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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, we won’t hear any sleigh bells ringing, nor will we be decorating our houses with colorful lights – unless you want to, that’s your choice. The NHL Playoffs are right around the corner!

Early registration for the Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge is open, so head over to and see if you can correctly predict this year’s Stanley Cup Champion! Only the Eastern Conference’s second Wild Card spot has yet to be determined so far. But fifteen teams are a lock for postseason action. The first round matchups could be set as early as Saturday and, at the very latest, Sunday evening. The playoffs are set to begin on April 12, so fans will have just a couple of days to see if they can be a playoff expert. Brackets will lock at 6:59pm on April 12.

“The Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in professional sports and hockey fans share in their team’s long and grueling quest for the Cup,” said NHL Chief Marketing Officer & Executive Vice President Heidi Browning. “The Stanley Cup Playoffs Bracket Challenge was developed to channel friendly competition among fans while increasing engagement. In four short years, hockey fans have welcomed bracketology into their Playoffs experience.”

According to a press release issued by the NHL, fans can compete with friends and family in private leagues and with fellow hockey fans worldwide in public leagues. A leaderboard will allow fans to see how their brackets are performing compared to fellow competitors in their leagues and fans competing globally in the Bracket Challenge. Fans can share their brackets on Facebook and Twitter with the official hashtag #NHLBracket.

Fans can even follow along with the “Famous Hockey Fans” league where notable celebrities will compete amongst each other to see who predicted the right series’ winners and games. Since the Bracket Challenge’s inception, the league has featured predictions from Jon Hamm, Michael J. Fox, Kevin Smith, David Boreanaz, Taylor Kitsch, Will Arnett, Boomer Esiason, Willie Geist, Matt Lauer, Snoop Dogg, Alyssa Milano and many more. Last year, actor and Pittsburgh native Joe Manganiello was the victor in the “Famous Fans League” for correctly predicting the Pittsburgh Penguins would hoist the Stanley Cup.

Eight fans will be eligible to win prizes. The Grand Prize includes a trip for two to the 2017 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Think you got what it takes to predict the 2017 Stanley Cup Champion? Best of luck, and happy almost-NHL Postseason!

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Evan is the Hockey Editor for He provides coverage of the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers, as well as some league-wide content.

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