Ultimate Franchise Fantasy Sports has locked up their defence core for the foreseeable future, signing Ethan Bear of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, Braden Schneider of the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, and Nolan Allan of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders as Digital Athlete NFTs on the UFFS platform.
Bear is in his first season with Carolina and fifth year as a pro after previously starring for the Edmonton Oilers, while Schneider and Allan are both first-round NHL draft picks — Schneider for the New York Rangers, 19th overall in 2020, and Allan for the Chicago Blackhawks, 32nd overall in 2021 — with promising potential as professional athletes.
They will launch their digital careers — earning revenue from fantasy gameplay — and NFT collections alongside Legends like Dave (The Hammer) Schultz and former Olympian Ryan Malone, who were the first two hockey players to join UFFS.
“This is a monumental announcement, introducing our first active players from the hockey world and welcoming them to the UFFS team,” said Tony Charanduk, president and co-founder of UFF Sports. “We love our retired Legends but adding active players to the platform takes everything to another level. We can’t wait to see Ethan, Braden and Nolan benefitting from UFFS revenue streams throughout their digital careers as we continue to change the game and empower the players.”
Bear, who won a WHL championship with the Seattle Thunderbirds during his junior days, will likely have 200 NHL games on his resume before his 25th birthday in June.
Schneider, who just turned 20 in September, represented Canada at last year’s World Juniors while captaining the Brandon Wheat Kings to culminate his junior career. He had a strong showing at Rangers’ training camp and is off to an impressive start as a rookie pro with their AHL affiliate.
Allan is already signed by Chicago but will continue to develop in the WHL with the goal of suiting up for Canada at next year’s World Juniors. He helped Canada win gold at this year’s under-18 world championship — celebrating his 18th birthday during that tournament.
All three hail from the province of Saskatchewan — as do all 10 co-founders of UFFS in a fitting connection — and all three are represented by Jason Davidson of Thunder Creek Professional Player Management.
“I’m very excited for my clients to be the first active players with UFFS,” said Davidson. “We are always looking for new and progressive ways to promote our players and their personal brands. We’re excited to get in early on the NFT front and we see a bright future for this platform.”
Bear is a proud member of the Ochapowace Nation near Whitewood, Sask., east of Regina and serves as a role model for Indigenous youth — hosting summer hockey camps back home and last year becoming the first NHL player to wear a jersey with his name written in Cree syllabics.
Schneider is from Prince Albert and Allan is from the small town of Davidson between Saskatoon and Regina.
“My culture and heritage is important to me, and I look forward to expressing that with the creation of these NFTs, especially my 1-of-1 Digital Athlete NFT,” said Bear. “This will be the digital representation of me and my playing career. It will have a special meaning to me, it will tell the story of my journey to the NHL, and will have a special significance to the NFT holder as well. We will share a bond and will be able to share in the success generated by that NFT for years to come — all throughout my playing career and beyond.”
As Digital Athlete NFTs with UFFS, they now have the opportunity to earn revenue based on the percentage of fantasy points contributed to their franchises in the Ultimate Fantasy Hockey League (UFHL), the Ultimate Fantasy American Hockey League (UFAHL), and the Ultimate Fantasy World Juniors (UFWJ), among other leagues in the making.
Bear, for example, is patrolling the blue line for the Monarchs — a franchise with Saskatchewan roots, originally owned by Ashley Murray, the daughter-in-law of Tampa Bay Lightning director of amateur scouting Al Murray — while Schneider in on the Norse Stars’ protected list and Allan is property of Dultak Scouting Service, which is also affiliated with the Norse Stars. Schneider would be playing for UFAHL affiliate Glacier Cats, while Allan could be on the radar for UFWJ franchises ahead of their Inaugural Draft on Dec. 18-19 to launch that revolutionary dynasty league for the World Juniors.
“Fantasy hockey is huge but this is obviously the next level, getting the players involved and giving us a chance to participate and benefit from our fantasy stats,” said Schneider. “That has never been done before, the whole concept is amazing, and I’m pumped to be playing on this platform as a Digital Athlete. It’s cool that they are offering fantasy hockey outside of the NHL, for other leagues like the AHL and now even the World Juniors, and realizing we can be rewarded for our stats at every stage of our development as we strive towards our dream of playing and being key players in the NHL.”
“It’s going to be a lot of fun to follow and be a part of,” added Allan. “UFFS is really on to something here, something big, and we get to be the first to experience it. We get to kind of pave the way for other active players. I’m sure many will be joining us, especially since there’s no investment as a player to sign up as a Digital Athlete. The fantasy side is awesome and the NFTs are going to be great too.”
UFFS is mirroring the real world with minor and junior leagues, offering the most realistic and in-depth fantasy experience with industry-leading partners EliteProspects, PuckPedia, InStat and Fantalytica, as well as Saskatchewan-based uniform supplier Maplewood Hockey.
This is professional fantasy sports and the future of fantasy — incorporating NFTs and blockchain technology, with Score Coin (SCO) as the official currency of the UFFS platform.
“What sets UFFS apart from other NFT projects is the utility, that is the key here,” said George Bachul, who is heading up the newly launched Ultimate Sports NFTs marketplace as director of business development, NFTs and Collectibles, for UFFS. “The shining stars of this platform are the 1-of-1 digital version of our athletes. They generate revenue for the athlete and the NFT holder in a variety of ways, including from fantasy gameplay. Our NFTs don’t just look good, they actually perform and provide return on investment, while also rewarding the athletes for their performances in the real world.”
“We’ve got a whole ecosystem going on, with a real community feel,” said Charanduk, “and we’re thrilled to have this trio of talented defenders in the fold going forward, leading the way for all the other hockey players to come.”
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