The HFNHL was launched in 1998, first entry draft was summer 1999 (#17, Brett Lysak - and to make it worse, I was mad that Nick drafted Scott Kelman before I could!).
We had a brief flirtation with a minor-league set-up in 1999/2000- the HFAHL - with direct affiliation agreements and sharing of players. It just proved too logistically difficult to manage. Heck, we have trouble enough keeping up with the demands of one league, never mind running two that could exchange players!
ah yes... the 1999 draft. The year I made Sheldon Keefe my first pick in the draft (second round).
Followed by Tom Kostopoulos, Ryan Lauzon, Andrew Nahirniak, Mario Joly, and Levente Szuper.