New App Has NCAA Roots
After graduation, Dustin Sproat and Kyle Hagel saw former Princeton teammates scatter throughout pro hockey. Some, like Darroll Powe, George Parros and Kevin Westgarth, made it to the NHL, while others bounced around minor leagues and Europe.
Fellow alums working on Wall Street or in grad school were easy to track relative to players subject to trades and free agency. Moves like that actually reunited Sproat and Hagel – they played together on the 2008-09 Fresno Falcons – and led to their first discussions about an initiative launched last month.
“Shnarped” is the result of their collaboration, a free app for iPhones and iPads that allows users to track professional hockey players at all levels. A player could follow his former teammates – or a fantasy hockey owner could enter their lineup – and updated stats from those players are delivered to the end user.
“After every game, there’s so much movement that you can’t keep track of everyone,” Sproat said this week from British Columbia. “You can be best buddies with a guy for three months, all of a sudden he’s gone and you want to be able to keep track of how he’s doing. We realized that if we could put together a tool that did that, along with a social media component, it could be great.”
The app includes a social component as well, with fans able to interact with players by giving them a “pound” (or fist bump) and posting on their wall. More than 100 pro players are verified on the app.
Sproat and Hagel have contemplated the idea since that 2009 season, but really moved on it this past summer. Sproat, retired from hockey, is in business school in Vancouver. Hagel, who is playing for the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, moved to Vancouver for the summer and the pair outsourced some of the programming work.
It’s not the first time the two have worked together. They were part of a group of players who founded Hockey Players for Kids (HP4K), a nonprofit that works with hockey players to help them make a positive impact on the communities where they live.
Roots on campus
HP4K’s entire Board of Directors is made up of former college players, five of them from Princeton. Sproat traces his motivation and ability to launch both Shnarped and HP4K to campus.
“If I hadn’t gone to college, there’s no way I could do these things,” he said. “It helps set your sights high, shows you what you can accomplish and gives you the tools you need to be able to make it happen.”
Sproat hopes to bring Shnarped full circle by including college players and potentially recruits in the app in the future. In the meantime, it keeps growing organically with more and more fans downloading the app every day.