Hockey fans unite on online pools

Hockey fans across Canada clanged their beer bottles in victory this week as the Montreal Canadiens defeated the defending champion the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 in the final game of their second-round series.

No wonder jersey-wearing fans everywhere are gearing up for an exciting season and putting the final touches on their hockey pools. After all, Canadians love to bet on their favourite teams. The average Canadian household made $74,184 in pre-tax money in 2008, but spent $260 of that money on games of chance, according to Statistics Canada.

The federal agency said 70.4 percent of the population participated in a game of chance in 2008. Take out the people who don't play and gambler households spent $369 on average. Even the nation's celebrated past-time pales in comparison: the average Canadian spent only $92 on movies in 2008.

But while you can't exactly use your credit card to place bets, you can make the most of your plastic by signing up for an online hockey pool. Hockeydraft.ca, Armchairpools.com and PoolExpert are all online outfits that allow you to manage your hockey pools, update player and team stats, participate in fantasy pools and trash talk using private messaging, all of which is paid for using a credit card.

Here's what you need to know about some of today's most popular online hockey pool sites.

Hockeydraft.ca
The low-down: Designed by die-hard hockey fans, this site includes everything from daily stats updates and live, real-time stats to late-breaking news and articles, as well as downloads like cheat sheets.

Price: Hockey fans can test the waters with a free seven-day trial. Following that, there is either a $29.97 fee or a $20 fee per pool (not per person).

Armchairpools.com
The low-down: Pick the players you think will score the most goals and assists in the playoffs with a simple, user-friendly interface. NHL stats are uploaded nightly, allowing you to easily manage or belong to multiple pools and track your team's progress. Special features include the ability to trash talk your poolies using private messaging, deliver evites to potential poolies, and track recent activity on Facebook.

Price: All pools are $20 and include a free trial.

PoolExpert
The low-down
: Simply select your players, enter them into a database using an easy administration tool, and let PoolExpert do the rest. Each day receive updates on players and team stats in order to track your team's progress. What's more, compare players and teams against those of others in your pool using PoolExpert's report function. These reports are generated instantly and can be printed off using a customized printing option. Price: A free 14-day trial. $2 per person per pool to a maximum of $30 per pool. So for an eight-person pool, the cost will be $16, for a 12-person pool, the cost will be $24, etc. For a 20-person pool, the cost will be $30 (because of the maximum price for pools with less than 100 participants). This will cover the entire season.

Published May 14, 2010

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