I get asked this question fairly often, usually it’s from people who are new to organizing a weekly pickup hockey game, how many full timers should I have in my roster?
First, what’s a full timer? A full timer is a player that pays you at the start of the season. They are paying for the right to attend any of your pickup games they’re able to make. With 20Skaters, full timers are invited first each week and they obviously have first shot at spots in the game. It’s only after a few days that subs start getting invited if there are spots available. As well, typically a full timer’s cost per game is lower than what you charge a sub.
While we have some games with 0 full timers and we have a few games that have more than 20, generally the answer is simple in that you should aim for 20 full timers in your roster. Having 20 skaters committed gives you the best shot at selling out your game every week. Those 20 folks have already paid for the season so they are going to make the effort to get out each week. The more games they play, the better their deal for being a full timer is.
Having 20 full timers also makes for a better game through the season. It means you’ll have some consistency in your lineup, folks get to know each other over the season and the banter in the change room gets better. Of course that can also go the other way in that you may have guys develop some nasty rivalries but that’s rare when there’s no refs on the ice.
I’m hosting a new game of my own this year. I only have about 5 full timers and it hurts us some weeks. If there’s a holiday or a sporting event worth watching, your sub numbers will be low as they have no commitment.
How much do you charge full timers? If you can get 20, my suggestion is to charge your full timers enough to cover your entire ice time costs. You will collect fees from subs through the season as you’ll rarely get all 20 full timers out. Use that money to throw an end of season party, buy jerseys, or reduce full timer fees next year. We have games that are also giving full timers refunds based on the sub fees they’ve collected.
If you’re like me, and don’t have 20 full timers, then start recruiting now for next season! Don’t wait until the summer when you have to chase folks over email. Pick the people you want to invite and let them know now that they have a full time spot next season if they want it.