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.


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.

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.