NHL PR Department – Wake Up

Last night in Boston during a game featuring the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins, James Neal and Shawn Thornton made some plays that are going to shed a poor light on the National Hockey League.

If you’ve been living under a rock, or ya know, have a life and aren’t watching hockey on Saturday night, here is a video of the event:


While we now take a moment to focus on the health of Brad Marchand and of course, Brooks Orpik, we also prepare for what is surely to happen out of this mess. Hockey will finally get National attention. Unfortunately, the common theme with terrible incidents on the ice is that they are the ONLY time that hockey gets National attention.

Mere hours after the incident, Dejan Kovacevic of Trib Total Media called for Shawn Thornton to be JAILED for his ASSAULT on Brooks Orpik. Big words from a Pittsburgh based writer. Kovacevic’s post at 9am EST this morning has received 141 comments. Kovaceviv’s last post on Nelson Mandela? 1 comment. If you search on Twitter for a link to Kovacevic’s blog? You see massive amounts of shares.

This is what we call bad PR.

Now, what do we see from the NHL’s Official Public Relations Department? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Here are the departments official tweets on the incident:


Two retweets from the Department of Player Safety. That’s all that was given to the public from the PR department. In other words? Nothing.

There are a few things working in the NHL’s favor:

  1. This incident happened over the weekend, sports’ busiest season
  2. ESPN is way too focused on college football to even figure out if there were hockey games played last night
  3. Today is Sunday, NFL day.
  4. Nightly news shows viewings PLUMMET over the weekend. Talking heads on local news programs won’t have an opportunity to talk about this situation.
  5. No PTI, no Around the Horn, no Jim Rome is Burning

Does this all mean that my Twitter feed isn’t full of people who couldn’t spell Ovechkin talking about hockey and how disgusting that display was? Certainly not.

So, NHL PR Department, allow me to do your job for you. Here is a release on the incident. Feel free to copy and paste to NHL.com when you’re ready to step up to the plate.

The National Hockey League would like to take this moment to acknowledge the actions of a few of our players in a game that took place last night in Boston. During a game between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins on December 7th, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton, and Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal illegally took matters into their own hands to attempt to defend their teammates. Thornton was given a match penalty, and immediately issued an in-person hearing with the Department of Player Safety and the National Hockey League. This allows the department to issue a suspension of six games or more. James Neal was given a minor penalty for kneeing, and also immediately received an over the phone hearing with the Department of Player Safety.

The National Hockey League trusts Brendan Shanahan and the department to make the right decision in leveling supplemental discipline to Bruins forward Shawn Thornton and Penguins forward James Neal. Brendan Shanahan, the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the National Hockey League do not condone the actions that took place on the ice, and all agree to the necessary precautions and consequences put in place to deter actions like this in the future.

While negative attention is also attention, constant negative attention can only be bad. In the matters of PR, two negatives coupled together do not make a positive.


Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Atlantic, Boston, Metropolitan, NHL, Pittsburgh

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