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Written by ItO Staff | 11 August 2011

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The outdoor hockey game lives on! It was announced today that the NCAA will be holding another collegiate outdoor hockey game on January 15th, 2012. The game will have the Michigan Wolverines take on the Ohio State Buckeyes at Progressive Field in Cleveland Ohio. Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro announced the good news today as the Indians look to make the outdoor game their showcase event during their offseason promotions. To heighten the tension between these bitter rivals, Michigan will play Ohio State two days before the slotted date for the outdoor game. As far as I know, there hasn’t been any confirmation if the jerseys shown in the picture above will be the game worn jerseys. Once we get closer to the event, I’m sure that Chris over at Icethetics will be able to give us the full details.

The outdoor hockey game isn’t an idea that has just sprung up. In fact, the first college outdoor game may have inspired the “back to the roots” trend. In 2001, Michigan State University took on the University of Michigan in East Lansing, Michigan. After the game was labeled a huge success, the idea caught on and soon was popping up in North America in the following years (there have been other games out there, this is just a small list):

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Written by ItO_Staff | 10 August 2011

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The National Hockey League has officially announced the dates and schedules for its annual Research, Development, and Orientation Camp. The 2011 event will take place on August 17th and 18th at the Mastercard Centre for Excellence in Etobicoke, Ontario. If you aren’t familiar with this event, it is where the league tests new ideas for rule changes and general operations. The main participants of the camp will be the 2012 draft prospects that will be coached by Dan Bylsma (Penguins) and Dave Tippett (Coyotes). The schedule is already stacked with testing many ideas such as no touch icing, overtime options, net adjustments, as well as faceoff variations (among other things). This camp has proved to be a great event to work out bugs or shoot down wild ideas that make their way to the league offices. Whether or not they decide to make major changes is up to Brendan Shanahan, who is the Senior Vice President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations for the league. However, if they are serious about improving the game, they should address one scenario this year – overtime rules.

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Written by ItO_Staff | 09 August 2011

There was a small part of me that was listening for it - the squeak of a musical note that played when I took a step on Broadway. In many ways, I was searching for my own personal soundtrack to this trip. But I wasn’t in Nashville to check out the sounds that wafted out of the bars and venues. So forget the Listening Room, 3rd and Lindsley, and the Bluebird Café. Put aside the warm biscuits from the Loveless Café and step away from B&C BBQ. I was here to research the Predators organization and try to examine a few off ice items.

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As I began to walk to the arena from my parking space, I couldn’t help but to think of the small group of hockey fans that always are quick to place the Predators on the fast track out of Nashville. When moving rumors surface in your first year of existence, I suppose the quick assumptions will never cease. One of the ways to potentially remove the target is for the Predators to win the Stanley Cup. Although if you examine the current Islanders situation, that might not help either.

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Written by ItO Staff | 20 July 2011

MOOOOOOOOOOM, Phineas and Ferb are teaming up with the NHL!

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What?

Yes, you read that correctly. The news was released today at the 2011 NHL Exchange licensed products and retail trade show inside the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The league was happy to announce a new merchandise deal with Disney Consumer Products concerning Disney’s Phineas and Ferb cartoon show. Join Phineas, Ferb, Perry, Candice, and all the characters as they work their way into an NHL adventure kids could get excited about. According to the press release, the collection will be coming to a store near in time for the 2011-12 season:

“The Disney and the NHL collection will include apparel, headwear, house & home products and collectibles featuring characters from Phineas and Ferb wearing NHL and team-branded merchandise. NHL and Disney licensees will deliver the new products to retail stores throughout North America in fall 2011, just in time for the new school year and the 2011-12 NHL season.”

Moments after the news broke,

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Written by ItO Staff | 18 July 2011

It is with great pleasure that I get to announce the first road trip for Ice the Office! Due to multiple reasons (work mainly), I will be on the road at the end of this week + the weekend. One of the good bonuses is that I’ll be able to check out the home of a Western Conference team. The very first stop for Ice the Office will be the…

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I have to admit that this won’t be my first trip to Nashville. I’ve been there a few times and know my way around. However, it will be the first trip to another NHL city since I started this blog back in February 2011.

In the next few years, it is my goal to stop in a handful of NHL cities to explore the team, arena, and soak in the hockey culture. I’d like to hit at least ten different cities (or more if possible) and then write blog posts based on my observations. The only trip that is set is obviously Nashville. There are no set dates going forward but open to ideas as far as planning goes.

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Written by ItO Staff | 14 July 2011

Yesterday as I was going through a few books set in my “to read” stack, I came across a book called The Long Tail by a man named Chris Anderson. I immediately picked the book up and began reading. If you haven’t heard of the book, the basic premise of it is that the future of economics lies within the abundant nature of the digital age. To break it down quickly, this means that if a business sells directly online without the expenses of rent, utilities, and employee salaries, that it will be able to store a wider selection of items for purchase. Even if an item is not high in demand, the earnings from the least wanted items combined brings in a significant percentage of profit for the company. Mr. Anderson obviously uses plenty of examples and explains the nature of what is deemed the long tail of digital economics (no matter how minute the demand is, every digitally stored item will provide profit).

While the book is a great read, I couldn’t help but to sit there wondering if the NHL could strategically create a digital tail of its own to secure additional revenue. Going through the list of possibilities was fairly easy given that the item up for sale most likely had to be transferred wirelessly. Merchandise items such as jerseys, shirts, and branded gifts were immediately eliminated. Game and special event tickets were thrown to the wayside as well. However, one item that did make the cut was the broadcasting of games.

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Now I understand that wandering into the yellow tape of broadcasting rights can be a very dangerous path so instead I’m going to approach the subject with a curve ball. Would it be possible for the National Hockey League to develop a long tail of profit by using edited video highlights of each game post final whistle? Let me try to explain the concept.

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Written by ItO_Staff | 05 July 2011

Ice the Office continues to take a look at the proper way to use Twitter with the fourth post in our series today. In the past post, I said I would be covering the use of homer-ism in your twitter account but I’m going to put a twist on things and have that become Part 5. Instead, I want to explore the idea of Twitter Free Agency amongst the players.

If you've missed any of the previous series posts, you can find them by clicking the links below:

Part 1: Proper Beginnings
Part 2: Covering an NHL game by Tweets
Part 3: Engaging the Follower

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Tweet Me Hard National Hockey League: Part 4 - Free Agency Chirps On


The 2010-2011 Season has come to end and the cup has been raised. Congratulations to the Boston Bruins for winning the Stanley Cup! I will also award congratulations to Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli for not blowing your team up due to salary cup issues or locker room fiascos. At least we can say that orange and red are exciting colors. Right?

For a large portion of players, they find themselves on the outside of their former team due to the fact that their contract has ended. They are free to negotiate with other clubs to create and sign a new contract. Now we all know the differences between UFAs and RFAs so I won’t break down what separates the two mainly because it makes no difference when it comes to Twitter.

If you are an NHL player that enjoys a tweet or two, the moment that free agency begins (provided you’re a UFA or RFA), do not touch twitter until the contract situation is over. Most negotiations will go rather quickly so don’t worry about missing out. At most, you’ll probably be quiet for about a week or more – depending on the issues you face. So lets recap the most important rule of being a free agent in the social media world:

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Written by ItO_Staff | 26 June 2011

There seems to be a lot of discussion as of late about how the NHL breaks up their 30 clubs for divisional and conference play. Now that the Thrashers have become the Winnipeg Jets, it forces the league office to play a bit of mix and match for the 2012-2013 season.

Within the past few days, a story was placed on ESPN.com about a massive shakeup for the 2012-2013 season instead of just switching teams around in divisional play. It states that there is a thought going around that the league will form four divisions and base those divisions off of location and time zones.

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(Map courtesy of Icethetics - A fantastic blog that you can find here)

I don't know when or where it started, but there is a growing movement to rekindle the magic from when there was just the Patrick-Adams Divisions (Whales) and Norris-Smythe Divisions (Campbell). People always forget that the league is a lot bigger these days and has grown out of playing in a four-division system. When the league gets together in December to figure out what they want to do, they should stick with the current system but tweak it just a bit.

The first thing that needs to be addressed is the hole that Winnipeg left in the East. The solution that makes sense geographically and financially would be putting the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Southeast division. I toyed with the idea of putting Columbus with Pittsburgh and Buffalo but the problem with an east reshuffle is the New York-New Jersey connections. It would absolutely absurd to break up those three teams. Geographical location really tied up any logical move. The one thing I would never consider is putting the Detroit Red Wings in the East. Doing so creates an imbalance of conferences. Think of it this way – you need to swap a weak team for a weak team. Putting one of the most stable Western Conference teams in the East for the Jets doesn’t make financial sense.

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Written by ItO_Staff | 07 June 2011

One of the biggest sports stories in the past month has to have been the relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers hockey club. In late May, the NHL came to an agreement with True North Entertainment to move the team to Canada. The new destination will be Winnipeg, a city that once had a team not too long ago.

The dust hasn’t settled for this transaction, as the move still needs approval from the NHL board of governors. They also need to decide on a new team name and colors. For the most part, however, it is just a matter of time before everything falls into place. Atlanta’s failure is Winnipeg’s gain. End of story. Right?

Wrong.

Before we raise our arms in celebration for the return of the NHL in Winnipeg, we need to realize that the reappearance of an NHL team is nothing more than a dream experiment carried out by the league. Lest we forget that this will be Winnipeg’s second chance at trying to develop a franchise. The city has already proven that it can fail miserably. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this city fails a second time. The only difference between the 1996 Winnipeg team and the 2011 Winnipeg team are the owners. Truth North, led by David Thomson, will decide if this team is a success or failure - not the recent rush of fans coming out of the woodwork or the money that is pouring in from ticket sales.

To be painfully honest, the league office doesn’t care what happens to this team. What they do care about is

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Written by ItO_Staff | 03 June 2011

It never gets easier seeing a team move. No matter what the sport is, there is part of my heart that feels for the dedicated fanbase of the team that is moving - in this case, the Atlanta Thrasher fans. All things considered, hockey has died in Atlanta. Twice. The National Hockey League will never call The Big Peach home again.

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While a percentage of fans are burning their Thrashers jerseys and expressing their hate toward Gary Bettman (there were plenty of more issues than Bettman, FYI), the rest of us are waiting in anticipation in what will develop in the city of Winnipeg. Questions cannot be answered fast enough as the floodgates have opened by the press and fans.

  • What will be the team name?
  • How many season ticket holders do they have so far?
  • What will the jerseys look like?
  • Will the new owners spend to the cap?
  • Will I be able to order Tim Hortons inside the arena?

All these questions will be answered in due time but there is one aspect that hasn’t grabbed national headline:

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