The Hockey Hall of Fame defines a builder as “a person who has contributed to the development of the game of hockey, and as the name refers, one who has built the game forward.” Or at least that’s how Wikipedia defines the Hockey Hall of Fame’s “builder” category. At any rate, as you go down the list of the HHOF’s builders, it’s clear that the game wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is today without them. Similarly, Capwise Hockey wouldn’t be where it is today without the help of many of its most ardent supporters and most dedicated contributors. Thus, in establishing the Capwise Hall of Fame, it’s only fitting to include a category that honors these members.
As we look back over the ten-year history of the league, it’s incredible to think that we got here from there. You can read the full history of the league here, but in short – this league was first established on a very sketchy looking “Freewebs”-designed website, with a frighteningly blue forum attached to it. To have come from that to where we are today is a remarkable achievement – and one that can be attributed primarily to one person. When Tim Brouwer (aka Byz) came across the PCFL via a post on DobberHockey in 2008 (check it out, to the right), I’m sure he had no idea what he was getting himself into. “I signed up having only ever run a one-year team the year before”, he told me recently. And while his inexperience definitely showed in the standings, it didn’t prevent Tim from getting involved behind the scenes, almost immediately.
In early 2009, while the PCFL was still in its first season, Hockey Utopia was really taking off. Moving from a simple forum to a resource-laden website, the Hockey Hitman and James (aka zoomwaffles!) were exploring every avenue to bring more voices into the mix and compete with Dobber. Enter Tim Brouwer. With his background in web design, Tim spoke up and offered his services for free. Over the next year, HU was cleaned up, professionalized, and developed into a legitimate fantasy hockey empire, attracting some of the most skilled fantasy GMs from around the world to its resources. And while James may have been coming up with some of the ideas, it was Tim who led the way on design – thankfully (James has notoriously terrible taste).
Just over a year later, with Hockey Utopia at its peak, and the ECFL preparing to launch as a sister league to the PCFL, the decision to merge the two seemed obvious, and the Hockey Utopia Fantasy Association was born. Once again, it was Tim leading the way. In addition to playing as a GM in both leagues, he helped switch the HU forum to a far more manageable and customizable provider, while continuing to support our nascent fantasy league’s integration into the larger Hockey Utopia infrastructure.
Eventually, the resources at Hockey Utopia went by the wayside, ultimately leading to the shedding of Hockey Utopia as a fantasy resource, and solely focusing on the HUFA. Again, at this pivotal juncture, it was Tim and James working side by side on a complete rebrand of the website. Capwise Hockey was born, and the website – designed by Tim – was launched in its current form.
To truly understand Tim’s impact on the league, consider for a moment your first introduction to Capwise. Maybe you found it from a Dobber post; maybe a friend told you about it; maybe you stumbled upon it from a simple Google search. However you wound up here, I can say almost certainly that the first thing you saw – your first impression of Capwise – was the Byz-designed website. How many times have you been scared away from a fantasy league because of how awful the website is? Or by the fact that there was no website? How good did it make you feel to see such a professional looking site greeting you, riddled with testimonials and history? More often than not, it’s this first impression that has drawn people in. And without it, the league would never be as big as it is today.
Tim has, quite literally, created the “face” of Capwise Hockey. Truly, there is no one more deserving of the honor of being the first builder inducted to the Capwise Hall of Fame.
Congratulations, Tim Brouwer – Capwise Hall of Fame Inaugural Class, Builder Inductee