No one can deny the impact that social media has made on the digital age. When you are trying to keep your fan base informed about the latest promotion, need to get the word out on a scheduling update or just want to rev up their engines with new ice girls pictures, social media outlets like Twitter are essential mediums for keeping fans engaged. No where is that more true than for the 30 teams of the National Hockey League. Each NHL team maintains their own feed and executes a slightly different strategy for strengthening the glue that connects them with the fans who fill the seats and buy the team gear.
When looking at the NHL fan bases on Twitter, it is easy to assume that Canadian fans will pack their team’s Twitter feed in stronger numbers than those in sunny Florida. Its an interesting exercise to map out how the leagues’ standings would look if Twitter followers were the mark of champions rather than team wins. Let’s take a look at how the Twitter numbers would map out the league.
1. Vancouver Canucks : 343,587 followers
2. Chicago Blackhawks : 252,985 followers
3. Detroit Red Wings : 250,793 followers
4. Los Angeles Kings : 190,000 followers
5. Edmonton Oilers : 186,676 followers
6. Calgary Flames : 140,050 followers
7. St Louis Blues : 124,482 followers
8. San Jose Sharks : 123,339 followers
9. Minnesota Wild : 112,977 followers
10. Colorado Avalanche : 98,056 followers
11. Nashville Predators : 91,828 followers
12. Dallas Stars : 91,531 followers
13. Anaheim Ducks : 88,780 followers
14. Columbus Blue Jackets : 72,181 followers
15. Phoenix Coyotes : 67,287 followers
1. Montreal Canadiens : 360,365 followers
2. Pittsburgh Penguins : 311,419 followers
3. Boston Bruins : 285,079 followers
4. Toronto Maple Leafs : 254,285 followers
5. Philadelphia Flyers : 229,771 followers
6. New York Rangers : 201,285 followers
7. Washington Capitals : 148,149 followers
8. New Jersey Devils : 146,864 followers
9. Winnipeg Jets : 127,007 followers
10. Buffalo Sabres : 126,927 followers
11. Ottawa Senators : 100,548 followers
12. Tampa Bay Lightning : 94,415 followers
13. Carolina Hurricanes : 75,476 followers
14. Florida Panthers : 65,483 followers
15. New York Islanders : 64,883 followers
There’s plenty of divergence in Twitter following as expected. The New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Phoenix Coyotes hover around or below the 75,000 follower mark, while the Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks all exceed 300,000 followers.
Both conferences are headed by a Canadian team in the Canucks and Canadiens respectively. The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames also rank fourth and fifth in the West, while the Toronto Maple Leafs rank fourth. Interestingly, the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets don’t do as well, ranking outside of the playoff slots in the Eastern conference. It should be noted that Winnipeg’s team is still in its infancy, at just over a year old, so that factoid needs to be taken into consideration.
The last four Western conference champions make up the top four in their conference with Vancouver, the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and defending champion Los Angeles Kings leading the way in terms of Twitter followers.
The Phoenix Coyotes, who are fighting for their very existence after Greg Jamison’s failed ownership bid, rank dead last in the West in terms of followers, but do have more of a following than either Florida or the Islanders from the East.