Latest post about The Hockey News’ annual list is here.
The latest issue of The Hockey News compiles the top 100 most influential people in hockey today.
The game itself has so many facets that it’s impossible to really measure influence. There’s the business side of it, so sponsors, owners, league executives and agents have influence. Then there’s the game play, so coaches, players and managers who determine how their teams prepare and perform have influence. Broadcast networks and mainstream media of course influence the game since they decide what’s presented, and how much.
I was surprised to see only one blogger make the list. Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy ranks at #92 this year, up seven spots from last year. He’s the only blogger to have ever made the list.
Fans themselves have a lot of influence on the game and use blog sites regularly to get the latest information and interact with others. Online activity of NHL hockey fans has increased significantly over the past few years with more subscribing to digital services (Financial Post). But the modern fan is more than just a consumer of the game. They also act as sponges learning the game and developing their own ideas and thoughts. They take the information out there and centralize it to construct knowledge on blog sites.
Having only one blogger on the list seems bizarre to me especially considering the amount of traffic and comments they get daily. In the past year alone, some major stories have been broken by bloggers. None bigger than blogger Tyler Dellow uncovering some dirt on Colin Campbell, a senior VP and the NHL’s head of discipline. Reaction from TSN, Globe and Mail and Puck Daddy.
It could also be that the list The Hockey News has compiled just ignores online activity as an influencer.
Phoenix Coyotes player Paul Bissonnette landed at #100 on the list. He has a total of 6 points in 80 career games (as of this post) and is known more for his fighting on the ice. But online, Bissonnette has become one of the most popular hockey types on Twitter (@BizNasty2point0). With over 34,000 followers, he ranks near the top of all hockey related accounts, even ahead of The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews). Bissonnettes entertaining tweets are pretty refreshing for a league that has very robotic-like players when a broadcast medium is placed in front of them. He’s also a supporter of causes that help the homeless and has some unique fundraising methods.
His online activity and the nature of his tweets has the attention of a demographic that the NHL caters to and should get him a higher spot. Bissonnette updates regularly to give followers a behind-the-scene look at life in the NHL and promotes the game in a market desperate for fans.
The Hockey News needs to start examining online activity as an influence on professional hockey. I can understand how owners, players and media influence the game. But with more and more people online and the web being what it is, more attention needs to be placed on bloggers and online communities.
Campbell, K. (2011). 100 People of Power and Influence. The Hockey News, 64 (14), p. 14-23.
Hartley, M. (2011, January 25). NHL mobile apps top one million downloads as hockey fans go digital. Financial Post. Retrived from http://business.financialpost.com/2011/01/25/nhl-mobile-apps-top-one-million-downloads-as-hockey-fans-go-digital/.