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Archive for the ‘Detroit Red Wings’ Category

The NHL lockout will be over soon and I have mixed emotions about it.  I am an arena staff worker who dreamed of working for the NHL one day, preferably the Detroit Red Wings full time in marketing/social media.  The collateral damage this lockout has done is too much to ignore.

How can you alienate 100,000+ fans plus sponsors for a big event like the Winter Classic?  How does this affect the NHL and how do they just ignore what they have done to the industry they love?

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When this is said and done, how is the NHL going to recover as a brand?  Your best employees are your biggest cheerleaders and largest assets you have in a business.  But when you ignore them, trim down their hours and if they live based on a commission, how are they supposed be to happy?

The little people struggled, the everyday Joe’s who depend on this job for a living.  They chose to go into sports knowing there is long hours with little pay.  They do this for the love of the game, but when the game doesn’t respect you or give you a reason to stand by them.  Is it enough?

Business partners have been burned and from the looks of it Kraft might have backed out of their sponsorship in Canada. To most Americans who don’t get CBC and Hockey Night in Canada they might see this as a small thing.  The truth is Kraft brought together old rickety ice rinks and gave them funding to the community who deserved it the most by voting.  I wish Americans could have had this kind of promotion.  The kids in the community benefited by having their hockey heroes come and play a pre-season game there, they got funding to fix the rink, and the community got recognized nationally.  It just hurts me to see this go by way side because the league burned the bridge.  Kraft Hockeyville was one of the things I looked forward to seeing during Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.

Leadership has to change for change to really happen in the NHL.  If every eight to ten years there will be a work stoppage will the full time employees and some of the part time staffers look for other places to work?  I love the game and I had a different view of this lockout which was really frustrating me.

The brand is damaged and I am sure sponsors and television networks are just as frustrated as the fans.  They should have been working this hard months ago before the Winter Classic was trashed for the year.   You have a product where there is a large chain of businesses that depend on your product to survive.    It is when you think of them and solve the problem before it gets to this huge level that you have a better understanding.

If employees have suffered and they are your greatest brand ambassadors, die hard fans are ticked, then who will bring your brand back from the dead?

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The No HOCKEY LEAGUE lockout is in its second month and needless to say the fans are beyond frustrated.  The combination of lack of movement and the stubbornness of NHL and the NHLPA is not winning anyone over.  The league makes more revenue than most industries could dream of and yet they struggle to sign a CBA without whining or crying bankrupt.

If they were any other industry the teams who were not successful would be contracted or moved.  This is not the NHL way and does not seem to be happening soon enough.  The players don’t want to fight over less jobs so they would probably be against contraction but it is needed.

What both sides do not understand is what they are doing to the ecosystem around their precious game and all the die hard fans like me who are really disgusted.  I am a die hard fan who attends all the Red Wings events, met my boyfriend via a Facebook Red Wings group and have very many good friends that I have known for a very long time because of the team.

I am also an ARENA staff worker who has only had two events in the month of November instead of 11.  I used to have this job as my only source of income.   There are a lot of people who are being left out of this equation and I often wonder why I stay.

I stay for the love of the game and the season ticket holders I have met and the community surrounding the game.  But if I were to get a full time job with health care benefits and other perks I would rethink my job.

This job is a supplemental income because it does not pay enough to live off of on its own.  There are a lot of seniors who work in these arenas who work there to supplement their fixed income and some people just need the extra money.

The camera crew and other people in the media are also suffering through this.  Some of them this is their main event to record and produce and if they lack events they lack income.  They might record and produce some basketball but with half the events per week.  It is hard to survive doing what you love.

We are NOT millionaires or billionaires and WE ARE NOT part of this fight.  We are the casualties of this WAR of GREED that is not talked about.

The league on social media is still making money off of sponsorship even though they have no season. So they are ignoring the elephant in the room.

Do I think they care? The Fan of the Day keeps trucking on the Red Wings Facebook page and now they have photo contests to keep fans entertained which are brought you by sponsors.

Both sides should  NOT talk to the press until something is signed. Seriously. NO one cares and the longer this goes on even less people will care. I am working really hard to eliminate the words NHL and NHLPA from my vocabulary.

You have a passionate fan base and you are abusing them by taking their season ticket holder money and holding it hostage as long as you can. That in itself should be illegal because they are pushing a product that doesn’t exist.

Until  the NHL and NHLPA  act like grown men who are willing to negotiate than they should just shut up. They are not considering the fans at all in this especially they are screwing with their loyal fan base.  Not to mention the sponsors who paid good money for a product that doesn’t exist.

In Detroit, they sold the Winter Classic tickets and are waiting a month to get everyone their money back? Really? They have been sitting on that money since July?

People have normal incomes and are not over the top with the money it isn’t like EVERYONE of those season ticket holders could afford the luxury of NOT selling some of their tickets to get their money back.

They need to stop thinking about themselves because they might NOT have a revenue stream they are fighting over this time. No one will want to watch.

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Steve Yzerman is the adoptive son of Detroit and he took a position as the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning in May of 2010.  After 23 years as a Detroit Red Wing and four years as an apprentice to General Manager Ken Holland.   Stevie learned the ropes of the National Hockey League from the business stand point and took his team to one win from the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010.

There are quite a few things from a business stand point we can learn from Stevie.

1. Do not burn bridges

Stevie will always be remembered as a Red Wing.  He signed my puck at the team practice in Troy and even used his number 19 on it.  He will always be a member of the Red Wings family no matter how far he travels or whose team he is employed by.  He is adopted by the city of Detroit and by the Red Wings family for bringing hockey back and using his perseverance to win three Stanley Cups and be in the office for the fourth.  He has not burned bridges but he still has the connections he once had and probably uses them.  Just because you leave an employer that you have been with forever does not mean you lose the connections you once had.

2. Surround yourself with people who can help you

Stevie won a gold medal with Team Canada in the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.  Canada, his  native country put him in a very pressure packed situation.  He had taken the time to surround himself with A players so his team can have success down the road.  I am pretty sure the Red Wings believe in this philosophy and this is how it was passed along to him.  He did not graduate from high school yet he has a Masters degree in the NHL.  You learn from the best and you can have long term goals.  He sees the future and I am pretty sure he believes this philosophy.

3. You can always come home

Detroit will always be home for Stevie Y.  He has done the right things for this city and always kept the windows of opportunity to success open.  Mike Illitch will probably always think of him as an adoptive son since he has been through every phase of hockey with the Red Wings.  He speaks highly of the Detroit area and has had many life experiences here.  So when his paths cross again or maybe not with Detroit he knows he can always come home because people will always respect him.  He never brought a scandal to Detroit but he brought grit,  determination and was a quiet leader.  He is doing the same thing with Tampa Bay and seems to be just as loyal.

This video is a really great  because it shows what he has learned about the business, his team, what he hopes to accomplish and everything great  Steve Yzerman brings to the table.


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This is the final installment from Matt Rietz over at Viewfrommyseats.  Sorry this took so long but I was going through some job hunting issues and needed a break.  I hope you enjoy Matt’s take on Social Media and the NHL and you learned a lot about what the NHL is doing correctly.

People that are active in the online hockey community know where the most up-to-the-second information is available: Twitter. Big websites are dependent on their writers and the bloggers may hear about the information quickly—but it still takes time to put together even a 2 paragraph article. Even when it’s done, it’s not like everyone in the world will see it. But Twitter, that’s a different story. How long does it take for someone with a breaking story to knock out 140 characters? But that’s only the first part of the story…

The true power of Twitter is the speed at which information can spread from a single Tweet to across a community. If someone tweets that Jay Bouwmeester signed a contract with the Calgary Flames a day before free agency opens, they’re reaching all of their followers with the press of a button. But when I hear that news, I’ll be quick to re-tweet the information to all of my followers. Some of them, will in-turn share with all of their readers. When a story goes viral—THAT’S the power of Twitter.

From a news point of view, blogging and Twitter go hand and hand. But that’s only a single area that social media helps the NHL. Another area that is just as important is how Social Media can promote the sense of community between fans—whether the fans are in different cities, different states or even different countries. Bloggers and fans alike are increasingly using places like Facebook to strengthen friendships with people that they’ve interacted with in other venues. Maybe the met at a team function. Maybe they met at an NHL TweetUp. Whatever the case may be, Facebook and the like give them a place to keep in contact and share their ideas.

Specifically for hockey fans, it gives them a place to talk to other hockey fans about the sport they love. They can share articles they’ve read. They can share videos that they saw on YouTube (or NHL.com). They can vote on polls they saw on Twitter or even share Fan Pages to their favorite hockey blogs. Whatever the reason for communication, it provides a venue that hockey fans can interact with one another as much as they’d like. It’s like an electronic self-help group for puck crazed addicts (minus the 12 steps).

The NHL and individual teams have jumped head first into the New Media arena as well. During the playoffs, the Blackhawks and Penguins were serving up contests via Twitter for fans to win prizes—up to and including game tickets. Teams like the Los Angeles Kings will have contests on both Twitter and Facebook for their fans to win prizes as well. They’ve learned that they have a huge opportunity through the social media channels—they can either take advantage of the channels or watch another team do it for them.

Twitter and Facebook also serve as the newest way for bloggers to promote their articles. The high-end hockey blogs are rapidly becoming the backbone of hockey media for information for a huge percentage of the fan base. Unfortunately, bloggers often times can get lost in the huge sea of the World Wide Web. They need to get the word out—and they need to get the word out to the right people. Again: Enter Social Media.

Follow the right people on Twitter and you’ll have a never ending stream of quality information at your fingertips. Some might be from sources that have been around for decades, some might be up-and-comers that have always been good but have never had the chance. The genius of social media is that YOU get to decide who YOU want to give your attention to. If you find someone that you really enjoy, you can further engage the conversation on their blog or a Facebook page. It’s a two-way conversation—and it’s up to YOU how involved you want to be. You don’t have to, but at least now the choice is yours.

Geoff Livingston

Geoff Livingston

At the end of the day, I have to give a ton of credit to the NHL for being so accepting of the new media world. The old way of thinking was that online content was GIVING the product away for free. The NHL has realized that this isn’t giving hockey away for free—it’s PROMOTING it for free. The league could either acknowledge or shun it. They’ve acknowledged it and embraced it with open arms! They’ve certainly been through some rough times (and they’re still dealing with the hard times), but this is the way that they’ll save their league.

For the first time in a while, I can say this: The NHL is doing something right! Thank God, there’s hope for them yet.

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3 part guest post by  Matt Rietz —creator of View From My Seats.
The in-depth, intelligent blog has been listed all over the hockey blogosphere, on various newspaper blogrolls, the Huffington Post, Yahoo’s Puck Daddy and, most notably, on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Tired of seeing the same sports websites that were completely detached from what the fans were thinking, he created his own site in 2007. Early in 2009, the website transitioned into a hockey-only site and has shown steady growth.
VFMS is a potent elixir concocted with equal parts wit, intelligence, sarcasm and reality. Served liberally between October and June at just below 32 degrees. At the heart of each article is one simple fact: In order to be smartass, one must first be smart.

When I think of forward progressive organizations, the National Hockey League isn’t exactly the first thing that jumps into my mind. We’re talking about a League that had a labor stoppage in the mid-1990’s just as hockey was competing to make a dent into the Big 3’s market share in the United States. As if that wasn’t enough, the league shot itself in the foot again the mid-2000’s when they experienced another labor stoppage. This time, the stoppage was because their business model was so severely flawed that even teams that were successful on the ice were epic failures on the profit front. Any time there was a hint of momentum, the league squashed any glimmer of hope. Think of a drunken Inspector Clouseau in a China shop. I’m sure you can figure out how this is going to go.

Ironically, it might be technology, Web 2.0 and an extremely fanatic fan base that might be what pulls the NHL out of obscurity and back to its place among the Top 4 sports in the U.S. When there are some sports leagues that are trying to figure the world of Social Media out, the NHL is surprisingly in front of the curve for once. Instead of playing the reactionary game, they’re proactively doing something to bring their great game to as many people as possible. While they might be unconventional means of communication today, the NHL is banking on New Media and its participants becoming the MAINSTREAM media—not an afterthought. Check out Facebook and Twitter—they might be onto something here.

The NHL may have turned their attention to non-traditional forms of media out of necessity, but they’re taking this blessing in disguise and running with it. Traditionally, how have sports fans received most of their news? Three major outlets provided the vast majority of the coverage: Newspapers, television and radio. The gradual demise of the newspaper industry has been well chronicled all over the internet. But think about this: how many people do you know that get their hardcore sports information from the radio? Better yet, how many members of Generation Next even know what AM radio is? The newspaper industry might be dying, but radio is in the next bed on life support itself.

That leaves television as the major traditional player for all of the sports league. Any discussion of television and the world of sports begins and ends with ESPN. If you want me to start with Fox Sports, then I’m guessing that Rupert Murdoch is either signing your checks or is a relative. If that’s the case, I mean no disrespect—but Fox Sports is largely irrelevant compared to the Worldwide Leader. I didn’t make up reality, I’m just acknowledging it.

When was the last time you heard ESPN talk about hockey and they didn’t mention a fight, suspension or Sidney Crosby? They neither have the quality reporters, insiders or the desire to cover hockey the way they cover baseball, basketball or football.

So where do hockey fans go when they want information? In the absence of traditional media, they have had to find non-traditional methods of tracking their favorite teams and players. Enter the internet—and more specifically the hockey blogosphere. Big players like From The Rink of SB Nation and Puck Daddy on Yahoo have filled the void better than the radio and newspaper industry ever did. But just as importantly, blogs with a narrow scope have emerged for individual teams and leagues.

The NHL could have turned their back on their emerging corner of media; but instead they took the opportunity to embrace the bloggers, their hard work and their community. They’ve redesigned NHL.com to truly be one of the best websites for any sport. They provide scores, stats and schedules like all leagues are expected to on their home page. But they’ve gone a step further—they have specific play highlights, game highlights and even podcasts for fans that are looking for more than goals and assists stats. It’s like every A.D.D. Hockey fan’s wet dream!

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I am a young professional… Well young into my career anyway, I took the LONG road through my college career and currently I am working 2 jobs trying to find my ENTRY LEVEL position in either Public Relations for a Tech related company or Interactive/Marketing Coordinator.

There was a time in my life not so long ago, when I would have LOVED to have moved out of the D.   I am a born and bread Detroiter! I will LEAVE if the opportunity arises and I am networking IN and OUT of the state.

I have been networking a lot on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.  I have made connections through #BlogChat which might help me if I do get a chance to demonstrate my abilities to the Red Cross in Washington, DC.

But why would anyone want to stay in MI? Why wouldn’t you want to leave?  As one of my friends stated, if I was going to make my break away it would have to be RIGHT now.  I would never make it, moving away from my Red Wings at the start of the preseason.  To most people preseason, does not matter but to me… Well I have a hockey problem.

I have started networking… I do it every week.  #tweetea has been a staple and something I plan on.  I was invited to a Menu Tasting at Olga’s Kitchen today by another group of people,  who started Eat Ups.  Which I was totally impressed with.  Everyone should eat food with Joe Foodie! He knows his stuff!

I have never been to Olga’s and it is a MI staple which has been around as long as I have been alive.  I met one of the people, who were in charge of the event, he is a coach for Team in Training which helps benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Through Twitter I made the connection during my early days of campaigning for LLS.  Small World.

The food was fantastic.  The service was great and we were treated like Rock Stars!  I would definitely go back!

Why Detroit is home.

My family is small.  I am an ONLY child, my Dad, Godmother, and aunt are here.  I would like to be closer to my cousins and hopefully the social networks will allow this to happen.

My Mom who passed away 7/3/07, grandma (06) & uncle Dennis (01)

I have rediscovered some old friendships, made new ones, and well I am not sure if I can handle moving.  I am fine with doing things on my own but moving cross country or elsewhere.  I don’t know.

I don’t want to be part of the brain drain.  I would feel guilty with all the relationships I have worked hard to create, build and maintain.  I am not sure if they feel the same way.  But I like this networking thing!

I have broken out of my shell and actually am organizing something which I never thought I could do.  I am planning a #journchat LIVE meeting, Aug 17 from  7:30-10  p.m.  Plus, I am writing membership profiles for PRSA Technology section. I am doing things I never thought I would have the leadership for.  In the past, I would just let things go and never contribute.  Now I am working on leadership skills.

I don’t want to leave the D.  Can you help me stay here? I do not want to be part of the brain drain.

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The World Junior Championships are taking place in Ottawa, ONT Canada from 12/26/2008 – 1/5/2009 and it will be a story of a dreamer that fulfilled one of his dreams of representing his country. Over the years Team Canada has had a wealth of talent. Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman, Wayne Gretsky and even Dan Cleary.

Dan Cleary and Angelo Esposito have a lot in common. Cleary became the first NHL player from the province of New Foundland to win the Stanley Cup. He had been cut from the World Junior team 3x and he finally fulfilled his dreams. He often credits his wife for the change in his attitude.

Angelo Esposito may NOT be the dream player that John Tavares is and not the shiniest start on the team. He was determined, held strong, and would not take NO for an answer. The two of them represent what it takes to fulfill your dreams.

Persistence is often a hard thing to come by. The things that we often want most are harder to find and to be focused enough to center of your dream, have faith that things will go your way, and work hard to fulfill it. That takes guts and determination.

Whether or not you are a hockey player playing in the spotlight. Things often don’t go your way. Heck, no team wanted Cleary after the lockout. They passed him up because of his lack of work ethic, he used the time to go to California and train and got a recommendation from Matthiew Schenider to try out out for the Wings. He not only excelled but had a new role and a second chance and now he has his name on the Cup.

Angelo Esposito got cut from Team Canada and his rights have been traded from Pittsburgh to Atlanta before he even got a chance to play. He knew what he wanted and where he had to go to make a difference in his career and perception. So when the team is shining and trying to win the Gold. Just think of how much determination and perseverance some of these hockey players have been through.

Sometimes it isn’t all its cracked up to be. They both were high draft pics and they both got passed up on because of poor work ethic or just injury and bad timing. Change can happen if you believe in yourself and believe in your dream.

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