What is the Tropical Hockey League?
The THL is a professional inline hockey league, structured like a professional ice hockey league. Teams will play a 50-game season from October to April. At the end of the season, the bottom teams play each other to earn the first overall pick, earn exemption from an expansion draft, test new rules for the league, and test potential markets. The top teams will battle for the championship in a playoff tournament where teams that perform better in the regular season get a bye to the second round.
How much will players get paid?
The minimum salary is $200 per week, and there is no salary cap for players who enter the draft or qualify as a UFA. Players on the championship winning team also take a share of prize money, which we project will be over $2,000 per player.
What are the perks of playing in the Tropical Hockey League?
THL players will get their housing and utilities paid for, a weekly salary, their equipment paid for, free food on road trips, assistance with groceries, a free gym membership, and free equipment repairs. Teams will build their training schedules so that you can take a part-time job or go to community college during the week, and every player has the right to refuse a trade. In order to release you from your contract, they have to pay fees to the league and buy you out (provided you haven't breached your contract), which discourages them from moving you during the season. Players will also have the ability to negotiate for trade fees (payment if you agree to a trade), no-release clauses, performance bonuses, and multi-year contracts. Players will get time off to compete in major roller hockey tournaments, and they will also have a say in key league decisions, like rule changes. You also get to live in warm, sunny places, take short road trips, and play in front of over 2,000 fans a night.
What are the housing arrangements for players?
Teams are required to give players free housing for an entire year. Players under 21 years of age will live with a billet family, players older than 21 will get their own room in a house or apartment, and married players will get their own apartment or house. Utilities are covered by the teams, and some teams may be able to help furnish apartments for players.
What equipment do players get?
Every player will be provided with practice and game uniforms, wheels, bearings, an equipment bag, tape, and up to $900 worth of sticks (whether you want three $300 sticks, nine $100 sticks, or something else is up to you). Skaters get a helmet, gloves, and will be reimbursed for up to $200 of protective equipment. Goalies get reimbursed for up to $900 of equipment, mask paint, or whatever else they want.
How many players are on a team?
Teams consist of 14 players: 12 skaters and 2 goalies. Teams will also carry an emergency backup goalie at home games, and can sign up to 3 injury substitutes that they can call up if a player on their team is injured.
What types of contracts are there?
There are three types of full-time contracts:
Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) are players who have not played in the league and who have not participated in a draft combine. They can sign with any team, but only for minimum wage. RFAs can still negotiate for no-release clauses.
Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) are players who have had THL contracts expire or who participated in the draft combine and were not selected. They can be paid any wage, sign with any team, and negotiate for performance bonuses, trade fees, and no-release clauses.
Drafted Players are players who were selected in the entry draft by a team. They can negotiate for any wage, but can only sign with the team that drafted them. The team that drafted them owns their rights for 3 years after the draft if they don't sign. Unsigned players cannot refuse trades, so players' rights may be traded freely.
There are also two types of part-time contracts:
Injury Substitutes. Teams can carry 2 skaters and 1 goalie as injury substitutes. These players don’t get the same perks as full-time players. They don’t get housing, only get paid if they play, and can only play if a player on their team is placed on the injured reserve, but also can’t get cut or traded and are not required to practice with the team. These contracts are for local and nearly-local players who already work full-time jobs elsewhere.
Emergency Backup Goalies (EBUGs). Teams are required to sign an emergency backup goalie. EBUGs attend every home game for their team and suit up for either team if both of their goalies can no longer play. Like injury substitutes, they only get paid if they play.
How can I play in the league?
There are two ways to enter the league. One is to contact a team directly and sign as a restricted free agent (RFA). This lets you choose the team you want to play for, but you can only be paid league minimum until your contract expires. The other way is to declare for the draft. If you choose to go that route, you pay a fee and attend the tryout combine. If you are selected by a team, you can only sign with that team, and if you are not selected, you become an unrestricted free agent (UFA). Players who get drafted or who sign as UFAs can be paid any amount.
Can women play in the league?
Yes! We don't care who you are, we just want the best hockey players. If you can play at the THL level, then you can play in the THL.
What can I expect at the draft combine?
The draft combine will take place over 2 days. The first day will be for testing- skaters will have their speed, stickhandling, and shooting tested, goalies will get their endurance, reactions, and flexibility tested, and both will be tested on their upper and lower body strength. On the second day, there will be scrimmages, both at 4-on-4 and 4-on-3 to test your ability at even strength and on special teams. Every player gets to keep their scrimmage jersey, gets a free shirt when they’re done, and gets free meals at the combine facility.
What are the rules in a THL game?
The THL will play with standard inline hockey rules, except for a few changes. The biggest of these are:
Games will be four twelve-minute stop-time periods with 5-minute intermissions between them.
Penalties are scaled to the length of the game, so minors are 90 seconds, double-minors are 3 minutes, majors are 4 minutes, and misconducts are 8 minutes.
If you take a penalty, you serve the entire length of the penalty, no matter how many times the other team scores.
Teams can "defer" a powerplay in favor of a single penalty shot. The player who took the penalty still needs to serve the penalty.
If two players get into a fight, they get offsetting 4-minute majors, which is going to lead to lots of 3-on-3 and even 2-on-2.
You can’t pass the puck to a teammate in the offensive half when you are in the defensive half (that’s an “offside pass”).
Players can get around the offside pass rule if the puck is dumped, chipped, area passed, or fumbled over the halfway line by “tagging up” at the red line.
If a goalie freezes the puck or a team makes an offside pass, then their team cannot change lines.
If a goalie freezes the puck and could have played safely it, then that's a penalty for delay of game.
Goalies are allowed to play the puck in the offensive half of the rink.
All head contact is a penalty, regardless of whether or not it was intentional.
There is still no checking, but players are allowed to push and shove for advantage if they have established their position. That's how roller hockey is called anyway, but we put it in writing to help there be more consistency with officiating.
Overtime is 5 minutes of sudden-death 3-on-3. If nobody manages to score a goal in that time, then the game is a tie. Teams get 2 standings points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and none for a loss.
How does trading work?
Every player will effectively have a no-trade clause. Any time your team wants to trade you, you will have the opportunity to say no and refuse the trade. Once per offseason (and only in the offseason), teams will be able to "force" a trade. If they force a trade, they can trade you without your permission, but they will be forced to pay a fee to the League, which you will get a percentage of.
Are contracts guaranteed?
Yes, to an extent. If a team wants to cut you from their roster, they will need to buy you out of your contract. If they buy you out, you will get a certain amount of money, and the team will need to pay a fee to the League as well. If you sign a contract with a no-release clause, you are not eligible to be bought out while that clause is in effect.
Why does every player get a no-trade clause and why do you charge teams fees to trade or release players?
We want you to stick around, and we want you to be comfortable so you'll play better. A volatile workplace is a hostile workplace, and we want stability for you. That way, you can make friendships and chemistry with your team, establish roots in the community, and get a part-time job or go to school without worrying about where you'll be living tomorrow. Teams will still be able to move you though, and there will still be new players coming in every year at the draft, so don't get complacent. Teams also don't need to pay fees to release players who breach their contracts, so be sure to actually read what you sign.
Where will teams practice?
Depending on where you sign, your team may practice at your home arena, at a specially designed roller hockey rink, a roller skating rink with protective netting around it, or even an outdoor roller rink. The key is to keep costs down so that you can be paid more. Players will be provided with practice wheels in addition to their game wheels, so don't worry about rationing good wheels during the season.