We need to get organized and implement a systemic approach to letting the NHL and NHLPA know how we feel, and become just as vocal as the Don Cherry fans and pro-fighting crowd. This blog lays out a strategy and some ideas that I hope fans will read, help improve through feedback and then contribute to raising awareness that the league and the players must clean up hockey.
I want to encourage fans to follow this blog to stay on top of recent posts, share their comments or communicate support for any collective actions taken. Choose one of the options below that you are most comfortable with:
- Email – Simply fill out the Follow By Email box on the right hand menu. Email addresses are not used or shared with any organization. If you are not comfortable with this option (and many are not) then choose one of the other options below.
- RSS Feed – Select the Subscribe Now: Feed Icon in the right hand menu, and choose your news reader.
- Twitter – I announce all new posts on Twitter, and try to send out updates to followers on news and articles that I think help spread the message that the game must change. You can follow my account: @NoFightinginNHL.
- Facebook – Updates on blog posts and feeds from Twitter automatically end up on http://www.facebook.com/NotPartOfTheGame
Anytime you come across a story about fighting or violence, take the time to leave a comment. Too often the comments sections of these media sites are dominated by those who enjoy a punch to the face or a blind side hit, drowning out those who want to see a cleaner, more exciting game. Make your voice heard by adding a comment whenever you can.
If you have the time to contribute more to this cause then think about using news alerts. You can set up alerts in Google very easily that will send a daily email on any news article that contains “hockey fight” or “NHL fighting”. You can then review the stories by following the URL in the email and comment on those where appropriate. Set up your own search words and expand the number of places where we can spread awareness about cleaning up the game.
If you have a Twitter account, be active in supporting any fan that also wants to see the game cleaned up. Retweet articles that call for action, links to any positive announcement about NHL changes or from those with good ideas on what should be done. Promote the idea that hockey fans need to raise their voices and make the NHL hear what we have to say.
You can also set up and save searches on Twitter as well. This will alert you to any tweets with your keywords and you can reply directly to the individual. Don’t bother engaging the pro-fighting fan. You are not going to change their minds and there is no need to attack someone for their opinions on the game. Stay focused on positive change for the sport of hockey.
Don’t forget to forward tweets to NHL (@NHL) and NHLPA (@NHLPA) that you think they should see. It can be articles supporting our position or, as I have done, outrageous tweets from pro-fighting fans that should embarrass the league and players. I'm sure they've blocked me, but I keep sending them.
Send Emails to NHL and NHLPA
Let the league and the players association know how you feel about the current level of violence in the game. Keep it relevant and professional but most of all send a note every time there is an incident that you feel should be addressed. One letter can be ignored but thousands sent after each illegal hit or disgraceful fight will make a difference. Both the NHL and NHLPA have online email submission forms, and they can be found here:
Get Active on NHL.com
Any fan can create an account on NHL.com and participate in the fan message boards. Once you create an account you can actually visit any NHL team site and, with some restrictions, post comments where appropriate. Some sites require you to set up a profile on that team site and you may have to participate for a short period before you can start a thread. I have done some limited posts on a few sites (Toronto, Detroit, Colorado) and have been in the minority with my opinions. Sticks and stones.
Once you are on a team’s fan message board, you can search for any posts or comments on fighting or illegal hits, and then post your opinion. Again stay positive and let other fans know that the league has to change.
Don’t – try to convert the pro-fighting fan and don’t post comments on the various hockey fight websites or forums. They are not likely to change their view and we don’t need fans fighting with each other. We need the NHL to listen to our message that hockey has to change for the better.
Do – use the material contained in this blog, or from other media articles, to make your points. I have tried to take the position of discounting the myths associated with the fighting culture. Use the studies and stats to show that fighting does not change momentum, does not police the game and certainly does not lead to success by teams who employ enforcers. Post links back to this site or to media sites with relevant information and educate more fans about what must happen.
Don’t – get discouraged. The NHL and NHLPA are not progressive organizations and their members have grown up and played in a culture of enforcers and policing themselves on the ice. It will take time to make a difference.
Do – leave comments on this post about what activity you have undertaken. Provide feedback to the group and suggest other ideas for raising awareness. Share your experience with everyone and draw inspiration from others.