Game Play Etiquette 2.0


The main purpose of this league is to maximize realism and having a fun time playing a game we love. Let's elaborate on the VHA gameplay mindset you are expected to adopt 100% of the time and other specific moves you must AVOID entirely as part of your mandate as a VHA GM.

Play realistic hockey

Adopt a North-South mindset
Excluding on the PP, keep moving up towards the other net on a rush. We've seen too many GMs pass it back, then forward, then back again until the AI falls apart, resulting in lanes opening like the parted sea. This isn't soccer. Also the AI is dumb and it's an old game. Sometimes the right hockey play is the simple one, like banking it off the boards to clear the puck.

Keep your scripted plays at bay
It’s a 12 year old game. Try new things. The game might surprise you.

Dump the puck regularly
- Skilled players dump and chase occasionally
- Grinders dump and chase regularly
If you aren't dumping and chasing, you are not playing realistic hockey.

Short shifts and use all four lines
- A shift should last about 60 seconds. If you’re leaving your line for more than that, you’re not doing it right.
- Your 4th line needs to get a few shifts per period.
Note : We will not hesitate to enforce « Auto-line change » mode on teams that are unable to properly cycle thru lines or limit shift length.

Use players in their proper roles
- Highly skilled players will tend to carry the puck and try fancy dekes
- Grinders will dump it in and play physical
- Offensive minded, smaller dmen will pokecheck
- Physical defensive minded Dmen will play physical
We are thriving for realism. These things matter.

The wandering winger, aka the stretch pass to the wing.
As soon as you retrieve the puck, your wingers starts skating towards the offensive zone and is able to receive a tape to tape pass in his skates like white on rice, creating a super easy scoring opportunity. USE SPARINGLY! Instead, build up your play through shorter passes.

My face is in the glass; here’s a perfect blind pass
Take a second to at least turn your player in the right direction before making a bomb pass forward to start a rush. Realism please.

Auto-deke, spin-o-rama
Sparingly, please. And with the right players.

You made your move, you’re alone against the goalie but you’re not in the right angle or whatever? So you circle back? No dude, don’t reset - take the shot on goal.

Goalie passing
Excluding on the PP, freeze the puck. Rest your lines, slow the pace. It's not handball, lacrosse and it's not a race.

Hooking - Never hook!
This would be a penalty 100% of the time in real life, so don’t do it.
- If your CPU player hooks an opponent, give the puck back immediately. These things can happen and you can only control what happens after.

Poke check
- A timely poke check to strip the puck anywhere on the ice is fair game. Charging with poke check pressed down all over the ice is not.
- Incessant poke checking - button mash - is banned
- Using poke check as shield to block shots a mile away from the shooter is banned.
- Crease sitting with poke check pressed down is banned. Play positional D, not 2nd goalie.

Hipchecks are frowned upon and are deemed dangerous because they can injure, much like head shots in the NHL today.

resulting in an injury: Intentionally or not, GM or CPU, any hipcheck resulting in an injury can be reviewed by the admins (with stream as evidence) and disciplinary actions could be taken, including player and GM suspensions. Repeat offenders will have an impact on suspension length.

no injury: Intentionally or not, GM or CPU, multiple hipchecks in the same game can be reviewed by the admins (with stream as evidence) and disciplinary actions could be taken, including player and GM suspensions. Repeat offenders will have an impact on suspension length.

Hitting and bumping from behind
- Keep your hits along the boards and in the slot area. Open ice hits are a big no no.
- In a puck race, don’t bump a player away from the puck – especially when from behind. This would be an automatic interference penalty in real life. If you accidentally bump in this situation, give the puck back immediately. These things can happen and you can only control what happens after.

Desperation D
- Poke from behind - banned
- Bumping from behind - banned
- Backing up your Dman in the crease and using him as a 2nd goalie - banned
- Diving - use sparingly, like almost never.

Don't argue, insult or harass your opponent
Talk after the game about things you liked and things you disliked. We're all friends here, so be friendly.

Targets OFF!
This is realistic league. If you don't know that by now you are asleep! When was the last time you saw a BULLSEYE inside a hockey net during a game? Wake up people!

Respect a 5 goal mercy rule at all times


- Use the hook button + direction. Otherwise, NEVER HOOK!

For those of you who use the hook resulting in a kick pass, this is essentially just like a hard pass. Make sure to respect the 2 pass rule before any shot can be taken on goal.

- No mash
Under Rule 76.4 of the NHL Rules: "the sticks of both players facing-off shall have the blade on the ice, within the designated area." Therefore, button mashing at the faceoff dot is BANNED, if this was not clear already. Please time your button press with the puck drop.

- Even Steven
Keep draws about 50% throughout the game. Don’t win all the important defensive and offensive draws and leave the neutral zone ones to your opponent. Don't start giving back faceoffs only when you're up on the scoreboard. You’re not fooling anyone.

Cheap goals to stay away from

The general rule of thumb here is, mix things up. Try new things. The game might surprise you.

Trick shot that makes the goalie slide wickedly away from his net.
Whatever you're doing to make this happen, it's now BANNED from VHA!

the famous 1-2 deke
This is the move that makes a player fake left and shoot right, or fake right and shoot left. By now, everyone can basically pull off at an almost automatic success rate.
- Please limit this to 0 to 1 attempt per game.
- A breakaway is not an automatic goal. Show some originality in your gameplay and think of another move you can make.

Floating shots
Including backhand slow wrist shots from the blue line. It's cheap and ugly. BANNED.

Backhand one-timers
- Visual nightmare and totally unrealistic unless you are a few feet from the net. Use sparingly, like almost never.

One GM told me he removed one-timers entirely from his repertoire because the success rate is too low. This approach is *insert fart noise*. Try new things. The game might surprise you.

If you score one of these goals by accident, do the right thing and offer this goal back immediately. Be a good sportsman and do the right thing.

Playing on the PK

Clearing the puck is priority #1.

The game AI simply does not do enough to balance the risk/reward factor to an offensive mindset like it is in real life.
- Exception : Late in the 3rd period, if you pull your goalie, you may disregard this rule and play as if it was even strength.
- Circling back and killing the clock is strictly forbidden. The game’s AI simply doesn’t react well enough in this situation.

Valid SH goal opportunities
- While on the PK, if you strip the puck at your blue line, intercept a pass in the neutral zone or the offensive zone with a clear path to the net, the realistic hockey play calls for a shorthanded shot attempt.