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There is an old saying that continues to go around that states that when a team, it solves most, if not all, problems. From an on ice perspective, the statement is correct. When a team wins, players don’t seem to bicker with each other and we see less of the coach blowing their stack at the players. When a team wins the Stanley Cup, all sour thoughts and actions go out the window for at least a few months. But have you ever thought that winning on the ice brings about success in the media departments of a team?

As an employee of a team, it seems too good to be true when your team wins the cup. The league office hands off what seems like a solid gold staff to lead the fan base. This opportunity is one of those moments that cannot fail. I mean, lets be serious, you just won the Cup. The work ahead of you has just been mapped out like a trip to Disney World. Right?

Wrong.

Winning doesn’t exactly solve everything off the ice. But it doesn’t hurt it either. The real test for each NHL franchise is to capture the energy that is bread from winning. There are teams that succeed, fail, and succeed despite the wrong decisions. Let us take a moment and measure a winning product against the relatively new media outreach program known as Twitter.

Since Twitter is fairly new, were only going to take a look at the top teams since the 2008-2009. We’re going to base it off of the regular season point system. Current season based off of standings on 1/16/11.

Top Four Winning Team since ’08-’09 Season
1.) Washington Capitals – 284 Points
2.) San Jose Sharks – 279 Points
3.) Detroit Red Wings – 276 Points
4.) Chicago Blackhawks – 268 Points

If we jump over to the Twitter side of things and base the usage on followers, you would think that winning should bring about more followers. It may not be that simple. Twitter stats based off of 1/15/11.

NHL Teams with top followers:
1.) Montreal Canadiens  - 87,180 Followers
2.) Pittsburgh Penguins – 55,780 Followers
3.) Chicago Blackhawks – 51,060 Followers
4.) Vancouver Canucks – 50,508 Followers

So what do these stats tell us? Within both lists, we see the only team to make both lists are the defending Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks. Are we then to assume that the staff in the Blackhawk offices capitalized with the gold staff? Maybe. At the same notion, we could assume that the majority of the Penguins fans are under 30 years old who are addicted to Twitter.

In the end, we can say that putting a winning product on the ice in the regular season does not automatically mean you’re going to have success with media and marketing. If your team wins the Stanley Cup, you’re more likely to appear on the second list. If your team is from Canada, there is a significant chance that it will feel like ’93 despite the product on the ice. No matter what conclusions we can draw from it all, we cannot underestimate the importance of marketing and promotion. One thing I didn’t mention is that one of the most successful twitter franchises is the Maple Leafs (which I’ll explain in a later post). We all know they haven’t had as much success on the ice in years.

The good thing about the National Hockey League is that given the correct decisions regarding the players and coaches on the ice, a team can turn it around in two or three seasons. Therefore, it is important to make sure your media office understands the nature of social programs and how to properly use them. Ice the Office will be starting a series on examining who the best takes advantage of social media and how to properly help the teams that are struggling. Our first target? Twitter.