The 7 People You Meet at Your Playoff Draft

With the 2015-16 regular season in the books, many of you are gearing up for the Stanley Cup playoffs by organizing hockey pools. These are always a great activity to meet up with friends, share a few beers, and, if you’re up in Canada, create a vested interested for following the postseason. Usually these gatherings are annual occurrences between you and your closest mates, but each year there are always some newcomers who show up that you should watch out for.

1. The Guy Who Takes Too Long

Some drafts will impose a strict time limit on selections, but if you are part of a crew that doesn’t enforce a clock, may God have mercy on your soul. You know that someone has taken too long with their pick when the crowd grows increasingly impatient and erupts in a chorus of expletives. Draft dithering has consequences. While you’re waffling between which fourth liner from a first-round exit team you are going to take, the rest of your friends are sitting idle, asking themselves what did I do to deserve this?


Case in point.

2. The Injury Guy

If you are organizing a draft for a lot of people, odds are your selections are going to go deep and someone will be forced to pick a player who is currently in the infirmary. Granted, these injuries are usually minor, often the ubiquitous day-to-day variety that we see at the end of the regular season for players who are nursing some bumps and bruises before the playoffs. However, there is always somebody who forgets  that Anton Stralman has a fractured leg or that Steven Stamkos is out one to three months with a blood clot. These are the types of egregious selections that are inexcusable and often come with a healthy serving of heckling.

3. The Guy Who Isn’t Up to Date on Trades

It’s almost guaranteed that your pool will have at least one individual who has not diligently followed the transactions that have taken place throughout the regular season. This person will be the one who takes Rob Scuderi from Chicago or Brandon Pirri from Florida. While these are not necessarily boo worthy selections, be wary of the person who forgets that a ten-year veteran from a particular team has been traded to a club that was out of the playoff picture in November. We’re looking at you, people who will take Brooks Laich thinking he is still a member of the Washington Capitals.

4. The “Is that player available?” Guy

There’s nothing more infuriating than when you have a player earmarked for selection, only to hear someone cry out and ask whether that player is available. The worst part about this is drafter is that sometimes they don’t even follow up with the player in question, but just end up planting the seed in the mind of someone else before you get the chance to make your selection.

5. The Guy Who Doesn’t Bring Any Draft Sheets

Someone showing up at a fantasy draft unprepared? Why, I never! Each year there is always somebody in the crowd who didn’t do their homework. They either spend most of their time frantically trying to pull up names on their phones or, even worse, they are constantly asking you to borrow your draft sheets. Beware of this guy.

6. The Guy Who Spells Player’s Names Incorrectly 

There is always at least a few of these individuals in the crowd. Whether they have the name queued up on their computer or written on a sheet in front of them, they always seem to misspell the player’s surname when it comes time to make their selection.

7. The Guy Who Takes Unavailable Players

This individual often goes hand in hand with “The ‘is that player available?’ Guy”, but sometimes they won’t ask if the player is available, they will simply make the selection without any forethought. Drafting mistakes happen, especially when alcohol is involved, but this situation is usually worse because the players being taken are ones who obviously went in earlier rounds. So remember, you’re not savvy for getting a flyer on Justin Williams in the third round, you’re probably just too drunk because everybody else knows that the pride of Cobourg is a late first round selection.


Full disclosure, I participated in a playoff draft this past Saturday afternoon. You may be asking, why would you have done a draft before the playoff picture was solidified? Well, we like to live on the edge up here in Sudbury-Thunder Bay, and that’s just how we always do it. Our draft may differ from yours because our organizer actually hangs up giant sheets of paper and each entrant has to write their selection in by hand, so take some of these examples with a grain of salt if you run a more sophisticated operation. That being said, if you don’t conduct your draft this way, you are definitely missing out on some great opportunities for taunting, creative spelling, and some downright silliness. On the latter point, we had twenty-six teams participate and we each drafted twelve players. That is 312 players, nearly everybody who will see the ice this postseason. By the final round, and alcohol was certainly a factor, the sheets contained scribbled notations that only the drafter could possibly decipher. Other participants, having invested nearly seven hours in the draft, voiced their displeasure by selecting several AHL players and even Reggie Dunlop.

Best of luck in all your playoff pools!

Professor Mike hails from Sudbury, Ontario (4 hours north of Toronto) a place that has more Kings connections than you’d think. The city’s northern boundary reaches as far as the community of Levack, hometown of Kings great Dave Taylor. As a child, Mike once met Taylor in a gravel pit, as you can imagine, he was thoroughly impressed. He has also spent more than a few bleary-eyed nights at the Beef n Bird, a tavern founded by Justin Williams’ great uncle Jerry Toppazzini. Mike’s only wish is that one day people will call him “the Professor” with the same adoration bestowed upon Ben Scrivens. You can follow Mike Commito on Twitter @MikeCommito.