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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Bart Copeland, Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White

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Vancouver Startup Shnarped Hockey Mending the Pro Player-Fan Relationship

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/31/13 --

Editors Note: There is a video associated with this press release.

Shnarped Hockey - a Vancouver-based tech startup - is creating a buzz across the hockey world by connecting fans with many of their favourite professional hockey players.

Two of Shnarped's three cofounders met at the UBC Sauder School of Business last year while completing their MBA, and they credit the Vancouver startup scene with much of their recent success. Shnarped operates out of the Launch Academy incubator in gastown alongside 50 other tech startup companies. "The Vancouver community has been an unbelievably supportive place for us to be; people of varying backgrounds have stepped up to help us in every facet of our business, in particular our classmates at Sauder and our peers at the Launch Academy," says Kamil Sikorski, CTO.

Since the 119-day lockout angered many fans into ambivalence, teams and players alike have been looking to connect with fans in a more personal way. The players themselves are rapidly turning to Shnarped's interactive platform to engage their fans and earn back their trust.

"There is a massive, senseless disconnect between the players and the fans that has been exacerbated by the recent lockout," said Dustin Sproat, CEO of Shnarped Hockey. "Shnarped bridges this gap with our interactive 'pound' feature, creating a social environment that is fan, youth, and player-friendly. We are passionate about the values and people that embody the sport of hockey, and hope that our platform can help grow and unite hockey communities around the world."

Being connected is about the details. Shnarped grabbed the attention of the pros by creating dynamic player profiles that combine bio and contract information, current and career statistics, and twitter feeds into one place through an iPhone app (an Android version is intended soon). Fans can interact with pros by sending them a 'pound' (like a fist-bump) with a message, and pros that are verified as regular users can see these messages and show their appreciation by sending a pound-back to the fan.

Here's what the pros are saying:

Erik Condra of the Ottawa Senators

"Receiving 'pounds' is like extending home-ice advantage and bringing our fans on the road... it feels great to be recognized for your efforts."

Jonathan Quick of the L.A. Kings

"The 'pound-back' feature is great. It lets us return all the support we get, sort of like raising your stick to the fans one-by-one."

Over 150 pro players are verified as regular users of the app, including 30 NHL players across 14 different markets. Shnarped has verified pros in: Toronto (Matt Frattin), Philadelphia (Eric Wellwood), Edmonton (Sam Gagner), Montreal (Brendan Gallagher), Vancouver (Jim Vandermeer), and Chicago (Brandon Bollig), as well as Tampa Bay, St. Louis, San Jose, Dallas, Carolina, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Ottawa.

Kevin Westgarth - notable CBA participant and recent Stanley Cup champion with the LA Kings - had this to say about Shnarped: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNk1_Lvh_VU.

Hockey fans can download Shnarped Hockey for free in the iTunes App store. (http://ow.ly/hhWDo)

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