Fantasy turning into reality

Squamish resident en route to winning fantasy hockey prize

A Squamish resident has proven his hockey knowledge to the rest of the country and now might get a brand new car for his efforts.

Malwinder Sidhu, who has called Squamish home since 1994, was in first place in the CBC Hockey Night in Canada Fantasy Pool as of Wednesday (Jan. 11) and will find out on Saturday (Jan. 14) whether he will walk away with a 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid for finishing first.

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All he needs is his players for the week - including the Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin and Kevin Bieksa - to put up a bunch of points.

"I've been playing fantasy hockey for a few years now," Sidhu said. "I follow hockey quite a bit but I've never played it where you have to pick players every week [like with CBC]. I'm doing this every week and after a while I realized I was on top, I had a little bit of luck."

Lady luck may be on Sidhu's side but his hockey knowledge doesn't hurt. Every week he and thousands of other participants are asked to select different players from NHL teams. The point totals are complied for each skater, along with win totals for each goalie. Sidhu said his strategy for selecting players is pretty simple.

"I pick mostly players who are playing four games and I pick the players who play more games at home," he said. "But sometimes you pick guys who have three games, when you watch hockey you know about the players. I know almost every player in the league."

Sidhu said picking goalies can be a little tougher. He said he usually goes with teams that play their starting goalie at lot and tries to avoid the goalies for teams that play back-to-back games.

Hockey has been a passion for Sidhu ever since he arrived in Canada from India in the early '90s. He spent time in Winnipeg before coming to Squamish and experienced the sensational rookie season of Teemu Selanne. After following Selanne, Sidhu was hooked on the sport.

"In India we don't really know about hockey," he said. "When I lived in Winnipeg it was the year that Selanne scored 76 goals and people were just talking about him all the time and I slowly started to follow it. I'm a big Canucks fan now and watch hockey all the time but Selanne is still my favourite player."

Perhaps even more impressive about Sidhu's rise to the top of the standings is the fact that he was out of the country from Oct. 27 to Dec. 3. He was visiting India but still making his picks online, as well as getting some help from his son Krandeeb Sidhu.

"I've been very surprised by how I've done," he admitted with a chuckle. "I was sending my picks from India and I really didn't know how they're doing. I wasn't watching any games, only I know which players are good and which are bad."

Sidhu said his son is a big hockey fan, has helped out with some of the picks and is excited to see his dad's name near the top of the standings. The employee of the Whistler Hilton Resort and Spa will be watching intently on Saturday night to see if his name is at the top of the standings.

"This is the last week for winning the and I think it's all about luck for this week," he said. "I would love to win the car; it's like a $35,000 car. I don't think there's any prizes for second place but I need a car - that would be good."

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