The Stanley Cup Playoffs are just one week away and the NHL is giving hockey fans their own version of March Madness, just one month later.

The NHL is introducing the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoff Bracket Challenge to allow fans to predict each series through the playoffs and share and compare their picks with other fans, friends, family and even celebrities, for prizes.

Beginning April 12th, fans can register for this year’s Bracket Challenge at NHL.com/Bracket in either English or French and can create leagues to challenge their fellow fans. Once the league match-ups are set, they can make their predictions in the online bracket up until April 15, the first day of the playoffs.

New this year are advanced stat resources and a Match-up Analysis tool courtesy of SAP to help fans complete their brackets. The Match-up Analysis uses analytics to examine each series based on a predictive model that incorporates 37 variables including road record, goals against, penalty kill percentages and more.

Once fans have created their brackets, they can share them publicly or create private leagues. The “Famous Hockey Fans” league will again feature brackets submitted by celebrity fans across TV, music, movies and sports including Michael J. Fox, Jon Hamm, Taylor Kitsch and Alyssa Milano. And for those of us mourning the current playoff hopes of the LA Kings – which hang by a thread – note that Milano was last year’s sole winner in the “Famous” league, as she was the only one who correctly predicted the Kings would beat the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final. In fact, according to the NHL, less than 1% of participants worldwide chose the Kings as the champions in last year’s Bracket Challenge. Kudos to Ms. Milano! You can see from the following interview that she takes her hockey very seriously!

 

Recognizing today’s hockey fans are a mobile and social bunch, the NHL will let fans access NHL.com/Bracket via their computers or mobile devices, where they can then share their picks via email or post to Facebook and Twitter using the official hashtag #NHLBracketChallenge. They can also access and play through the official NHL app.

The grand prize winner of this year’s Bracket Challenge will receive an all-expense paid trip to the 2015 NHL Awards in Las Vegas and courtesy of sponsor, Samsung, a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge smartphone. Other prizes include Samsung’s SUHD 55-inch Curved TV.

So whether your team is in (fingers and toes crossed!) or out of the playoffs this year, the NHL Bracket Challenge gives you a way to continue enjoying a successful hockey season well into June.

I'm a PR/marketing and social media professional, writer and swim Mom. Though born and raised in the good old US of A, I've been married to a Swede for more than 25 years and therefore, have developed a love of green marzipan frosting and best of all - HOCKEY! I've spent the past 25 years developing successful communications and marketing programs for technology companies, primarily in the wireless networking and mobile space, and while this day job pays the bills and has resulted in a love of all things tech, my real passions are writing, literature, music and of course, HOCKEY. I was also a fitness instructor for 20 years and if my poor, aging hips and back had cooperated, I might still be barking orders from a step or spin bike. Instead, I placate myself with weekly pilates sessions, taking long walks, and yelling at HOCKEY from my couch. I'm a fan of college sports (UCLA and anyone playing USC), competitive swimming, the two-time Stanley Cup winning, Los Angeles Kings, Dave Matthews Band concerts and good wine. Did I mention HOCKEY?!

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