Good afternoon! I’m really excited about a lot of things that are happening at League Crawler recently and some of the changes we have been making. If you hadn’t noticed, the site has been receiving some updates (home page, league pages, etc) and I’m probably not done. Every once in a while I get tired of the layout and try to make it more user friendly. So, keep an eye out and hopefully you’ll like what you see! We recently launched our very own Discord server! You can link to it here discord.gg/8mkYnWE
. It is designed to help you communicate with members of the community and get “at a glance” looks at things happening with League Crawler – league recruting, feedback and #LCTV content! Ah, LCTV – that’s what we’re here for! If you don’t know what that is, you can read the full article here leaguecrawler.com/article/lctv
. Basically, it’s an ESPN style service where leagues take over the League Crawler twitch channel and host their content in regular spots. Much like ESPN might always have baseball on every Monday at 9, we have a league game from members of the community every Monday at 9. Which brings us to this article!
Right now we have 18 hours of weekly programming EVERY WEEK thanks to our newest addition, VGHL. That means, if you ever want to see some great football, hockey or other content from good leagues, you can check out the League Crawler twitch any evening and see some good stuff! The plan for League Crawler has always been to connect good players with good leagues across all platforms and games. Madden has been our bread and butter but there are so many other great leagues out there that I’m really excited to be able to add VGHL to the lineup and lend a hand showcasing their league and the great things they are doing. In the next few weeks, EA NHL 20 will drop and VGHL will be buzzing with activity and we’ll be featuring their games every Monday night from 9pm 12am! I’ve been in their discord server for a few weeks now getting to know some of them and I can tell you this – they mean business. They’ve been doing this thing for a while now and they have a really good formula for running a massive operation (keep reading – I won’t spoil it) and running it really well. Ok, enough from me – I’ll let VGHL do the talking, I hope you enjoy!
How long have you guys been running VGHL?
We began on NHL 11 in 2010 and are heading into our 10th year on NHL20 for this upcoming season.
What made you decide to get into running a hockey league?
The idea was originally started on a smaller scale doing 2v2 on older versions of NHL. We saw that a lot of people enjoyed the co-op team aspect so once 6v6 became available it was a natural transition into a full sim-league.
What were the biggest hurdles in getting the league going? What setbacks did you encounter?
The biggest hurdles in the beginning were figuring out the rules and getting the support from people to help run the league. Quite often there were disagreements and people would leave to start their own league. Since then, the biggest hurdle was launching our new site and trying to get people used to a service that worked as a real content rich website that wasn’t solely a forum.
What are some of the milestones you hit in your journey to becoming what the league is today? How did you hit them? Were there certain people that helped?
One of the biggest milestones for us came around season 5 when we expanded the league to over 50 teams. Next to that, it would have to be the launch of our new website and our twitch integration. When we launched our new league, we expanded to 80+ teams with over 1100 players per season, breaking all of our previous records.
The VGHL staff has always helped make the VGHL the most user focused league available today. They work day and night to ensure that the community is able to have the best possible experience and often receive little praise in return for their efforts. They are the true heart and soul of the league.
How does your league compare to other leagues out there? Are there any other Hockey leagues like yours out there? What separates you from them? Similarly, what separates you guys from some of the other leagues out there, period (across other games)?
We had the monopoly on the PSN for sim hockey for over 5 years and constantly had to battle many take over attempts. Another big player has emerged since 2016 and is now larger than us as they also support xbox. The launch of our new website had some bumps along the way which assisted the new league in gaining support (mixed in with some really shady tactics on their end). Their founder is a developer which helps them release features a lot quicker than us. Although their website is just a simple forum, some of their stat tracking features are ahead of ours, but we are constantly adding new features every season thanks to the support from our amazing community.
Our passion to deliver the best possible experience, along with our drive to always offer a safe and fair place for people to play, has always set us apart from any league available today. We continue to hold our league to the highest of standards, eventhough it has resulted in some disgruntled “elite” players departing for other leagues, but we do not let this affect us. Our mission is to give everyone an equal opportunity to make a name for themselves in the league and to meet some really cool people along the way. We want everyone to enjoy their time in the VGHL without having to worry about (as the community would say) trolls and egos.
How many members has VGHL gone through since inception? Has there been high turnover? What similarities/differences do you see in players that play Hockey leagues vs people that play in other leagues or games period?
We began with a little over 50 players per season and have since expanded to a little over 1100. Overall, we have registered over 7000 unique players since our first season so the turn over can become quite high as players begin to hit the 3 year mark of their careers. We tier our league and have a progression system so that players can learn the ropes and then decide if the league is right for them. Often times, players will sign up thinking that they can just play with their friends and then soon realize that in a sim environment, this is quite difficult to achieve. This often leads to quitting which frees up space for the next free agent to find a roster spot.
With regard to the community, I will say that the players are very passionate and enjoy being loyal to the league of their choice. NHL is one of the smaller EA communities so you often see a lot of the same names season after season. We have some players that have been in the league for over 5 years and they continue to comeback season after season to try and win a cup. This type of dedication can lead to reputations being built which can sometimes bring out the dark side of the community as the “egos” can start to take over.
What has been the best thing about VGHL so far? What makes the league so successful for so long? What makes your product special or unique?
I can’t stress enough how big of a role our staff plays in setting the VGHL apart from other leagues. Players know that the VGHL will give them a safe and fair place to enjoy NHL and that the league does not stand for anything that could tarnish its integrity. We are also always releasing new and exciting tools for our community, along with lots of interesting content for them to enjoy. Our game centre is also one of the coolest features in any league as it allows you to select which player to watch from any team during any game, all from one interface.
What are some of the craziest moments you’ve occurred so far? Bad owners, drama, weird situations? How about something great like the league coming together for a common cause?
Crazy moments? Where do I begin … We actually had a wild moment last night during our draft lottery where a team with a 2.7% chance of winning the 1st overall pick jumped up 9 spots and ended up getting the 3rd place pick while a team with a 5.8% chance of winning jumped up 7 spots and won the 1st overall pick. This has never happened in our league. The top 3 teams were quite upset lol.
Bad owners, hmmm … the way we define bad can have so many meanings. There are bad owners simply because they may not be very good at the game and have no desire to surround themselves with top tier talent (as those players can sometimes come with drama) but they ice a lineup every night and don’t get fines or forfeits. And there are the bad owners that will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means cheating. We have had our fair share of each over our 10 year existence, but we are usually quick to act and make the appropriate changes before it’s too late.
Community drama? Now this is where it gets fun. You can’t run a league for thousands of people that are heavily invested night after night with an open place to communicate and not have drama. We have seen everything from love triangles, faking one’s death and even multi-generation family members playing at the same time. It is always an interesting place to be, especially for those who just like to sit back and enjoy some popcorn while it all unfolds.
The community always comes together when it matters most. Whether it be to honor our fallen heroes who passed away too early in life, or to celebrate big life moments. There is always someone around to share your stories with and to just be yourself with. That’s one of the main reasons why I keep putting my heart and soul into the league. I love giving people a place to enjoy the game that I have loved since I was 11 years old, and to meet other people that share the same passion.
What’s next for VGHL? What does the future hold?
We are currently developing lots of cool features for the league such as advanced player reports cards, 3 star seasonal leaders, automated transactions, and more. I am also working on trying to promote our club league again which allows teams to sign up all of their friends and compete in tournaments for prizes. Since prizes are not free, I am trying to see if we can secure some sponsors to offers of some cool rewards for tournament winners. I am also releasing our MVG merch this month and have already started giving out some early releases of the limited edition blackout hat as prizes.
Special thanks to our department heads:
If you are interested in playing in our league for this upcoming season, please remember to create an account and then sign up by clicking the season 18 sign up banner by September the 17th. If you’d like a chance to win a free copy of NHL20 and a VGHL Blackout Hat, you have to sign up by September the 10th. If you have any issues, you can message any of our staff for assistance.