FROM THE SIDELINES: Calling all puckheads and poolies

Have you signed up for the Penticton Western News Cup Online Hockey Pool yet?

Penticton Western News Cup Online Hockey Pool.

Penticton Western News Cup Online Hockey Pool.

The puck dropped on the National Hockey League’s 97th season on Wednesday and what better way to add to the enjoyment of another season than entering a hockey pool?

Have you signed up for the Penticton Western News Cup Online Hockey Pool yet? It’s free to join and there will be more than $4,500 in prizes to be won. Also, if you can top me, you will be eligible for an additional prize. Get your friends in on it too. It can create friendly bragging wars throughout the season.

Being in pools causes you to follow certain players. I find myself at times checking the various apps on my phone to see how my players perform, or don’t. Sometimes I don’t have the patience to wait for the highlights to find out who produced for me. Among the players I will follow closely in this pool will be Edmonton Oilers rookie Connor McDavid as well as second-year Vancouver Canucks forward Bo Horvat, who are among the players I have chosen. I’m also counting on Duncan Keith to help lead me to the top. I decided I should add some Penticton flavour with the former Panther. There is another player with a Penticton connection you can choose in rising star Ryan Johansen, who played one season with the Vees in 2008-09. He played in his first all-star game in Columbus last season.

When it comes to picking players, if you’re in other pools and did your homework then you will be ahead of the game in this one. I did mine as I recently had drafts for a keeper league and one-year pool. Aside from a couple of decisions made in each, I’m very happy with the team’s I have. In fact, in my keeper pool, a friend told me he believes I have the team to beat. I sure hope he’s right. I’m ready for any takers in this one.

Even though you are not drafting players in the Western News pool, decisions can be tough. For example, in box one, you have your choice of Pittsburgh Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, their arch nemesis from the Philadelphia Flyers in Claude Giroux, Tyler Seguin a shining star with the Dallas Stars, super sniper Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Islanders captain John Tavares — who will now be showing off his incredible skills in Brooklyn (that’s right, the team left Long Island for the Barclay’s Centre). It was a difficult choice for me with this group, especially being  a big Tavares fan.

One of the differences with this pool is that you are also given options to pick players from each of the Canadian teams. There is also a box to select a Canadian team. You earn two points per team win and a bonus point for a shutout. However, you lose a point for losses. As big of a Canucks fan as I am, I did not pick them. I try to avoid picking with my heart to give myself the best chance to win.

I look forward to the challenge of being chased by, you, our reader, or doing the chasing.

Get in on the fun if you haven’t signed up. Did I mention that it’s free? You can’t beat that.

To sign up, visit our website, The fine details of the contest are there. Once you click on the logo or pool name it will direct you to to get you started. Once you’re done, watch the points pile up for your team. Good luck everyone.

Emanuel Sequeira is the sports editor for the Penticton Western News