News Conference from January 11th, 2010
The Amazing Fantasy Hockey League held a media conference call with commissioner Anthony Furino, on Monday, Jan. 11 to answer questions pertaining to the 2010 AFHL Playoffs and beyond. He discussed the state of the AFHL, as well as the rules changes like the Trade-Review Process, the Trading Deadline, the Draft Lottery, the All-Star Game and the possibility of Farm Teams being assigned to all AFHL franchises.
Furino: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome. I appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with you and answer any questions you may have as the 2010 AFHL Playoffs approaches.
I’d like to start off by saying that, overall, things are very good in the AFHL, our vital signs are strong and we have tremendous optimism about the future of our game.
From the League standpoint, we think we’ve been having a very strong, solid season in all metrics that we measure. All AFHL owners have done a very good job of dealing with the circumstance with which they all currently find themselves.
We’re off to a good start in this regard, but that hardly suggests that it is time to celebrate. We want to take the solid base we have created and make sure it stays firmly established as the regular season proceeds.
This league will continue to work and we’ve been committed to making it work from Game 1 over the regular season straight through to the playoffs and through the Playoffs and into and through the AFHL Stanley Cup finals.
Beyond what we have already done, there are still some questions that need answers…
*The date of the AFHL Trading Deadline is now (OFFICIALLY) March 4th, 2010. That’s about two weeks prior to the AFHL Playoffs which will begin on March 15th, 2010. We will not let the Olympics affect the AFHL.
Once again, the Trading Deadline is March 4th, 2010.
*Trading Draft Picks will NOT be allowed until the off-season (after the playoffs). After this year, trading draft picks will always be allowed during the regular season (and off-season).
*We will have a Draft Lottery shortly after the AFHL Finals to determine the order of the 2010 AFHL Entry Draft.
The 12 teams that missed the playoffs during the previous AFHL season hold the first 12 picks. They draft in order of fewest points to most points, subject to the results of the draft lottery (see below).
ONLY THE FIVE (5) TEAMS WITH THE FEWEST AMOUNT OF POINTS WILL BE IN THE DRAFT LOTTERY TO DETERMINE PICKS 1-5.
The AFHL will use a system to produce balls for each of the five teams. The team with the fewest amount of points will have five (5) balls. The team with the second fewest amount of points will have four (4) balls, and so on.
As for the rest of the draft order;
The current AFHL Stanley Cup champion picks last (20th).
The AFHL Stanley Cup runner-up picks 19th.
Remaining teams draft in order of fewest points to most points from the previous regular season.
That said, we will continue to make adjustments as the year goes on. It’s still the first season so we do expect some more things to come up.
I will address things one at a time… problems, issues, questions, comments, concerns, suggestions… it’s all good. Everyone knows where to contact me. I’m usually available by phone and/or email. If ever I’m not, just leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Other than that, I can’t wait for the playoffs to start. The regular season has been terrific. We’re having a great regular season, unbelievable races looking like some may go down to the final days of the regular season. Every game matters and our fans are responding to our teams in record number.
As always, I sincerely thank all AFHL Franchise Owners for their participation. Let’s open it up for questions…
Q: You’ve been considering the idea of establishing minor league teams or farm teams for each AFHL Franchise… have you made any decisions about that?
Furino: No decisions about that yet. It’s a great idea and it would add a lot of depth to the league, but first we want to see how things go during the regular season. There’s no rush regarding farm teams, however we will make an official decision by the end of the playoffs.
Q: Anthony, will there be a 2010 AFHL All-Star Game this year? Even though the Olympics are coming, will that play any kind of role?
Furino: YES. The AFHL will have a 2010 All-Star Game, and it will be played in Detroit, Michigan. That’s right, the home of the AFHL’s Detroit Gladiators.
We chose Detroit because Detroit is not only a great sports town, it has become a great hockey town.
Of course, this will be our first ever All Star game. We’re anticipating a fun weekend that will be interactive with the community and in many ways will extend beyond just the community attending the game.
Q: Trade Review has been an ongoing issue all season long. Can you point to anything specific, any reasons why that’s the case? And is there anything to announce about the new Trade Review Process?
In the very near future, the following things will be put into place regarding Trade Review.
– All trades will have a three-day waiting period. This gives everyone time to look at trades.
– All trades will be open to discussion to all league owners on our Yuku League Message Board. Of course trades are a thrilling part of the fantasy hockey process, and even moreso in dynasty leagues where a trade has repercussions years down the road.
– All trades will undergo a review from a THREE-PERSON PANEL, including myself as commissioner, and a representative from each conference… these two people will be announced sometime in the near future.
If there are any other questions regarding Trade Review, please visit the League Message Board on Yuku.com.
Q: Following up with a separate question, over the course of this season, many people from the GCFHL (Great Canadian Fantasy Hockey League) have contacted you about joining the AFHL, possibly abandoning their GCFHL franchises and coming to take over any AFHL franchises that are currently struggling. You’ve got a lot of history with those guys and you still have some strong relationships with them. What are your thoughts about getting more GCFHL guys into the AFHL?
Furino: Well, although we are getting a lot of inquiries there is still a “Waiting List”. First come, first serve. Just because I know some of the guys personally, doesn’t mean there will be any special priveledges. Everyone has an equal chance at getting an AFHL franchise. Be patient and the opportunity will eventually present itself.
Q: Is there any news to pass along on the ownership situation in Washington?
Furino: If there was, we would make a formal announcement. GM/Owner Ray Irwin had health conditions and considered bringing on an assistant. Right now he has no assistant. He’s continuing to go through the process of due diligence, making sure he knows who is interested and what that interest constitutes. As I believe you know, the club has a HUGE long-term plan and they’ve got most of the best blue-chip prospects in the league, which we think is positive.
In regards to the Castlegar Wolves franchise, there’s been rumblings about decreased ticket sales and lack of interest from their city. From what I was told there has been a renewed or a new effort by the Castlegar business partnership to help sell tickets. I do remain disappointed in the season ticket sales, but I am hoping this new effort will help me overcome my disappointment and enable the franchise to have the support that we believe is there and that it needs.
Q: Update us on Franchise concerns around the League. That hasn’t really been discussed.
Furino: Well, there’s not a whole lot of concern. Every AFHL Franchise is different. Yes, there are some franchises that are really struggling to win matchups. But each franchise has a plan. Some of which are long-term. I won’t question any plans until after the first season. Of course I’m not too worried about the teams and their players but I’m always looking to see which owners are participating and which owners are not. The ones who don’t particpate are the ones that will be replaced.
Q: Commissioner, are you content with the current setup that there’s an American Conference and a Canadian Conference; has there ever been any discussion in terms of down the road possibly divisions, maybe four divisions or six divisions if you bring on more franchises?
Furino: None whatsoever because this will always be a 20 team hockey league. No more and no less. Maybe after next season we’ll consider divisions but right now, the plan for next year is two conferences; American and Canadian.
Q: Anthony, could you talk a little bit about the allure of some matchups between small-market clubs and large-market clubs? How AFHL fans and viewers are involved? Maybe compare a large city like Vancouver to a small city like Temiscaming…?
Furino: I don’t think that people decide to check out the website or not because of the population of the markets that are playing. Especially when it comes to the Finals. If big markets are playing and more people are watching in those markets because they are interested in what’s going on in their city, that’s inevitable. Frankly, I think it’s more important to all of our fans that they know that whatever team they root for, they have a shot.
I will be delighted with whoever makes it to the Finals this year, and the ratings will be what they’ll be.
Q: Do you have any thoughts about how many keeper players each AFHL franchise will be allowed to keep after each season?
Furino: The decision was made before the season even started. ALL players are keepers – the only way to acquire new players is via trades or availability in free agency.