebound Control --> Rebound Control
SC = Style Control --> Style Control
HS = Hand Speed --> Hand Speed
RT = Reaction Time --> Reaction Time
ME = Mental --> Experience / Leadership / Morale
PO = Potential --> Potential
OV = Overall --> Overall

Goalies Stats

GP = Games Played
W = Wins
L = Losses
OTL = Overtime Losses
PCT = Save Percentage
AVE = Goals Against Average
MP = Minutes Played
PIM = Penalty Minutes
SO = Shootout
GA = Goals Against
SA = Shots Against
A = Assists
EG = Empty net Goals
PS% = Penalty Shots Save %
PSA = Penalty Shots Against

Coach Ratings

PH = Physical
DF = Defense
OF = Offense
PD = Player Discipline
EX = Experience
LD = Leadership
PO = Potential

Only coaches who coached in the NHL in the previous season will be eligible to coach in the NAIHL. NAIHL ratings for eligible coaches will be determined each off-season based on their performance in the previous NHL season.

All coaches of NAIHL farm teams will be assigned a generic rating.

Teams will have to buy out the remainder of the coach's contract if the coach is fired. For instance, if the coach has three years remaining on a contact at $1-million per season, the NAIHL team's cash holdings will be reduced by $3-million (3 seasons x $1million) upon firing to reflect the fact the team is obligated to pay that amount to the coach.

Upon completion of a contact, GMs have the option of resigning their coach:

- coaches making less that $1 million season receive 15 percent increase.
- coaches making more that $1 million receive 10 per cent increase

There will be a coach's free agency to fill all vacant coaching positions in every off-season. Ideally, this will be held between the start of the entry draft and the start of free agency.

Prior to entry draft, teams will be required to state whether its coach will return for the following season.  If a team hasn't fired its coach by the start of the entry draft, it is commited to starting the following season with that coach  If a team fires its coach prior to the entry draft it will be eligible to participate in coaching free agency.

If a team chooses not to resign its coach prior to the entry draft it will be eligible to participate in coaching free agency.  If a team loses its coach because he did not receive a rating after being idle in the NHL the previous season, the team will also be eligible for coaching free agency.
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