You may not have noticed on account of all the NFL scandals and exhilarating MLB postseason games, but the 2014-15 NHL season gets underway tonight with eight teams in four marquee matchups, while the rest of the league kicks things off tomorrow. And the best thing you can do to get ready—besides picking your favorite sweater up from the dry cleaner—is by loading your phone with a few hockey apps.
“But hey,” you interject, “I don’t know which hockey apps to get? Can’t anybody help me?” Well friend, the answer is yes. We can help you. Today we’ve put together this list of the best hockey apps (and a few general sports apps that also are excellent for hockey) that will really enhance your experience of the 2014-15 NHL season. Take a look, download ’em, and then tell us what you think. Or not. I don’t care. Hockey is back!
We might as well start with the obvious: download your favorite team's app. Every team has one, they're all free, and they all basically cram the content of the official team website into a phone friendly package, and they all do a pretty good job of giving you scores, stats and, most importantly, game highlights.
Of course, there's also plenty of content you think you'll never look at. But then again, you never know when you're going to get stuck in an elevator or something.
9. Your Team's App
Last fall a couple of guys went on the CBC's Dragons Den (i.e., the inspiration for ABC's Shark Tank) and pitched Shnarped, a social media app designed specifically for hockey fans that connects them to officially verified players. They got a deal from the Dragons which eventually fell through (more about that here) after the Shark Tank's Mark Cuban decided he wasn't interested. But the app still got a ton of publicity and has been going pretty strong ever since. It's free and definitely worth a look.
To be honest, for the average sober person, this app will get old in about five minutes. However, if you like to get together with friends to watch hockey and drink (a lot of) beer, you'll love it.
Basically it's a goal light on your phone. It doesn't go off automatically when your team scores (though that would be AWESOME). You have to manually turn it on with that sweet-looking virtual on/off switch. But if one of your buddies happens to root for your team's arch rival, you will LOVE flipping this baby on and holding it about in inch away from his face after your team scores a goal.
7. Bauer Goal Light
Personally I can't stand the visual design of Bleacher Report or their app. But apparently I'm the only one, because both are wildly popular with sports fans. And I will admit that, design aside, the app is pretty great. You choose your favorite teams, and it pulls news and updates from all over the web and social into a single stream. Smart, smart, smart.
You can use it for other sports besides hockey, but why? All the other sports suck. (Haha I'm such a troll.)
6. Bleacher Report Team Stream
If you're serious about hockey, then you have to read The Hockey News, the only major North American (English) news publication devoted entirely to hockey. And what's the easiest way to read THN? On your phone, with their app, while you sit on the toilet. (Don't bother acting like you're grossed out. You know it's true.) The app itself it kind of mediocre, to be honest. It's the content—news, stats, analysis—that you want.
5. The Hockey News
Yahoo Fantasy is basically the most popular fantasy sports app in the world. In fact, you're probably already using this app for fantasy football. Why not use it for hockey, too? Draft your team, set your rosters, keep up on player news and stats, and follow the action—all with one single app.
4. Yahoo Fantasy
This one is like your basic sports score app, only dedicated entirely to hockey. Choose your favorite teams, select the kinds of notifications you want, and you'll never miss a story, play, or score again. Very useful, and a nice clean design, too.
3. TSN Hockey
You can get NHL scores with practically any sports app. What set this hockey app apart is the video content. Not only do you get tons of official highlights but, if you're desperate enough to pay $159 USD ($179 CDN) for a subscription, you can also stream live games all season and throughout the playoffs.
Of course, that subscription is a total ripoff. MLB's streaming service costs $99 for the regular package and $120 for the premium package, and that gives you TWICE AS MANY GAMES.
I'm not 100% sure why the NHL charges you 60% more money for 50% less content, but have a feeling it's the same reason why they feel they can just cancel half a season every seven years or so. (I.e., NHL fans are just too hardcore and will do anything for hockey.)
2. NHL GameCenter
Our #1 hockey app isn't a hockey app. It's an all-purpose sports app. But it's the best all-purpose sports app, and it's based in Canada. So they take their hockey coverage seriously.
What makes The Score app so great? Well, for starters, the design is great and the layout intuitive, and you can pick all your favorite teams and choose from a variety of push notifications. But that's not all. The Score is a mobile-first sports news site, so the original content is also very good. They don't just repackage a bunch of AP stories. They give you original news and opinion in easily digestible chunks.
Get this app now and say goodbye to ESPN's SportsCenter app forever.