The NHL to Players: Keep It Boring – A Reflection on the NHL’s New Twitter Policy

The Wings finally have a player who embraces social media in Mike Commodore.   Commodore’s twitter account really gives an insight into the player and how he feels.  It’s a way to directly connect with the fans that no other outlet gives.   Here’s a recent example of a fan asking a question, to which Commie gives a great answer:

It was great! First time I’ve ever heard him speak. RT : How was meeting Pavs?

And he didn’t embarrass me in practice…that was nice of him. RT : How was meeting Pavs?

I laughed.  Because of this (and other great “tweets”) I can honestly say that I like the guy without even knowing him.  He’s even got a great catchphrase: “Stay Single My Friends.”  It, at the very least, is interesting.  I’m already more interested in Commie than, say

But the NHL can’t have that.  Today, they’ve released their official twitter policy, which includes the following:

Use of social media by Players scheduled to play in a particular game (including all preseason, regular reason and playoff games, but excluding All-Star events or other exhibitions) is prohibited beginning two hours prior to the opening faceoff and ending upon cessation of postgame media obligations.

Additionally, as described by ESPN:

Under the useful tips section of the policy, there is a reinforcement that all “social media communications are on the record” and all applicable parties should “take responsibility for your comments.”

It also calls for all parties to “respect your audience” and “pause before posting … If you have to pause before posting your communication, then err on the side of caution by not posting it.”

Now at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be too much objectionable here.  However, there certainly is a possibility that just the threat of NHL sanctions will quell almost all interesting tweets. 

Essentially, they’re stating that all tweets will be taken as if it was said in an interview.  While I understand what they are trying to say, I’m certainly worried players tweets will slowly morph from an interesting insight into the players life, to only boring stoic responses which are no different from the team line.  Like a post game interview. 

This might mean no more greatness like these from @biznasty.

@NoUsernameNed no offense to myself. But if u bought my hockey card for 139 dollars ur prolly on drugs.

I actually taught Crosby that trick. And pretty much half of what he knows. Those who can’t do teach, right. I’m like his Yoda.

And more of answers about how hard the other team works and how much you respect them.  And that sucks. 

Of course this being said, Commie doesn’t seem to worked up about the new policy:

It looks fine to me. I have no problems with it. RT : what do you think of the new social media policy?

Biznasty agrees too.  Now is this the truth, or just the first effect of the chilling effect of the policy?  I guess we’ll find out.  But I have to wonder if there really was a reason for the NHL to put in place such a policy in the first place.