Drafting Pickup Hockey Teams

Something fun that we’re working on is allowing our pickup hockey organizers to pick teams for their weekly games. We all know that the way to pick teams for pickup hockey is the age old tradition of tossing sticks. Everyone puts their stick into a pile and someone closes their eyes and tosses sticks one at a time towards either net. Whatever side your stick lands, welcome to your new team!

Tossing Sticks

This first step is simple, just let each player know whether they’re wearing black or white for today’s skate. This is just random team selection, tossing sticks. We’ll include that information when we email our gameday reminder to each player on the day of the skate. It should cut down on each person having to count up skaters before they decide what colour to put on.

So where’s the fun? We want to move beyond random team selection. I wanted to share some ideas we’re playing with. I’m hoping to get some feedback and thoughts on where we should go with this? Please comment below or email me directly with any thoughts.

Balancing TeamsumHockey1920d

With this approach, we randomly select teams for week one. After the game’s over, we find out which team ‘won’. Each player on the winning team is assigned a point. We randomly select teams the following week, however, over time we start to factor player point totals into the team selection. The hope being to balance teams over time.

Obviously this requires keeping score in some fashion each week. That could be as simple as the organizer choosing a winning side.


Each week we select two captains. Those captains pick teams, pretty straightforward.

Fantasy Sports

This one’s a bit out there but could be fun. We randomly select teams as skaters sign up. Each attending player is then allowed to make one trade each week. That trade allows them to swap a player on one team with one of the other team. We could either allow that trade to happen immediately. Or we could build in an approval model. Maybe the organizers have to approve trades or the players being traded?

This one’s obviously a bit more involved but provided we build the UI so it’s light weight and fast to interact with, it could be a lot of fun.