Friday, December 15, 2006

We'll try to do this once a week

The following is a project I’ve decided on to keep my brain sharp and to give me a fun sideline whenever I tire of wrestling with the Mother Of Unfinishable Stories. It’s simple – I have a hockey simulator that duplicates the experience of a general manager. It’s mega-detailed, with literally scores of minor leagues, all the way down to high school level. You don’t actually play the games like in the NHL series, and you don’t even have to coach the team in games. You just worry about running the front office, with all that it implies. It’s up to you to put together the team and pay it. You wield an army of scouts and handle the draft based on their recommendations; negotiate the contracts; you can even reprimand or fine players for mouthing off to the press or dogging it during games. You can complain to the league office about the referee of your last game, if you want to (though they may fine you). Put it this way – you don’t have to know the NHL collective bargaining agreement to play, but it helps.

Anyway, it took three fake years, but my club (the Florida Panthers) won the last Stanley Cup. As often happens in real life, the faux Panthers have given total access to a humble beat writer (heheheheh) to tell the story of how a simulated sports franchise handles a season as the defending champion.. So here I go – it will be in serial form, so I won’t be going back to revise or edit large sections as I would if it were a “book.” What you get is what you get, as I simulate it day to day. Of course, any “predicting” that occurs about player movement and such is likely to be strangely accurate, but since I don’t have actual players and staff to interview, I have to make up for it somehow.

And, just so everyone’s clear – unless we're talking about a future draftee, anyone appearing in a North American pro league is represented by name in this game, from mortal-lock Hall of Famers to that sixth-round pick last year who had two games in the ECHL. This includes staff and coaches. Even the trainers of the Florida Panthers are accurately identified. Obviously any “quoting” of such will be fictional; the events will be “accurate” in that they actually happened in the simulator. Nobody sue me, OK?

Chapter One is below. Enjoy!

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