Ab Initio Games

Retro Interactive Sports, Historical & Sci-Fi Games

Online & Postal Games since 1986

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Slapshot - NHL Ice Hockey

All the action, no bruises. Your chance to be an NHL Ice Hockey Coach.


* Coach your own NHL club from the comfort of your own home

* Compete in a league against other coaches throughout the world

* Play by Internet or Play by Mail - your choice

* Play through full regular season and playoffs

* Sign players, draft players, choose lineups and deal with injuries

* The ultimate in NHL simulation games, running all year round

Slapshot is a simulation of NHL Ice Hockey. You are the coach and manager of an NHL club, taking your team through the regular season and then the playoffs, trying to reach and win the Stanley Cup.

In Slapshot we try to make the game work the same way as in real life, with realistic decisions to be made about team management. The choices you make are the same as you’d have to make in real life. Sometimes you’ll have to make tough decisions, whether to sign better players, or develop your stadium and income sources to improve your future finances.

In addition to the management decisions about signing and cutting players you’ve also got to shuffle your lineups from game to game. You’ve injuries to contend with, as well as players losing form. You have to decide which players to play in which lines together, who to use in power-play situations and in short-handed situations. You also have to decide how regularly you can play your star goaltender.

Slapshot is a management game. Rather than concentrating on the "game-day" coaching aspect the focus of the game is on longer-term roster building, though there is still a significant element of control over game-day decisions.

How it Works

Players and Skills

Game Day Decisions

Roster Management

Playoffs and Draft

Game Reports

Games and Turnfees

Writing Orders/Play by Email

Overseas Players

How to Join


How it works

Your objective is to win the Stanley Cup against teams run by other players drawn from all over the country (and around the world). Each league contains thirty teams, divided into two conferences. Each conference is divided into three divisions, each of which contains five teams. During each turn you play five games against teams within your league. 

You have to make a mixture of decisions: both "playing" decisions and "management" decisions are equally important for an Ice Hockey manager.

Players and skills

Each team has an "active" roster (players available for selection every game) of twenty-five players, although only eighteen skaters and two goaltenders (the backup rarely plays) are allowed to suit up for each game. In addition each team has a number of reserves, playing in minor leagues, who can be promoted to the active roster at any time. Teams will normally carry three goaltenders in their squad (one in the minors), around ten defensemen and fifteen forwards (wingers and centers). 

Each skater (defensemen and forwards) is rated according to eight skills, while goaltenders are rated according to four. For skaters the skills are Power, Accuracy, Quickness, Control, Passing, Defense, Checking and Stamina. For goaltenders the skills are Reflexes, Balance, Handling and Durability. Each skill has a different effect on a player's ability and performance and some skills may be more important than others for certain positions. 

The better a player’s skills are the more effective he will be, but the higher his wage demands will be. Slapshot is as much about financial management as coaching - you can’t build a "superteam" because you’ve only got limited finances, so the key to success is getting the best value for money out of your roster.

Game day decisions

Each turn you have to decide who’ll play together in your offensive and defensive lines (players tend to play in offensive lines made up of a left wing, center and right wing, and in defensive lines made up of a left defenseman and right defenseman) and how long these lines will play for (the lines rotate on and off the ice during play). Most teams usually have one or two forward lines who are expected to generate most of the goal-scoring, while the other lines are mainly "checking" lines, intended primarily to stop the opposition scoring whilst their star team-mates recover on the bench.

You also determine how much emphasis each player places on attack and defence when he is on the ice. You also have to decide how often (and when) to play your star goaltender and when to play his backup. Depending upon his durability he’ll be able to play in anything from half to four fifths of your games without needing a rest.

Most skaters need some rest during the season, otherwise they’ll be less effective during the playoffs (assuming you reach them) so you’ve also got to try and rest them as you go through the season, without sacrificing your playoff chances. 

In addition to the decisions about your "regular" lineups (when you’ve got five skaters on the ice and so has your opponent) you’ve also got to decide who to play when you’re in power-play situations (when your opponent has a man in the penalty box, so you're trying to make use of the advantage and score), in short-handed situations (when you have a man in the penalty box, so you're playing all out defence) and in four-on-four situations (overtime or if both teams have a man in the penalty box, when both sides have more space on the ice and the game is more open). In all of these special situations teams tend to switch their lineups around to suit the situation.

Roster management

In addition to these "game-day" decisions you’ve also got to make roster decisions and financial decisions during each turn. You can sign players from the free-agent list, or make trades with other managers. Whilst on the free agent list players’ values (and their wages) drop, so you’ll commonly find you’ll need to leave some of your over-priced veterans on the free-agent list and then re-sign them when their demands have dropped to more realistic levels. Other teams may sign them in the meantime but if you lose a player to another team you do get compensation. You also have to make decisions about sending players to the minor leagues, either to turn their form around, or perhaps younger players you wish to develop.

Playoffs and draft

At the end of the regular season the top eight teams in each conference (in fact the three divisional winners, plus the next best five teams known as "wild cards") move forward into the playoffs. These are played over four rounds of best-of-seven series, to determine the Stanley Cup winners. Teams that fail to make the playoffs, or are eliminated during the playoffs take part in a Consolation competition or play pre-season games, readying themselves for the following season.

During the playoffs each team participates in the college draft, signing new talent to their rosters. These are usually "promising" players packed with potential who’ll need a season or two to mature. At the end of each season each player is also assessed for gaining or losing abilities. This is dependent upon a player’s "potential" - a player loses one point of potential each season. A player with lots of potential is likely to gain skills quickly, particularly if his form during the season was good. A player with no potential will start to lose skills. Either way, players’ wage demands increase as they get older so you’ll need to decide whether a player is continuing to provide value for money.

Game reports

Each turn you’ll receive over a dozen pages of reports: a full roster listing with current form, injury details, lineups and so on, plus detailed stats for all of your players. You’ll also receive game reports, showing the key events in each game, and full boxscores for all games you played. 

In addition you'll receive outline reports on all games played in your league that turn, as well as details of free agent signings, trades, injuries and all the other news you’ll need from around the league. There are also many optional stats listings which you can choose to receive, though the extra listings won’t give you an advantage over other managers (though they may well further increase your enjoyment of the game). Many of the stats listings are regularly issued as part of the standard reports.

All reports are sent either by email or via the post – you can play whichever way you wish. Email is the preferred option, and means your game results will be with you within minutes of the games being played.

Games and turnfees

There are a number of games of Slapshot already running. All run with two week deadlines (so you've fourteen days between turns). We have positions available in all of these games that will allow you to start play immediately (as in real-life, you take over a team and try to turn their fortunes around).

Turnfees in Slapshot are £3.25 for one, £13.00 for four, £28.00 for ten and £50.00 for twenty. There are further discounts available if you play in more than one game. Click here for more details of turnfees.

We welcome players from outside the UK. Click here for more details of overseas players.

Sending Orders/Play by Email

Your instructions are normally sent through our active website, but can also be sent by post or fax if required. Click here for more details on play by email

How to join

To join Slapshot you'll need to send £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games) along with your name and address, which covers the cost of your rulebook(s), team setup and first two turns. When you send in your application please give a number of team preferences (real-life NHL teams, the more choices you give the sooner we can start you playing).

To join the game you need to click here to pay your startup fee by credit card via our secure server website, or you can print out the form below and post it to us along with payment.  If you send us your payment electronically please also email Danny McConnell with your team preferences (the more the better, real-life NHL teams) then we'll be able to get you started in a game even more quickly. If you'd rather submit your application by post, please print off the form below and include payment when you send it to us.

Slapshot is run by Danny McConnell of Ab Initio Games. Click here for details of waiting lists.

Please print, complete and return the details below: 


YES, I’d like to join a game of Slapshot

I’ve enclosed a cheque/postal order for £5.00 (payable to Ab Initio Games).

Team Preferences:



Email Address if you're happy to be contacted this way:

Where did you first hear about Slapshot?: 

For more information please contact: Danny McConnell

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