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Historical Games

Historical Leagues are based on a database containing historical ratings and league setups from 1947 to the present. In most seasons, only the NHL will be active in a historical season. The lone exception is the World Hockey Association years (1972-73 through 1978-79), when that league is active as well.

The historical database is built upon the framework provided by the player and team records assembled by the Hockey Databank Project, with extensive additions and changes by our research team to rate the players in game terms.

To start a historical game, from the Start Screen, just click on the New Historical Game button.

When you select this option, you will be asked to enter a name for your saved game; this cannot duplicate the name of an existing game. You will also have a number of other options:

Start Year: You will then be allowed to choose from a list of years from 1947 to the present, as well as a series of other options.


The earliest year available is 1947-48 for a few reasons: the need to stick with modern-era rules in this version and wanting to get a couple of years clear of the data issues cause by World War II-era replacement players. The next version of the FHM will extend that backwards, at least to the first NHL season in 1917-18, probably to the first NHA season in 1910, and possibly a few years before that to the first professional leagues (time, research materials, and the coding required to get 7-man hockey working permitting.) But for now, it`s the Howe-Richard era and forward.

Retire player in actual year: At the moment, this option is on by default, so the player's real-life final pro season is also his final in-game season. That restriction will be removed soon, to allow you to use the same systems as the regular game, allowing much more variable player careers.

Automatically expand league: This determines if the NHL will retain its starting structure, or expand as it did historically.

Hold expansion draft: This determines if, when historical expansion happens, the NHL holds an expansion draft (which will be similar in structure to the actual draft used for that expansion.) It has no function if automatic league expansion is turned off.

Draft Rookies/Generate at 17: There are four possible combinations of these two options, each providing a fairly distinct experience:

Draft off, Generate at 17 off:This will result in teams getting new players at the same time they acquired the rights to those players historically - Eric Lindros, for example, appears in the game in 1991 as an 18-year-old Quebec Nordique. This is the most literal historical setting, where players show up at the "right" place regardless of whether or not it makes sense in the context of your game - Pittsburgh may be the best team in the game in 1983-84, but they'll still get Mario Lemieux in the following season.
Draft off, Generate at 17 on:Players will appear at the start of the season in which they turned 17, and will be signable as free agents whenever they reach the league's minimum age. This is the free-for-all setting, and the closest thing to the way the pre-draft NHL worked, although players won't be getting signed quite as early.
Draft on, Generate at 17 off:Players will appear in the season in which their rights were first owned by an NHL team, and will go through the draft before being signable. This will result in most modern players appearing at 18, when they were drafted, but a late-blooming free agent signee like Adam Oates won't arrive until he's 23. This setting is useful if you want to have a draft, but don't want to include players that may not make sense historically - for example, Eastern Bloc players prior to the 1990's (the database ignores the speculative drafting of undefected Soviet and Czechoslovak players in the 1970's and 80's, so although Sergei Makarov was drafted by Calgary in 1983, he won't show up in the league under these settings until 1989, his "rookie" year.)
Draft on, Generate at 17 on:Players will appear at the start of the season in which they turned 17, and must go through a draft when they're old enough to qualify for it. The least historical setting, but most consistent with the 'reality' of your game world - finishing last in 2004-05 gets you the best chance at drafting Sidney Crosby. Since everyone shows up at 17, this will lead to some very ahistorical arrivals, like the 70's and 80's defectors arriving much earlier than they actually did, e.g. Vaclav Nedomansky in 1961 instead of 1974. The first Finns and Swedes will also tend to show up a few years too early.

Player development: At the moment, this option is set to "recalculate player ratings before each season," which means players will not develop by the game's normal rules, and instead will get adjusted each year depending on their database career settings. That restriction will be removed soon, to allow you to use the same systems as the regular game, allowing much more variable player careers.

You will then be taken to the Add Human Managers screen, where you can set up your manager identity, play mode, and starting team.

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