The Capwise Hockey Association has developed gradually over the last ten years, growing and changing with each passing season. Thanks in large part to the loyalty and endless patience of its GMs, the CHA has benefited from a very organic evolution, constantly tweaking its rulebook and trying new things, usually to the betterment of the league.
After the NHL lockout, a website called Hockey Utopia had established itself as one of the go-to options for fantasy hockey news and advice. A simple message board, HU had a modest membership base of about 1000 members. But with some of the most knowledgeable and generous fantasy hockey minds posting daily, HU was a proven source of reliable information.
Capwise founder and commissioner James Anderson was a member of the Hockey Utopia community. First, as a frequent poster looking for advice as a fantasy hockey newbie, and then as a fantasy hockey veteran providing advice to others. James saw Hockey Utopia’s potential to be not just a message board, but a full-fledged site on a level with Dobber Hockey. With the blessing of Hockey Utopia’s founder, James developed a simple website with a few basic resources — daily line combinations, deep NHL depth charts, etc. With the help of Capwise’s web guru, Tim Brouwer, this simple website developed into a popular hub of activity, with feature articles, plus all of the other resources and, as always, the active message board.
Eventually, with the growth of Dobber Hockey and the development of a few other key websites, Hockey Utopia evolved from a fantasy hockey resource into a fantasy hockey league.
Pacific Coast Fantasy League
In the summer of 2008, after several years in Yahoo! public leagues and a dynasty league with very little parity, James started a brand new league, calling it the Pacific Coast Fantasy League (PCFL). The PCFL was created specifically to address the lack of parity seen in many other leagues. Much like the NHL, the PCFL utilized a salary cap to force player turnover, helping weaker teams quickly turn things around to compete for a championship within a few years. With the help of a few of its charter members, the PCFL developed a thorough rulebook and kicked off play in the Fall of 2008.
In spite of its founder’s connection to Hockey Utopia, it wasn’t until 2010 that the PCFL and HU merged into one. After a few successful years of play, and feeling that the rulebook was solid, several members of the PCFL decided to form a spin-off league with a cash prize. It was called the East Coast Fantasy League (ECFL), and began play in 2010 with 6 PCFL members and 8 newbies. The two leagues were moved onto the Hockey Utopia message board, and the Hockey Utopia Fantasy Association was born.
Hockey Utopia Fantasy Association
With activity at Hockey Utopia dwindling, and membership declining, the PCFL and ECFL were brought together on the Hockey Utopia forum with the goal of boosting activity in the public areas of the forum. By 2011, the HUFA expanded again, adding the Hockey Utopia Elite League (HUEL) and the North American Fantasy League (NAFL) to its ranks. Now with over 30 GMs visiting every day, the HUFA was quickly becoming the main source of Hockey Utopia’s activity. And the growth wasn’t done yet.
After a season with four leagues, the HUFA expanded one final time in 2013, adding the Western Canada Fantasy League as its 5th league. By the end of the 2013-14 season, Hockey Utopia had become completely dominated by the HUFA. Ownership changes led to the final demise of Hockey Utopia. The site was officially closed down in the Summer of 2014, and the HUFA found a new home.
Capwise Hockey Assocation
With the end of Hockey Utopia came the birth of Capwise Hockey. In spite of web guru Tim’s disapproval of the name (he gave it a 1 out of 5!), James stubbornly plowed ahead with a massive rebranding of the website, and Capwise Hockey launched in the fall of 2014. The Capwise Hockey Association was created from the 5 leagues of the HUFA, and the league moved on with business as usual.
After a successful season, the CHA expanded again in the summer of 2015, adding the International Fantasy Hockey League (IFHL). The Supreme Fantasy Hockey League (SFHL) was introduced the next season, followed by the Great Northern Fantasy League (GNFL) and Continental Fantasy Hockey League (CFHL) in 2017, bringing the CHA to 9 leagues.
The Capwise Hockey Association continues to evolve year after year, with more leagues being added, rules being tweaked, and technology advancing. The future is indeed bright for what remains one of the web’s best salary cap leagues.