This hockey season I joined the micro-blogging addiction that is Twitter.
I did so with several motivations. One, to stay connected with a good friend who I worked with for nearly a year before I moved to Michigan. Second, because once I settled in Michigan, I wanted to launch this very blog you’re reading, and I wanted to use my Twitter account to promote this blog, while communicating with other hockey bloggers and personalities. However, I did not know I would succumb to the obsession of following hockey’s best and brightest.
According to the website Tweeting-Athletes, there are 128 hockey players –current and retired — with active official Twitter accounts. For the most part, the accounts are facilitated by the players themselves, tweeting a glimpse in the world of a number of professional hockey player via Twitpic to 4square updates, and chumming it up with teammates via mentions.
It’s living vicariously for us, the followers, to peer into uncharted territory, and feel connected by being able to tweet a response, and become overzealous once we receive a reply back.
For the players, it’s building a fan base, marketing the team, and showing personality off the ice.
One player every puck head follows is @BizNasty2point0, Phoenix Coyotes fourth line left winger Paul Bissonnette, a former ECHL player of the Wheeling Nailers who worked his way through the minors and eventually joined the Pittsburg Penguins in the 2008-09 season.
From Bissonnette's yfrog account: Jesus just told me the Yotes will win the cup next year. Thanks #Jesus http://yfrog.com/hs7l6iqj
He was shipped to Phoenix the following year, and built a following on Twitter not because of anything he does on the ice, but because of his brash personality. Bissonnette crude jokes which appeal to teenagers and young adults has earned himself over 91,000 followers, including yours truly.
The sensation of Twitter has put professional athletes under fire for controversial tweets, or for comments made on television, which carry over to tweets.
But the amount of athletes joining the micro-blogging sensation keeps ballooning, and franchise owners should welcome the new promotion of their prized athletes. If one thing is for sure, Bissonnette didn’t get a contract extension this season because of his one goal, no assists, and +6 performance in 48 games. Sure, he tallied 71 penalty minutes this year and has emerged more in the last two years as a bruiser, but he’s arguably one of the most popular Coyotes in the Phoenix fan base because of Twitter. Bissonnette even has a line of clothing with slogans such as “4th line for life.”
But in all, the NHL ranks fourth with the NFL, MLB and NBA with those 128 tweeters. There are 1,034 tweeting off the gridiron, 333 off the hardwood and 220 off the baseball diamond, according to Tweeting Athletes.
The website displays the athletes’ Twitter feed, the date added to their database, and a “NEW” logo for recently added athletes.
So, if you feel you may be missing athletes on your Twitter account, find them on Tweeting Athletes, and chirp away.
Mattjw24 can be contacted on Twitter @mattjw24.