The National Hockey League issued a social media policy Wednesday for all players and club personnel. The policy, which was collectively bargained with the NHLPA, takes effect immediately.
While nothing shocking was unveiled in the policy, it brings to light that the NHL is trying to hide the fact that its players are…human.
The new policy also makes it clear that players and club personnel will be held responsible for their social communications in the same manner in which they are held responsible for other forms of public communications. As a result, discipline is possible for any social media statements that are made.
This is somewhat a surprising move by the NHL. After the loss of millions of fans due to the 2004-2005 lockout, one would think the league would put forth a policy that encourages interaction with fans. Instead, they initiate a “blackout period” for game days when most fans will be looking for comments and interaction from players. The NHL has made it clear in this policy that players and club personnel will be held responsible for their social communications if the league feels the interaction violates unwritten conduct rules.
It is somewhat respectable that the NHL recognized the internet age and its potential effects on the game, but to initiate a hardcore set of rules and guidelines without giving the players and club members the freedom to use social media speaks loudly that the league is not pushing in the right direction for exposure and a strong fanbase.
Avery’s comments hint that the NHL can’t stop players from using social media networks completely, and with Avery’s history of being a modern day cowboy in the rebel department, we’ll likely see his name once or twice in the same sentence as “fined” in regards to this policy.
Bissonnette removed his original Twitter account at the request of his agent and the Phoenix Coyotes due to the often blunt nature of his comments, but later returned to the website by popular demand under his current username. His good humor and sometimes off the wall comments have given him a strong following on Twitter.
The policy goes a bit far with the blackout period on game days because some users such as Mike McKenna may just want to post a comment about his morning –
And we might miss out on the heartfelt posts of Tyler Seguin –
Notice the date Boston fans? Yeah, me too!
The NHL is the last of the major sports organizations in the United Stated to initiate a social media policy. Another note of the policy, it calls for all parties to “respect your audience” and “pause before posting.”
No. Hit me. I’m a hockey fan and I want to know what the players are really thinking. I want to know and remember that they are…human.
Follow me on Twitter: @FanSidedDerekC