NHLTweetup: An International Success!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will probably have heard NHLTweetup. Last night was the start of an international event to celebrate the start of NHL Playoffs and the battle for the Stanley Cup. NHL’s thePortal teamed up with fans on Twitter to create an international multi-city celebration with over 20 cities participating.

NHLTweetup origin

NHLTweetup goes international!

The idea was started by @dani3boyz, expanded by @Hockeyskates and quickly backed by @umassdilo (Michael DiLorenzo, Director of Corporate Communications for the NHL). The idea snowballed from there. I registered NHLTweetup.com and quickly set up a site for the organizers to be able to promote and coordinate their local event. Twitter users from the US, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand started organizing their own Tweetup in their local city. The NHL sent goodie bags and prizes to some of the first locations to sign on, and some of the local organizers were able to round up some of their own prizes. The @NHLTweetup account was created to help promote the event, managed by @dani3boyz.

Twitvite.com even set up a special “NHLTweetup” tag on their home page to help people find their local NHLTweetup.

Twtvite.com's Collaboration

Twitter users used the #NHLTweetup hashtag to stay informed of the current happenings surrounding the event. One crafty fan, @kicksave20, used his awesome design skills to create the @NHLTweetup avatar and nametags for the hosts to pass out.

NHLTweetup’s started taking place last night, with NYC being the main location with thePortal sponsoring the event as well as having the Stanley Cup on site! NHLTweetup attendees from all the cities used the Twitpic site to send their live NHLTweetup pictures for everyone to see.

As an organizer, a Twitter user, and a hockey fan it was truly amazing to see everyone come together to make this happen. Thanks to everyone involved!

NHLTweetup in Toronto, and NHLTweetup.com

Things have been quiet on the blog front. I know I’ve been remiss but I do have at least two blog posts in draft form. I swear.

However, I’ve come out from behind the admin panel to blog about something very important.

tweetup: A group of friends on Twitter (social network) that are planning to meet up. A request by a user to meet with friends via Twitter.

If you’re a hockey fan and you’re a twitterer (heck, even if you’re not!), check out NHLTweetup.com. A whole myriad of major cities are having a gathering (aka “party”!) to celebrate the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And if you’re not in a city that has an NHL team, check anyway because there are a bunch of non-NHL cities that are having a Tweetup as well.

Toronto isn’t in the playoffs, but I’m organizing the Toronto NHLTweetup. So if you think you can come, please RSVP! 🙂

Playing goalie: why do they do it?

Goalies have a reputation for being crazy, insane, or a little “off”. What drives an individual to jump into the position? Is it an inherit personality trait? An unfortunate accident? I have my own reasons, of course, but I wondered what makes other people do it? I asked a few goalie friends of mine, and got some interesting responses.

It was an accident. Most of the people I talked to were former defensemen. Me too, I suppose. One day the goalie can’t show up, or the team loses a goalie, and the next thing you know you’re volunteering to strap on the pads. I find that you either take to it right away, or you don’t like it.

They love the thrill. Being able to trash-talk to friends about stopping all their “weak” shots is certainly fun if you’ve got friends that can handle it. (Hehe!) And there’s the ecstatic feeling of making that one stupendous save that makes everyone in the arena cheer. I’m sure every athlete regardless of sport or position knows what that feels like.

Bring on the pressure. Probably the most logic-defying reason to play goalie is actually enjoying being the last line of defense for the team. A player can not score goals and the team can still at least tie game, a defenseman can miss a check or a pass and the team can still win, but if a goalie errors more than once, it could easily spell defeat. A goalie is relies on the skill of his team to win the game as much as the team relies on the goalie to play to perfection as much as possible.

Personally, I’m a mix of all of the above. I started playing hockey when I was 22 and played defense my first year because I was one of two people on the team who could kind of skate backwards. Our goalie announced she was leaving at the end of the season and I volunteered to be goalie next year if we didn’t find another one. I played street hockey that summer in preparation, as well as some pickup here and there. I took to it right away and absolutely loved the pressure, the glory and the action. Don’t get me wrong, my team was horrible, but it certainly gave me a lot of practice. 🙂

Thanks to joecwik, joeboughner, hockeycardshow, kezbat, GhostOtaku, alaskanchick and jasonboche for their responses.

8 Annoying Oversights Arena Designers Make

Normally I detest top X lists, but I started making this one in my head tonight as I parked in an arena for a late game, and I figured it would be a fun post for a Friday. 🙂

1. The parking lot is 5 miles from the front door. Seriously, hockey players and especially goalies have to carry a lot of crap all the way from the automobile to the door. There’s a reason a ton of hockey bags have wheels now, but that doesn’t make it okay to require us to walk to the arena from Timbuktu. And wheels suck in the snow.

2. The doors are “regular” size. Dude, hockey bags don’t fit through doors very easily. Oversized doors and/or working sliding doors are an amazing invention. Use them!

3. Stairs between the ice and the change room. (OMG, I have become Canadianized, I don’t say “locker room” anymore!) Believe it or not, I’ve seen this on a few occasions. And one arena near Waterloo, Ontario actually super narrow stairs with a turn-around in the middle of the flight of stairs. Try getting through there with goalie equipment on. I’m 5′ tall and it’s a squeeze.

4. No visible board for change room numbers. Even worse is when they make you give your keys for a room key, and it’s a late game, so the attendant is no where to be found when you need to get your keys back.

4. No bar. For Pete’s sake, this should be a requirement!

5. No benches or viewing area. If it’s a super-cold rink, the very basic glass dividing the foyer and the rink is much appreciated by fans.

6. Boards that are ridiculously high — not suitable for jumping over. There’s an arena (in London, Ontario I think) that, I kid you not, the boards come nearly up to my neck. Not only that, but the doors are half the size of normal. Line changes are not swift.

7. Tiny change rooms. You have to have enough to fit 10-15 hockey players and their equipment.

8. I saved the best for last. Only a urinal in the change room. No toilet. I’m not kidding. Almost as bad is when there’s no door!

I’m sure there are more. Feel free to add your own!

Hockey and the internet? Count me in!

I finally found some time to sit down and breathe a bit and actually post to my blog. I’ve been working all hours, trying to fit my life around work, and getting little sleep. I’m actually supposed to be working right now, but I figured I needed to step back for a bit and then tackle it with a fresh mind.

I’m really excited to be working on hockey.com as it combines the two passions in my life – hockey and the internet. I can’t really say anything here other than it’s going to kick ass (and the design will be 1000% better than what’s there now). It had better kick ass because I need and like my job!

Now if I can just get someone to pay me to play hockey too…

Hockey on the internet.

There are a few hockey sites I visit, but these days I mostly use RSS to catch up on hockey news. When hockey season is in full swing, I use Yahoo! Sports and NHL News for news and game recaps, but I normally visit ESPN or Canoe for score updates. I’ve found that there’s not really a whole lot out there for reading about hockey in general. Other than Wikipedia for history, of course. But what about finding new drills for practice, or off-ice drills, or hockey-specific workouts? Not much.

The NHL has a new beta hockey community called NHL Connect, while it seems like a good idea, it seems rather bland and lacks a certain “fun” aspect.

What hockey websites to you visit? What do you like most about them?