Amazing Impact of a Little Blue Bird on the NHL


Written by Habsterix, Senior Writer,

This is the story of a little blue bird who once told the world two words: Follow me! And that’s how it all started. A social network of discussions in 140 characters or less was born, taking cyber space by storm.

PENTICTON, BC. — The NHL and most of its teams didn’t take long to realize how amazing and powerful of a marketing tool this little blue bird could be. After all, is there really a better way for them to share a message to their targeted fan base all at once, simply by having someone type a few words, sometimes linking to a full story? Most importantly, the teams have control not only of the content, but also the timing of such messages, not having to rely on mainstream media!

Hockey fans created their own Twitter account to better follow members of the media and their favourite team(s). Rumour sites and pipe dreams sellers love this tool which allows them to try to beat traditional media to the punch, in what they feel is a race to gain credibility and fame. The print media uses it to promote its latest publications on their web site. Radio personalities are using Twitter to ask their followers specific questions which they address on air. And last but not least, bloggers from around the word now all have the feeling of becoming professional reporters by promoting on Twitter their own blog.

The number of people following each other is simply amazing. In the mainstream media world, Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger of TSN are the Batman and Robin of hockey twitters. McKenzie has a herd of over 400,000 followers while Dreger is second, closing in on 320,000 followers. They are known across the NHL as the real Insiders, the once people can rely on. In third place and far behind, we find Pierre LeBrun of ESPN and TSN, with just over 160,700 strong. And because of their success, they are regular targets for fake accounts created by desperate people in search of attention, especially at the trade deadline or at the opening of free agency. On that note, the best tip is to look at their number of followers before re-tweeting or believing what those pretenders spew.

In the NHL Blogosphere or the new media, All Habs Hockey Magazine (@All_Habs) is dominant. Only rumour blogger Eklund has more followers as rumours bring sensation, create dreams for desperate fans wanting changes to their teams. All Habs, through its quality content, its dedication to informing readers, its social networking and its great team, has racked up over 54,300 followers and counting, many of which being well known hockey personalities! Please make sure to follow the complete list of All Habs team members on Twitter.

The players also understand the power of Twitter as more and more of them are choosing to share their thoughts through this social media. This past July, Colby Armstrong announced himself that he had signed with the Canadiens and Marie-Pier Morin, Brandon Prust’s girlfriend, did the same on her Twitter account. Alex Ovechkin leads all players with over 440,000 followers. Guess who is second… Malkin, Kane, Hall, Giroux, Stamkos? Nope! It’s none other than Coyotes’ tough guy Paul Bissonnette with over 300,000 followers! This is BizNasty’s second kick at Twitter as the often controversial Tweeter’s first account was erased. In third place amongst NHL players with just over 219,000 followers is Pittsburgh Penguins’ star Evgeni Malkin.

The NHL certainly understands the power of social networking. Its official Twitter account has more than 1.3 million followers from around the world, ranging from casual fans to professional media, and players to former players. Even league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan is on Twitter, closing in on 181,000 followers. When looking around the NHL though, one can easily notice that some teams have had more success in promoting the product than others. Is this due to the market place and the number of fans those teams have, or is it that some teams don’t understand the impact it has on the popularity and accessibility this marketing tool has on their fans?

As Twitter users know too well, Twitter followers are volatile. You gain some and you lose some on a daily basis, so the numbers compiled below are a picture at the time of writing this article, and could be different tomorrow, in a month, or in a year from now.

The Montreal Canadiens have, by far, the most followers, closing in on 310,000 people reading their tweets and that, in both official languages. Taking advantage of a few consecutive very good seasons on the ice, the Vancouver Canucks and the Pittsburgh Penguins round up the NHL’s Top 3. Vancouver trails Montreal by 16,000 followers while the Pens sit in third place. The New York Islanders are last amongst NHL teams with just over 49,000 followers.

NHL teams struggling the most at the gate (with the possible exception of the New Jersey Devils) seem to all be in the bottom of the Twitter followers and perhaps a little marketing is needed in order to better connect with their fans or potential fans through this easy, yet efficient tool of social interaction.

For those of you interested, there are seven current Canadiens’ players on Twitter. They are:

For all Canadiens players and prospects on Twitter, be sure to follow this list to stay constantly updated.

Rene Bourque was also on Twitter but it looks like he deleted his account after it was hacked.

Thank you for reading and happy Tweeting!

You can follow me at @Habsterix

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J.D. Lagrange
J.D. is a Senior writer for All Habs as well as Associate-Editor for the French version Le Magazine All Habs, while one of three Administrators of the fan forum Les Fantômes du Forum. He has created the handle Habsterix as a fictional character for the sole purpose of the internet. It is based on the cartoon Asterix of Gaule and his magic potion is his passion for the Montreal Canadiens. How old is he? His close friends will tell you that he’s so old, his back goes out more than he does! He was born when Béliveau lifted the Cup and remembers the days when seeing the Habs winning was not a wish, it was an expectation. For him, writing is a hobby, not a profession. Having moved to beautiful British Columbia in 1992 from his home town of Sherbrooke, Quebec, he started writing mostly in French to keep up his grammar, until non-bilingual BC friends pushed him into starting his own English Blog. His wife will say that he can be stubborn, but she will be the first to recognise that he has great sense of humour. He is always happy to share with you readers his point of views on different topics, and while it is expected that people won’t always agree, respect of opinions and of others is his mission statement. || J.D. est Rédacteur-Adjoint sur Le Magazine All Habs et il est un Rédacteur Principal sur le site anglophone All Habs, tout en étant un des trois Administrateurs du forum de discussion Les Fantômes du Forum. Il a créé le pseudonyme Habstérix comme caractère fictif pour l’internet. Celui-ci est basé sur Astérix de Gaule et sa potion magique est sa passion pour les Canadiens de Montréal. Lorsqu’il est né, Jean Béliveau soulevait la Coupe Stanley et il se rappelle des jours où gagner n’était pas un espoir, mais une attente. Pour lui, écrire est un passe-temps, pas une profession. Ayant déménagé dans la superbe Colombie-Britannique en 1992 en provenance de sa ville natale de Sherbrooke, Québec, il a commencé à écrire en français pour garder sa grammaire, jusqu’à ce que ses amis anglophones ne réussissent à le convaincre d’avoir son blog en anglais. Son épouse vous dira qu’il est têtu, mais elle sera la première à reconnaître son grand sens de l’humour. Il est toujours fier de partager avec vous, lecteurs et lectrices, ses points de vue sur différents sujets, et quoi que les gens ne s’entendent pas toujours sur ceux-ci, le respect des opinions et des autres est son énoncé de mission.