October is the perfect storm for American sports fans: Baseball fans have the World Series, basketball fans have the opening games of the season, and football fans are just getting a good look at the playoff scenario. Against this triple threat, hockey fans (especially those in the United States) tend to get the short end of the stick, so to speak. ESPN is bucking that trend: today they posted the very first build of the network's official Fantasy Hockey app to the Play Store.

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If you're into fantasy sports, this is familiar territory for you: get a bunch of fans together, form a league, have a draft, then watch your digital player simulacrums duke it out week to week. The Android app has all of the major features of ESPN's online Fantasy Hockey service, including live fantasy scores, starting/benching players, adding or dropping players, and trading with fellow league members. There's a league message board and the typical sports coverage and fantasy-flavored analysis that seems to be standard for fantasy apps.

The app itself seems to conform more to ESPN's own televised interface than Holo, and it also includes in-network advertising, but it's bad form to complain too loudly for a free service and app. ESPN Fantasy Hockey is available for Android devices running 2.3 or later.

The app was not found in the store. :-(