Pronger, Beiber, and Simmonds steal the show on Twitter during NHL All-Star Weekend

christopher-doyle-twitterEarlier this week, we had a chance to reconnect with Christopher Doyle, Head of Sports with Twitter Canada, to recap how NHL All-Star Weekend and the first half of NHL season unfolded on the platform. Get the top insights from our chat below. 

Key takeaways from NHL All-Star Weekend

  • Justin Beiber’s participation generated a lot of engagement.
  • When the NHL announced the roster for the celebrity game on Twitter, they included Beiber’s handle and it went crazy.

  • Pronger taking Beiber into the boards during the game became a wildly tweeted gif and video.
  • 4 of the 5 most retweeted tweets mentioned Beiber.

  • The NHL did their first Periscope 360, a new technology that Twitter has rolled out to their partners. It allows a broadcaster to go live and share their entire surrounding environment, making the broadcast as immersive as possible for viewers. This provided fans greater access to players.
  • Fans had the chance to vote one of four players into the shooting accuracy event at the Skills Competition using a hashtag.
  • MVP Wayne Simmonds (@Simmonds17) was the most mentioned players during the All-Star Game.

Key Takeaways on the first half of the NHL season

  • Austin Matthews (@AM34) has exploded on the scene in his rookie season and was the most mentioned player during the first half. Matthews already had a Twitter handle when he entered the league, a trend that’s becoming the norm because the latest generation of stars grew up on social media.
  • Despite being the NHL’s biggest star, Crosby was not one of the top ten most mentioned players during the first half. However, because he’s not on Twitter, Christopher feels it skews the data as one of the best ways to track activity is via handle mentions.

  • The conversation around the Canadiens has continued in PK Subban’s (@PKSubban1) absense as the Habs were the most mentioned team in the first half. According to Christopher, tweet activity around the Habs correlates with performance on the ice. For example, the biggest jump for the team happens in the playoffs when they win a round. Carey Price’s return this season has also helped.
  • On-ice performance and game effects drive a lot of tweet volume and mentions. The fan base for all Canadian teams has been reenergized on Twitter this season due to on-ice performance compared to last season.
  • Kessel (@PKessel81) being #5 on the most mentioned players list came as a surprise. While he doesn’t tweet often, when he does it’s high impact. For example, his tweets during the World Cup, the Penguins White House visit, and regarding politics.

Things to watch for in the second half

  • Trade deadline is the busiest day for web traffic for sports in Canada. Twitter experiences huge spikes on that day.
  • How the McDavid (@cmcdavid97) and Crosby scoring race plays out.
  • Brent Burns from an on ice and social media perspective. He’s having a Norris type year, has a great personality, and loves using Twitter.

  • Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) is having a great year and really takes to Twitter to connect with fans in interesting ways.
  • The playoff race involving Canadian teams. Playoffs can be significant for Twitter mentions and follower growth as casual fans become more active. Christopher predicts huge spikes, for example, if the Leafs make the playoffs and can win and round or two.
  • Roster speculation around the Vegas Golden Knights.

Other notables

  • Hockey in Canada is a 365 day conversation on Twitter in Canada. The conversation is mostly around the players. Less around the business side of things (such as relocation).
  • For more details on how the first half of the NHL season unfolded on Twitter, check out Twitter Canada’s blog.

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