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The following are the OCHL Keeper League Rules.
Date: January 6, 2012
Modified: February 7, 2015 (with rule amendments from 2013 and 2014 off-seasons implemented)


If for any reason the league becomes unfair or unbalanced, some league rules may be modified to encourage enjoyment of the league by all members. If significant rule changes are made, league members who wish to leave the league will be offered a window to leave the league at a discounted buyout fee. This discount will depend on the circumstance of the rule change and will be determined by the league BOD.


League Fee

2013-14 Season: $75 2014-2018 Season: $100 2018: $125

Prize Distribution

1st Place: $500
2nd Place: $200
Presidents' Trophy: $150
Rotisserie Award: $150

Note: The Presidents' Trophy is awarded to the team finishing 1st in the regular season standings. In the case of a tie, the winner will be selected based on the ESPN tie-breaking procedure.

Last Place

The last place team from the previous season is awarded the Cory Osmond Award. In addition to this, they are obligated to buy pizza on draft night for the following season.

Team Ownership

Every member of the league will pay the league fee into the prize pool on a yearly basis. To maintain ownership of their team, this must be paid to the Commissioner by the completion of Week 1 of the season. Late Fees may be applied to members that do not submit payment within a timely manner.


- The deadline for payment of the league fee is draft day. If the league fee is not paid on draft day by midnight (12:00am EST), then an automatic $10 fine will incur. An additional $10 fine will be charged for every additional month that the fee is late.
- Not attending draft, without legitimate reason: $25
- Failing to participate in a league vote after reasonable notification: $5
- Not dressing a complete roster: $5 per offense, $10 per offense in final 5 weeks of the season

Buyout Fee

The OCHL keeper league is designed to be a commitment by all GMs for the life of the league. By becoming a member of the league, every owner also agrees to pay a buyout fee if they wish to leave the league. If the owner leaves during the offseason, this fee will be in the value of the previous season fee. If the owner leaves anytime during the season, the buyout fee will be in the value of the current season fee. This will be in place to deter team owners from abandoning their team after bringing the quality of the team down. All team owners are considered responsible for their team and its quality. While the league will attempt to overrule any trades that completely damage the quality of a team, team owners are solely responsible for the state and quality of their team.

If the owner wishing to leave the league is able to find someone to take over the team, the buyout fee may be lowered. The league BOD will convene and determine the suitability of the replacement owner and whether the turnover of ownership will affect the league. In standard cases as long as the transfer of ownership is approved, the buyout fee will be lowered to half. The suitability of a replacement owner will be evaluated based on how well the league members know the new owner, the potential longevity of the person as an owner and the owner’s demonstration of hockey knowledge. In special circumstances, where the new owner is deemed to present no complication during the turnover and is considered an equal or better replacement to the current owner, the buyout fee will be waived completely. This will only be exercised in very rare circumstances.

League Format

The league is run using ESPN Fantasy Hockey.


Centers: 2
Left Wing: 2
Right Wing: 2
Defense: 4
Goalies: 2 (maximum 3 on roster)
Utility: 2
Forward: 2
Bench: 5
IR: 2

Roster Changes

Beginning with the 2014-15 season, the OCHL now uses Daily Roster changes and processes trades daily. However, free agent acquisitions follow the FAAB process, which runs 2 times weekly. (Monday and Wednesday). A request may be made to add another FAAB for a certain week while will be up to the commissioner for final a decision.

Point Scoring

Goals (G): 1
Assists (A): 1
Plus/minus (+/-): 0.2
Game-Winning Goals (GWG): 1
Hits (HIT): 0.1
Blocked Shots (BLK) : 0.1
Power Play Points (PPP): 0.5
Short Handed Points (SHP): 1

Wins (W): 3.5
Losses (L): -0.5
Goals Against (GA): -0.8
Saves (SV): 0.1
Shutouts (SO): 2


Lineups lock before the first game every day. Monday. Next week’s lineup can be modified in advance. Any transactions will reflect in the roster effective immediately.

Salary Cap

A salary cap is not in effect. If an interest in one is expressed by a large number of owners in the future, the BOD will determine its feasibility and consider it for implementation in the league.


The tiebreaker process enabled within the ESPN settings is set to Total Fantasy Points. If two teams tie in the standings, the tiebreaker will be decided by the team with more fantasy points over the course of the regular season. In the rare occurrence that two teams would potentially tie in both the standings, and in fantasy points, head-to-head records would be the second tiebreaker, followed by the standard ESPN tiebreaker conditions.

Playoff Reseeding

In the 2013 off-season, the GMs passed a rule that all playoff brackets moving forward would be reseeded every round. Previously, the OCHL playoff system followed a natural bracket structure, and not the typical reseeding that the NHL uses. The #1 team in the standings faces the winner of the #3 and #6 matchup and the #2 team in the standings faces the winner of the #4 and #5 matchup. If the #3 team advances into the semifinals, the top team has a tougher opponent in the semifinals than the #2 team has. With the updated rule, the playoffs are reseeded in the 2nd round, with the #1 team playing the lowest advancing seed, and the #2 team playing the other team.


The following rules describe the keeper logistics of the league. Keeper selections were a new addition to the OCHL starting with the 2009-10 season.

Keeper Rules

At a specified point in the offseason, every team owner will select a set of players from the previous season’s team to keep for the following season. Every team will be allowed to keep:
four (4) roster players;
- one of which must be a defenseman,
- a maximum of one goalie.
i.e. 4 players, maximum 1 goalie, minimum 1 defenseman.

Keepers must be selected at least two weeks before the draft. A firm deadline will be set and communicated on a yearly basis. Any team that does not set their keepers on time will lose 1 keeper slot per day late. The team can also choose the alternative of a $10 fine for every day that they are late.

Defunct Keeper Players

If a player leaves the NHL for the KHL, any other league or for retirement, he will remain as conditional property of his last OCHL team for 3 years from the date he left the NHL. If that player returns to the NHL before those 3 years expire, his OCHL team will have the option of replacing one of their keepers from the previous keeper selection process with the returning player (following all keeper positional rules). If the team does not wish to lose one of their previous keepers, they can elect to take a compensation draft pick in the following year’s draft. This compensation pick can be no higher than an 8th round pick, and may be lower or nothing. The BOD will determine the level of the compensation pick based on the impact the player’s departure had on the team.

For instance, after the 2009-10 season, Evgeni Nabokov left the NHL for the KHL. Planning to keep Nabokov, the Quebec Nordiques were left without a true keeper goaltender for the following season. They had the option of keeping a forward instead or trying to obtain a goalie through trade. When Nabokov returned to the NHL later that season, the Nordiques would have been given the opportunity to drop one of their keepers in favour of Nabokov, or accept a compensation pick. Since Nabokov was with all certainty going to be a keeper for the Nordiques, the Nordiques’ compensation pick would have been a 2011 8th round pick. Note: this is a new rule. At the time of the Nabokov situation, a rule was not in place and so this did not apply to the Nabokov situation.


Draft Order

Draft Order - The draft order will be determined in the following order:
- OCHL Cup winner will select 8th
- OCHL runner-up (loser in the finals) will select 7th
- OCHL 3rd place winner will select 6th
- Out of the remaining 5 teams, the team with the best record (most points) in the regular season will select 5th
- A lottery will be held for picks 1 through 4

Draft Lottery

The draft lottery will be held with 4 teams in contention. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd place teams are not included in the lottery, and the highest seeded team of the remaining 5 teams is also not included. Of the four teams in the lottery, the number of balls in the lottery per team is:
- 8th place: 25 balls (50%)
- 7th place: 15 balls (30%)
- 6th place: 5 balls (10%)
- 5th place: 5 ball (10%)

Each team in the lottery can only move up or down a maximum of two spots from their ranking. So the 8th place team can pick no lower than 3rd, and the 5th place team can pick no higher than 2nd. So, if the 8th place team is not picked either 1st or 2nd, they will automatically get 3rd pick. If the 5th place team is selected 1st in the lottery, they will receive 2nd overall, and another ball will be picked for 1st overall. The draft lottery will only apply for the 1st round of the draft order.

Draft Type

The first five rounds of the draft are in a standard draft format and not snake. For the first round of the draft, the order will be based on the draft lottery. Rounds 2 through 5 will be the same order as round 1 without the Draft Lottery adjustment. This will model the NHL system of where the weaker teams are allowed to improve through the draft while the strong teams retain their core via the keeper rules. In the 6th round, the snake order system will begin; the OCHL Cup winning team will have 1st pick in the 6th round.

Draft Pool

All non-keeper players that have been drafted or are signed by an NHL team are eligible to be drafted.

Draft Logistics

Selection Time

Each team will have three (3) minutes per draft selection. If time expires, the team will automatically receive the top player available according to ESPN rankings for the first offense. If a team commits a time offense more than three (3) times in a draft, they will forfeit their pick for every time offense after the third.


Each team will have two (2) time-outs per draft. This will pause the draft and all pick timers for 5 minutes. These timers are intended to be used to open up time for trade discussions.



Trades can be made at any point in the regular season until the trade deadline. The date of the trade deadline is specified at the beginning of every season. After the trade deadline, no trades can be made again until after the OCHL playoffs have completed.

Trades can include Roster Players, Draft Picks and Future Considerations. All future considerations must be explicitly communicated to the commissioner by both trading parties to confirm agreement. No other assets can be included in deals; keeper slots, cash, waiver position, etc are not eligible for trade.

Upon completion of the OCHL playoffs, teams can make trades again involving the rights to players, draft picks, prospects and future considerations. However, teams will still only be able to keep 5 players (according to Keeper rules) going into the following season, regardless of trades made.

Offline Trades

GMs negotiating a trade are able to submit the trade by in person or via email/call/text message to the Commissioner. Once the Commissioner receives communication from both sides, the deal would be considered final and would be processed by the commissioner at the earliest possible opportunity.

This allows GMs to complete trades and have those trades honoured when accessing the pool is not possible.

Trade Vetoes

A trade will be vetoed only in extremely rare circumstances. GMs are responsible for the state of their own teams and the league will not actively police trades. However, if a GM’s commitment to the league is questionable and they make trades that significantly depreciate the value of their team, then a trade review can be requested by a BOD member. If a non-BOD member of the league would like a trade reviewed, they can submit a request to the BOD.

The BOD will vote to either veto or allow the trade. A unanimous vote among the BOD is required to veto a trade. If one (or more) of the BOD members is involved in the trade, then a senior GM will be chosen to replace him (or them) in the veto vote.

Draft Pick Shortage

Due to trades some teams will be short draft picks and some will have excess picks. At this time, you can trade 15 rounds of draft picks. If our roster size stays the same, there will be 15 rounds next year. Once a team has completed 15 picks, their draft will end. If teams are short of 15 picks after 15 rounds, those teams will proceed in draft order until every team is filled out. In other words, no team will be over or under the roster limit after the draft.

Free Agent Auction Bidding (FAAB)

Starting in the 2014-15 season, the OCHL removed the traditional waiver system, replacing it with Free Agent Auction Bidding (FAAB). Instead of placing a traditional pickup or waiver claim, every player currently on free agency is considered up for "silent" auction for the week. The auction closes every Sunday night at 11pm, and a second FAAB closes Tuesday night at 11pm, and resets for the following Sunday. To claim a player, an owner places a bid they feel is appropriate based on a player's value. During the bidding period, team owners may bid at any time before the deadline. In a FAAB bidding environment, the only way players can be picked up is through the FAAB bidding process, and there are no first-come, first-served pick-ups. The bidding process is an open process and there is no sequence for the bids. Team owners may bid at any time during the waiver period, before it expires.

Teams would have a budget of $100 to spend for the season, and you would not see other team's bids until they were all processed on the Sunday night. If two teams tied in the bid, the team currently lower in the standings would receive the player.

Other Circumstances

League Expansion

In the case of expansion, teams will be added to the league. Teams will always be added in even numbers, so that the league will always be balanced and even, and every team will have a matchup every week. In years of expansion, the entry draft will be modified to have the expansion teams start by alternating in picking 5 players each from the available players, after keeper selections have been made by all other teams. After each expansion team has made 5 selections, they will join the rest of the league for the complete entry draft. The expansion teams will select last, in opposite order of which they selected their five starting players.

Example, two teams join the OCHL in 2010-11.

The 2010-11 draft starts with Team A and Team B picking five players each in standard draft order. Team A selects, Team B selects, Team A selects, Team B selects, etc – until each team has selected five players.

Once they are done, Team B will select 9th overall in the league draft, and Team A will select 10th.

League Contraction

The BOD will take all available measures to ensure contraction does not occur. In the event that it does, the players from the contracting team(s) will become available in the next draft, in the same pool of players as all NHL eligible, non-keeper players.

Strikes / Lockouts

If the NHL strikes for a year or is locked out, a draft will not be held and all rosters will be locked. If the NHL season resumes, keeper selections will be requested and the draft will proceed as usual. If the NHL season is completely cancelled, the draft order will carry over to the following year.