The Danger of Social Media for Young Hockey Players

Prior to the start of the 2012/13 season, the NCAA suspended a high profile freshman recruit for 30% of the season, in part, for photographs that were posted on Twitter.

In 2007, the Toronto Maple Leafs banned cell phones from its dressing room in response to nude photos of one of its young prospects appearing on the internet.

The message for young hockey players who aspire to play professional hockey is clear: your posts on social media are being monitored by NHL teams and governing bodies such as the NCAA, and your career can be irreparably harmed by what you chose to post on your social media accounts.

Question: “What should I Tweet?”
Answer: “Not much”. And certainly nothing that could be deemed controversial.

The current generation of young hockey players are growing up in a different environment than players of the past. The growth of social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are giving hockey clubs and NCAA hockey programs a new source of information to evaluate the mindset and character of a potential draft pick or recruit. Social Media also gives governing bodies such as the NCAA the opportunity to enforce their rules and regulations more strictly and with greater accuracy.

Can your Twitter account hurt your chances of being an NHL’er? The answer is…..100% YES.

Trying to make the National Hockey League is an extremely difficult, complex, unforgiving, and often times unfair journey, and very few players ever achieve their ultimate goal. So why make it more difficult than it already is?

The use of Social Media cannot assist you to achieve your goal of playing in the NHL, but it can certainly hurt your chances if NHL scouts and management don’t like what you are posting.

A player’s character is an important consideration of NHL teams at the Draft, and they investigate players’ social media accounts in an effort to get a good look at each player’s personality.

If you use social media to show how dedicated you are to becoming a better hockey player, or to provide leadership for your teammates, then tweet all you want. If you use profanity and trash talk, or post inappropriate photos, be warned that the hockey world will most certainly see them, and the consequences can be severe.

If you hope to become a high profile athlete, keeping a low profile on social media is the route to take.

– Rich Evans

Rich Evans is an NHLPA Certified Agent and the founder of Points West Sports & Entertainment, Inc. Rich has been an agent for NHL players since 2000. He also represents players in Canadian Major Junior (WHL, OHL, QMJHL), and acts as a family advisor for NCAA, Canadian Jr A, and USHL players.

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