How Does Hockey Lottery Work

How Does Hockey Lottery Work?
The hockey lottery is a process used by professional hockey leagues to determine the draft order for teams who did not qualify for the playoffs. Here are five supporting facts about how the hockey lottery works:

1. Odds are determined by team performance: The lottery odds are typically determined based on the teams’ regular-season performance. The lower a team’s ranking, the higher their chances of winning the lottery.

2. More chances for lower-ranked teams: In most hockey leagues, the lottery gives more lottery balls or combinations to the teams with the worst regular-season records. This increases their chances of winning a higher draft position.

3. Drawing for multiple picks: The lottery is not only used to determine the first overall pick; it also establishes the draft order for multiple picks, usually the top few selections in the draft.

4. Ping pong ball system: One common method used in hockey lotteries is the ping pong ball system. Teams are assigned a certain number of balls based on their odds, and the balls are placed in a machine that randomly selects the winning combination.

5. There can be surprises: Even though the lottery is designed to reward the lower-ranked teams, there are no guarantees. Sometimes, teams with a low chance of winning end up securing the top overall pick, leading to surprises and excitement for fans and organizations.


1. Which hockey leagues use a lottery system?
– The National Hockey League (NHL) and several other professional hockey leagues around the world use a lottery system.

2. How are the odds for each team determined?
– The odds for each team in the hockey lottery are typically determined based on their regular-season performance. The worse a team’s record, the higher their chances of winning the lottery.

3. Are all teams eligible for the lottery?
– No, in most cases, only teams that did not qualify for the playoffs are eligible to participate in the lottery.

4. How many picks are determined by the lottery?
– The number of picks determined by the lottery can vary. In the NHL, for example, the lottery determines the draft order for the top three picks.

5. Can a team win multiple picks in the lottery?
– Yes, it is possible for a team to win multiple picks in the lottery. This is usually determined by the lottery rules set by the league.

6. What happens if a team wins the lottery?
– If a team wins the lottery, they are given the opportunity to select players with the corresponding draft picks they have won.

7. Are the lottery results always fair?
– While the lottery system is designed to be fair, there will always be debates and discussions about its fairness. Some argue that teams intentionally “tank” to increase their chances of getting a higher draft pick.

The hockey lottery is a fair and exciting way for teams with poorer regular-season performances to have a chance at securing higher draft picks. The results of the lottery are determined by various factors like team performance, odds, and random drawing methods. Although surprises can happen, the lottery overall aims to provide a level playing field for teams seeking to rebuild and improve their rosters.