McDonald’s Salute Blackhawks’ Victory with Hockey Stick Fries Bus Shelter

McDonalds - Go Blackhawks

Ad agency Leo Burnett and the McDonald’s operators of Chicago and Northwest Indiana, unveiled a fitting tribute to the hometown Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks with a series of bus shelter displays featuring hockey sticks that looked like french fries. As part of the campaign the agency and McDonald’s will make a donation of hockey sticks to local youth hockey programs.

[via Chicago Business Journal]


Toronto Maple Leafs Invite Fans to “Break the Ice” for Free Signed Jerseys

Toronto Maple Leafs - Frozen Jersey

With the NHL lockout finally over after 625 lost regular-season games, the league is finally ready to get a shortened season underway this weekend. Teams around the league are eager to try to ease the bad feelings of some fans by offering everything from discounts on tickets and concessions, to free beer ‘samples’ from the Ottawa Senators. (Stop. You had me at ‘free beer’)

Here in Toronto, where there’s little doubt that fans will fill the Air Canada Centre tonight for the delayed season opener against the Montreal Canadians, the Maple Leafs organization had the city’s hockey fans abuzz with a unique promotion.

Autographed jerseys of Leafs stars were encased in blocks of ice and dropped off at 9 locations around Toronto. Fans were invited to keep the jerseys if they could get to them.


Get the Puck Out of Here! – Sharks’ Logan Couture Creates ‘Avant Garage’ Art

NHLPA Hockey Gear

Sometimes you can spot the house of a young hockey player just by looking at the garage door. With a driveway (paved or gravel) serving as an ideal spot to work on those slapshots, the garage door serves as the perfect backstop. Whether it was real rubber pucks or orange street hockey balls, they all left a sizable dent.

Back in July, San Jose Sharks all star centre Logan Couture and 8 year-old Ryan spent the afternoon shooting 800 pucks at a garage door, gradually knocking the paint off to reveal the outline of a helmeted hockey player that vaguely looks like Couture. At least I think it’s a hockey player, it’s been a long time since we’ve actually seen one in action.

The afternoon of shooting (boy their arms must have been tired) was captured to create an ad promoting NHLPA hockey gear, sold at Walmart stores across Canada. At the end of the ‘shoot’, Logan signed the garage door, which will be displayed at the Arena in Logan’s hometown of Lucan, Ontario.

The ad was created by Toronto ad agency Lowe Roche, and directed by Dean Vargas for Motion Pantry.

[via Adrants]


Madison Square Garden Invites Instagram Photographers to Document Rangers’ Playoff Game

@nyrangers on Instagram

@nyrangers Locker Room on Instagram

With the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers set to battle it out on the ice at Madison Square Garden tonight, 6 influential Instragram photographers will be documenting the event, before, during and after the game.

The photographers, hosted by Madison Square Garden and Delta will have special access to areas of the arena that not even national press have access to, and have been tasked to document the game in as a creative way as possible. The photos will appear on Instagram and Twitter via the hashtag #NYRDelta, in the Rangers Facebook photo album and on the Rangers’ official fan site

Mauricio Parise, Delta’s U.S. manager of brand marketing communications explained on Mashable that the promotion is an example of how social media has changed traditional notions of sponsorship.

“Just having the sponsorship is not enough — we need to make sure we bring it to life, and social channels are allowing us to do that in ways we haven’t been able to in the past,” he says.

The 6 NYC-area photographers with a combined 743,000 plus followers are:

The Instagram app can be downloaded free on iTunes App Store of in Google Play.

Original Six NHL Teams Score Solid Numbers With Twitter & Facebook

When I started looking at the social media efforts of NHL teams last year, I wondered whether the Original Six teams would had an advantage in attracting fans to their Facebook and Twitter efforts. Would their long histories, established organizations and multi-generational fan bases transfer over to success on social media.

For those who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about, the Original Six NHL teams; Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins; made up the NHL for 25 seasons from 1942 to 1967 when the league expanded to 12 teams.

Original Six vs New Teams

On Facebook the gap is huge with Original Six teams averaging 895,000 page likes per team from a high of the Detroit Red Wings 1,207,807 to a low of 477,081 by the New York Rangers. The remaining 24 teams averaged only 273,156 page likes.

On the Twitter side the gap was a bit smaller, but still the Original Six teams have more than double the amount of followers at 156,768 than the other 24 teams’ average of 72,644 followers.

What does it mean?
What I believe the numbers say is simply that long established franchises have built up solid fan bases over their history, and that that fan base is solidly reflected even in social media.

Follower, Page Likes numbers are current to February 26, 2012.

He Tweets, He Scores! Which Team Leads the NHL in Social Media Success?

Which team leads the NHL in Social Media?It’s NHL All-Star weekend in Ottawa and the best players in the league are set to face off against each other in the skills competition and of course in the big game Sunday afternoon.

Social Media has become an essential part of any organization’s digital communications strategy, and the 30 teams that make up the National Hockey league are no different. The following is a ranking of which teams are (based on my formula) leading the NHL on the four big social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Every team has an active Facebook and Twitter account, only 15 have a YouTube account, and 21 teams have a Google+ page of which 14 are active. I debated whether to include YouTube and Google+ in the final rankings, but in the end I thought it was important to recognize teams that were having success with YouTube and ones that were establishing themselves in Google+. I did not include Foursquare, LinkedIn Groups or Tumblr (the Boston Bruins have an awesome Tumblr page).

It’s obvious when you look at the overall ranking that teams with long histories, strong fan bases and on-ice success are going to rate high. When the numbers were added up the Philadelphia Flyers came out on top, thanks to a top 10 presence on all four platforms. Original 6 teams were in the top half of the list, only the Rangers’ rank suffered at #16 due to their lack of YouTube or Google+ accounts.

To create the individual platform rankings I looked to metrics that would help to show user activity, rather than just rely on number of likes, fans, followers or subscribers to define the team’s success. The numbers in brackets below show where the team ranked on the individual platforms. For example Philadelphia ranked #6 on Facebook, #3 on Twitter, #10 on YouTube and #7 on Google+. When I add these rankings together they add up to 25 which betters Vancouver’s total of 32. You’ll see several teams with rankings of #16 and #22 for YouTube and Google+. For teams that did not have a YouTube account I ranked them all at #16, and for those without any ‘official’ Google+ presence were ranked at #23. (teams with inactive Google+ accounts were rated below the active)

Top NHL Teams on Social Media

  1. 1. Philadephia Flyers (6-3-10-7)
  2. 2. Vancouver Canucks (3-6-16-7)
  3. 3. Detroit Red Wings (4-4-2-24)
  4. 4. Toronto Maple Leafs (7-11-16-1)
  5. 5. Montreal Canadiens (5-15-6-11)
  6. 6. Chicago Black Hawks (1-10-16-15)
  7. 7. Buffalo Sabres (2-7-16-22)
  8. 8. Anaheim Ducks (16-16-1-9)
  9. 9. Edmonton Oilers (12-5-3-25)
  10. 10. Pittsburgh Penguins (14-1-16-16)
  11. 11. Boston Bruins (2-7-16-22)
  12. 12. Los Angeles Kings (15-21-8-3)
  13. 13. Tampa Bay Lightning (18-9-16-5)
  14. 14. San Jose Sharks (10-8-14-17)
  15. 15. Washington Capitals (8-17-16-13)
  16. 16. New York Rangers (9-22-16-12)
  17. 17. Dallas Stars (19-23-16-2)
  18. 18. St Louis Blues (25-13-13-10)
  19. 19. Colorado Avalanche (24-14-16-8)
  20. 20. NY Islanders (26-25-4-22)
  21. 21. Calgary Flames (13-18-12-22)
  22. 22. Nashville Predators (20-12-16-19)
  23. 23. New Jersey Devils (22-19-9-18)
  24. 24. Carolina Hurricanes (27-22-5-21)
  25. 25. Minnesota Wild (17-29-16-19)
  26. 26. Ottawa Senators (23-24-16-22)
  27. 27. Winnipeg Jets (21-27-16-22)
  28. 28. Florida Panthers (29-28-11-22)
  29. 29. Columbus Blue Jackets (28-30-15-20)
  30. 30. Phoenix Coyotes (30-26-16-29)


FacebookWith over 800 million users worldwide, Facebook is the reigning king of social media platforms and all 30 teams have active brand pages there. Over 11.5 million people have ‘Liked’ NHL brand pages with the Penguins, Red Wings, Bruins and Black Hawks leading the league with over 1 million fans each. The new Winnipeg Jets have managed to attract 133,838 ‘Likes’ since launching their page less than a year ago on May 31.

To create the Facebook rankings I used total ‘Likes’, ‘People Talking About’ and percentage of total Page Likes Talking About. People Talking About provides a nice ‘snapshot in time’ adding up all the page, post likes, shares, comments, photo tags over the past 7 days. The ranking for each metric was then added together for a final overall ranking for Facebook.

Top 10 NHL Teams on Facebook

  1. 1. Pittsburgh Penguins
  2. 2. New York Rangers
  3. 3. Philadephia Flyers
  4. 4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. 5. Edmonton Oilers
  6. 6. Vancouver Canucks
  7. 7. Boston Bruins
  8. 8. San Jose Sharks
  9. 9. Tampa Bay Lightning
  10. 10. Chicago Black Hawks


TwitterTwitter is an ideal place for any fan to stay up to date on the latest news and game updates from their favorite NHL team, and all 30 teams have active accounts. Montreal and Vancouver with 233,664 and 216,747 followers respectively are out on front of the pack, with Pittsburgh trailing in third with 167,246 followers. The Winnipeg Jets are the fastest-rising team on Twitter, they already rank #14 in followers despite only launching on May 31st, of 2011.

The Twitter ranking uses number of total followers, the number of lists the team has been added to, as well as the number of retweets and references in previous the 7 days. The results of these individual metrics are added together to create the final twitter ranking.

Top 10 NHL Teams on Twitter

  1. 1. Chicago Black Hawks
  2. 2. Boston Bruins
  3. 3. Vancouver Canucks
  4. 4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. 5. Montreal Canadiens
  6. 6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. 7. Toronto Maple Leafs
  8. 8. Washington Capitals
  9. 9. New York Rangers
  10. 10. San Jose Sharks


YouTubeEvery second one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube, and a quick search on any hockey team will bring up a long list of fan posted clips. Only 15 of the 30 teams have active YouTube accounts, the remaining teams host video on their main sites using the standard Neulion video player. 2007 Stanley Cup champs, the Anaheim Ducks are the leader on YouTube with nearly 1.3 million total views. Almost half of that total is for just two videos, 375,000 views of the Predators Ryan Suter kicking the puck into his own net in a game against the Ducks, and 199,000 watched Anaheim players attempting to speak Finnish. The NY Islanders, who have had an active YouTube account since September 2006 were second with 730,243 total views. The Red Wings followed in third with 565,250 views followed closely by the Oilers with 554,868.

Top 10 NHL Teams on YouTube

  1. 1. Anaheim Ducks
  2. 2. Detroit Red Wings
  3. 3. Edmonton Oilers
  4. 4. New York Islanders
  5. 5. Carolina Hurricanes
  6. 6. Montreal Canadiens
  7. 7. Buffalo Sabres
  8. 8. Los Angeles Kings
  9. 9. New Jersey Devils
  10. 10. Philadelphia Flyers


Google+Google+ may only be 6 months old, but in that time it has attracted 90 million fans and many more to come as Google forces new users to sign up for a G+ and Gmail accounts. Some NHL teams such as Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Buffalo have embraced Google+ and are posting content regularly. 21 of the 30 NHL teams have created ‘official’ Google+ pages, while only 14 of those 21 were active at the time of review.

Teams are ranked on Google+ rankings based on a total of how many circles they have been added to and times they have been +’d. Teams with inactive Google+ accounts were ranked below teams that are active, and teams that have yet to establish any presence were all ranked #22.

Toronto Maple leafs currently lead the league as they belong to 1569 circles and have been +’d 1008 times (as of Jan 27, 2012). Dallas is second belonging to 1231 circles and have been +’d 133 times.

Top 10 NHL Teams on Google+

  1. 1. Toronto Maple Leafs
  2. 2. Dallas Stars
  3. 3. Los Angeles Kings
  4. 4. Buffalo Sabres
  5. 5. Tampa Bay Lightning
  6. 6. Philadephia Flyers
  7. 7. Colorado Avalanche
  8. 8. Vancouver Canucks
  9. 9. Anaheim Ducks
  10. 10. Montreal Canadiens

Hope you enjoyed this social media snapshot of the NHL. I have plans to look at the NFL, NBA, and English Premier League in the near future. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments on the way that I ranked the teams.

Now that I have the numbers I’d like to dig down a bit deeper and review the content and engagement strategies that are being used, but first I’m going to relax with a few ‘pops’ and enjoy a weekend of All Star hockey. Cheers and Go Leafs Go!

Boston Pizza ‘Rebrands’ as Vancouver Pizza for the Playoffs

Vancouver Pizza

Within a few minutes of the Boston Bruins advancing to the Stanley Cup finals against the Canucks, Richmond, BC-based Boston Pizza was switching up their website to show Vancouver fans exactly where their allegiances lay. For the duration of the playoffs the restaurant will be known as Vancouver Pizza.

All 62 BC locations will be shipped Vancouver Pizza banners to coverup their signage and stickers for the takeout containers and boxes. Staff has even been instructed to answer the phones with “Hello, Vancouver Pizza”.

Montreal-based Zip Communications developed the idea of temporary rebranding last year, but the Canucks never ended up facing the Bruins. But it was put into action early in the 2011 playoffs when Montreal faced off against Boston.

Who’s Winning? NHL Teams: Social Media, Attendance & Performance

With the 2010-11 Stanley Cup playoffs now in full swing, I was curious to see which NHL teams ranked highest for Facebook Likes and Twitter follows. OK before you start, I realize there are a lot more factors to consider in ranking an organization’s social media efforts than just the numbers. They all likely have sophisticated social media strategies that tie back to important business objectives, putting butts in the seats and selling merchandise – while icing an exciting team that is capable of going deep into the playoffs to provide even more revenue.

After I had collected the numbers from the team’s official Facebook and Twitter profiles it became obvious (but not surprising) that organizations with history and solid efforts such over the past few seasons ranked over the teams that have struggled. I decided it would be worthwhile to add in rankings for average game attendance (butts in seats) and their position in the overall standings at the end of the year.

The NHL puts a lot of effort into how teams manage their internet sites, the most obvious being the common template shared by all teams. The template is being stretched to its limits by the individual teams as links to social media can appear in a number of ways, from a local in the header, a link in the footer, a widget within the page of a link that can appear in any number of places within the sub navigation.

Onto the Numbers

The teams with the most followers on Twitter are Montreal (126,938), Vancouver (90,409) and Pittsburgh (81,981) while the teams with the most followers on Facebook are last years champions, Chicago (712,308), Montreal (653,510) and Boston (593,575). Teams with a long rich history such as the Original Six (Canadians, Hawks, Wings, Bruins, Leafs, & Rangers) all ranked within the top 11.

As expected teams like Toronto and Calgary with loyal fan bases had solid scores with social media and attendance but were pulled down by their poor performance this year.


I added each team’s ranking for Facebook, Twitter, average game attendance and points together and then sorted them by the best scores. This ranking was created for my own entertainment (yes, I found this entertaining), let me know if you find anything interesting in the results.

NHL Rankings - Twitter, Facebook, Attendance, Standings
Attendance figures from ESPN
End of season rankings from

Watch Hockey and Support Kid’s Sports Without Leaving the Couch

Canadian Tire JumpStartThe 2011 NHL Playoffs are set to begin on Wednesday, and despite a late-season surge our hometown Leafs are again – for the sixth straight year – getting an early start on their golfing season. By now Toronto hockey fans are used to following teams other than their own on the quest for Lord Stanley’s trophy, but just because the boys in blue didn’t make it, that’s no excuse to watch less hockey.

This year hockey fans can help raise money for Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program by simply watching more hockey in the Playoff Payoff campaign. So, don’t worry about backing away from those pub nachos or risking a pulling a hamstring pull getting off the couch.

Hockey fans can get started by signing up on the JumpStart Facebook page. Next set your fundraising target and the number of playoff games you plan to watch, then invite your friends and family to support you on your noble playoff quest.

I’ve already set up my personal page, and I’ve set a modest target of watching 36 games. However, if this year is like any other I may watch that many before the end of the first round.

The person who raised the most money for JumpStart by May 13 will receive tickets and a travel voucher for a Stanley Cup final game of their choice.

My early prediction for the Stanley Cup finals is Philadelphia vs Vancouver, with the Canucks taking their first cup in 6 games.

Social Media & the NHL Trading Deadline

NHL_trade_deadlineToday is one of those days that Canadian Hockey Fans circle on the calendar. It’s NHL Trade Deadline day and hockey fans are tuned in everywhere, by television, radio and especially by the internet and mobile.

For those who don’t know, the NHL trading deadline is when teams try to improve their roster for the upcoming playoffs, or a chance to unload those expensive players before they become free agents at the end of the year.

Reporters would spend their day working their contacts by phone and email looking for that one big trade scoop. These days however, it’s not uncommon to hear that a trade was confirmed by the player through his Twitter account. Or a fake trade announced through a player’s fake Twitter account.

Here’s a quick look at how the NHL Trade Deadline day was impressively handled through three prominent media outlets today.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Leafspace Live
The team that did the least happened had one of the best setups of all the outlets, including:

  • A live feed of LeafsTV
  • Live Boardroom feed where we saw little if anything happen
  • CoverItLive chat featuring user posts, video clips, images and polls.
  • Three columns of Twitter streams with contributions by the Hockey media, official feeds from other NHL teams and tweets featuring the #mapleleafs hashtag in the third.
  • Mentions from Facebook were also being displayed

CBC Sports Trade Deadline

  • Live feed from CBC Sports
  • Twitter integration
  • Clips from Hockey Night Radio on Sirius
  • CoverItLive chat stream featuring polls, video clips and images
  • A poll where users could evaluate each trade

TSN TradeCentre
TSN went so far to brand their presence as TradeCentre on a splash page on their site, including:

  • TradeCentre Live video feed
  • iPad and iPhone apps with special TradeCentre functionality
  • Live Blog
  • TSN Tweetbox
  • Facebook Live Chat
  • Trade Tracker

The Score featured a basic Trade Tracker with links to PuckDaddy radio and Facebook discussion.

Newspapers Toronto Star, National Post and Globe & Mail featured trade trackers as well frequently updated news and live blogs.

It’s always interesting to watch what used to be considered fringe tools now taking their place in  news gathering and reporting.