Scoring Title – Believe it or not, the scoring title has been won by a different player every season: Probie, Jeff, Derek, Hicks and Hogg. Logic would dictate that eventually someone would have to repeat but thus far it appears that winning twice is more difficult than it would appear. Unlike the ladies title, however, the field has never won it. Austin, Mike T and McQuade are the highest listed players to never have won the title (partially because Mike T was a mercenary extraordinaire for the past year), making them the easy choices here. Some action has come in on Brett to win in his first season but if I’m making a dark-horse pick it would be Ariel, likely to play offense for a good chunk of the season for the first time in his D5 career.
Ladies’ Scoring Title – Cherie is the only repeat winner to win the ladies scoring title but the field has one victory, when Julie won it in the Fall 2018 season after playing on maybe the best line in league history with Luke and Yetter. The toughest part of predicting this award is sorting out which ladies are likely to play forward and which are likely to play D this season. With Meg and Cherie like to join players like Sena, Shelly, Tash and Carlin on defense, it’s a wide open race. Despite the fact that I’ve never seen her play, I think Jaime McDonnell is an intriguing pick in a Hippos system where she’ll be encouraged to stretch the defense by hanging in the offensive zone, leading to a ton of scoring chances and nom-nom-noming on the bench.
Rookie Scoring Race – Tons of action has come in on Brett, the presumptive favorite, and Jaime has a good shot to be the first lady to ever win the rookie scoring race, but if you’re not in love with either of these picks the field has never looked so good. We’ve never had the field take down the rookie title but if ever there was a season for it, this could be it with a bunch of new players including trendy sleeper pick Dan Burns, who maintains rookie eligibility despite beginning his hockey career before many league members were born (true stat; a lot of you are shockingly young). Whomever does win it, let’s hope they have a longer and more prosperous career than the paper towel man Jake Braun who has one of the most fascinating career arcs in sports history: from surprise 5th round pick, to rookie of the year sensation, to one of the biggest 1st round draft busts ever, to playoff hero and now out of the league. Poor guy. At least he’s getting laid (thank you Hinge).
Lowest GAA – The field has taken two of the past three top goalie awards, perhaps because it’s so heavily impacted by the defense around them. deLacy came out of nowhere after not having played in goal in years to win it in the Spring 2019 season and Jeff Green went from unknown wildcard to winning as a rookie in the Summer 2019 season and defending his crown in the Fall. While it’s tough to bet against the two time defending champion, Tim K or Max, in a league where we really have no idea what’s what until the games start, the field gives you five capable goalies and odds are at least two of them will have a good defense. Bet on randomness and take the field.
Grand Salami – After a shootout victory a team gets awarded a “goal” for standings purposes (ie a 3-3 tie becomes a 4-3 win), but that does not count for the purposes of the Grand Salami bet which tracks the total goals scored during the season. There were 197 goals in the Fall after 218 in the Summer and 206 in the Spring. Are the goalies getting better, are defenses adjusting or was this just random chance? In any case – we have 36 games per season so the line of 199.5 assumes 5.54 goals per game; this makes sense as 5.5 is the standard o/u for hockey (recent explosion in NHL scoring aside). It seems like more games finish under than over so the median will be below this number, but there are more outlier games that skew the average on the over side (a 7-6 win would be 7.5 goals over expectation while a 0-0 pre-shootout tie, the lowest possible, would only be 5.5 under). I’d probably go with the under if I had to choose but then again, I’m a defenseman.
Rescheduled Games – The over/under for games not completed on schedule is 8.0, which is two full weeks. Incredibly, while this line is subject to the vast randomness of weather patterns, it has been incredibly consistent with 8 games postponed in Spring 2019, 7 in the Summer and in the Fall we went the first 7 weeks on schedule before both of the last two weeks were postponed. Call your weatherman, consult your farmer’s almanac – whatever it is you do, this is somehow usually the toughest one to predict. And yes, I may cancel games just for shits if too many of you bet the under.
Championship Captain (Male or Female) – The championship has been won three times by female captains (Julie once and Cherie twice) and just twice by male captains (Ben) despite the fact that the ladies have captained 16 teams vs 22 by the gentlemen. This season we have 5 male captains and 3 female captains so just mathematically, without even looking at the strength of the rosters, the men should have an edge of 25% vs the ladies (62.5% vs 37.5%). Morgen’s team was rated as the preseason favorite but only one team (the OG Goonies) won after being ranked with the best odds before the season. At +155 (meaning a $20 max bet would collect $31 in winnings plus the $20 stake back), the ladies are a great value if you like the female-helmed team or just want to call yourself a feminist under the flimsiest of pretenses.
Worst Degenerate Gambler – Take it from me: I’ve been getting KILLED betting on NHL, NBA, college hoops, the XFL, European soccer, women’s tennis…it’s been bad. And yet, even I don’t have much of a chance of dethroning the two time defending worst gambler, SBJ. If there was a hall of fame for ball hockey gambling losses, not only would McQuade be in it but the entire building would be named after him. Most people pay around $150 to play D5; McQuade’s been paying around $400 per season. We thank him for his service. And now, onto the big one…
District Five Championship – No, the big one is not just a reference to Probert’s Ass; it’s the D5 Championship Cup, the light at the end of the tunnel for all the captains who spend days preparing for the draft, weeks getting their team to show up to games and months wondering how they fucked up their draft so badly when it all goes to shit. Captain Morgen’s Pirates look like the team to beat but it’s also possible that I’m biased because she seemingly stole half my picks. The Hooligans and Sexier have a murderer’s row of talent at the top of the lineup while the Hippos and Cup Size will try to win with depth and goaltending. The Goal Diggers are bing offered at 4 to 1 odds, a great price for a squad with elite talent like Mike T and Tash with Casca holding it down in net. And while our guest reporter picked Purple Tuna to take it down, the most interesting team to bet on here has to be Crimson Wave. This has to be the highest variance team in the league; I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished top 3, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if they finished last. Here’s a team that used a 1st round pick on a guy that no one’s ever seen play ball hockey, a 2nd rounder on a goalie who will miss the playoffs and has five different rookies on the team. But with Meg coming off winning female MVP of Feasterville and Carlin always annoying as hell to play against, don’t be surprised if they find a way to make it interesting. Their first game of the season against Jack and the aforementioned Tuna will go a long way towards deciding whether this was a savvy pick or a trap I laid for all you square bettors.