What is exactly HockeyManager?
HockeyManager or #hockeyman is a free online hockey fantasy game available here http://www.hockeyman.net created and managed by me, Xavier.
As a player your objective is to predict the game scores of real competitions and/or build the best virtual team. The game is already covering Belgian, French and Spanish national championships as well as all the major FIH events like the World Cup, World Leagues and Champions Trophy for men and women. The Hero India league 2015 was also covered for the first time this winter.
For score predictions you can predict scores until 2 hours before the beginning of the game, and results are updated few hours after the last game of the day. The nearest you predict the score the more points you get. This is a really simple way of starting to play Hockey Manager.
For competition for which I can get access to electronic game sheets, then you can play a more advance game which allows you to build a virtual team based on real players. Your team will be valued based on how your selected players performed in real life. They will earn or lose points of their team win/lose and if they score goals, also in case of cards they will get penalty points. A clean sheet will be a bonus for the keepers and defenders.
Which competitions will be covered in the future?
The World League Semi-Finals will be all covered by HockeyManager. All the fixtures are already loaded and you can start registering and build your score predictions. Once the player list will be validated (which is around 5 to 10 days before the competition), you will be able to build your own virtual team.
For the upcoming year I would like to add Netherlands, Germany and England championships, at least and in a primary stage for the score prediction.
How is this game different from other online games?
I believe that today, Hockey Manager is the largest fantasy game for field hockey in the world. More than just providing game results and statistics, it allows you to play against and with people sharing the same sport, passion and values.
It helps the gamer community to keep in touch with their local championships and see how well their national and favourite players are performing. For real players the built-in scoring mechanism provide them some fun way to compete outside of the pitch, inside a team and across buddies. Finally over the time, the system will accumulate enough data to provide interesting statistics not easily available today. Like how many games a certain player have played in his national championship and how many goals it has scored or how many cards it has got. Even more interestingly, does his team have won when he was playing ? Or what will be the probability he may score a goal in the next games.
How this all have been started?
The genesis started back in 2006. One of my club member, St Germain Hockey Club, have built the first version of what was called hockeyman for the French men championship. The game was very popular in the French hockey community with lots of discussion around the pitch and inside each teams. Despite this success it was difficult to keep the system updated. As everything was manual, the guy has to call all coaches on the Sunday evening to get the scores, cards, scorers and eventually new players. This was not viable and the game naturally stopped.
After a while, in 2013 this idea came back in a bar discussion as some sort of challenge. Because I’m a software developer and a recent passionate hockey player I took up the challenge. As I wanted to have my Sunday mostly free, I’ve built an automatic system which minimize manual actions, reading results from web sites. And gradually I’ve added new score and championship providers. The real launch have been done in May 2014 with the French National Championship being the first competition covered and the naturally The World Cup. I have then added Spain, Belgium and HIL. Recently I have added Belgium game sheets and player ranking, thanks to @hockeybelgium and Laurent for his help collecting missing game information.
Who is playing HockeyManager?
The main community is coming from France because it is where I come from and because we have several local relays for communication, which help in building the community. Then Belgium is very active with some of the national team members being active players (I will leave the reading finding them by themselves). Europe is well represented, and after HIL lots of India players have registered. Finally because of the Champions Trophy and World League there are players all around the world.
Who is the guy on the logo?
Tom Genestet, a well-known French player from St Germain Hockey Club (SGHC), playing in the French National team, now playing at Leuven in Belgium with his brother Hugo. The third brother Martin is also playing the French national team making this team certainly the only one with 3 brothers in it.
What are your wishes for Hockey Manager?
I have to balance the time I’m dedicated to Hockey Manager between technical work to make evolution, and communication work so that new members will join or existing members will knows what is happening. My time is limited and I’m looking for external communication relay that would help me in keeping the community hot, some kind of community manager of you like.
Also if I could find traction inside the various federation or inside the FIH that would be really helpful in order to reach branding agreement as well as building data connectors.
Finally I wish that the game will become more popular, that it will help in building a strong and passionate community, and help our sport, teams and players to be more well known.