The age of social media is upon us, whether we like it or not. These days there are so many different ways to communicate with people without using conventional methods; see telephone calls and face to face conversation.
This media revolution has also given us unprecedented direct access to our favorite athletes without the benefit of a press pass or a "friend of a friend." Facebook and Twitter lead the way in the technology movement to give people news and information at a volume and speed like never before.
While some athletes struggle with content on the information super highway, others use it well as a platform to interact with a fan base from a safe distance. A 24-hour media means that today's professional athlete is scrutinized like never before. While the attention is welcome to those who love the stage and spotlight, there are others who are less accommodating.
There are currently 100 million active Twitter users. While an estimated 40% of active Twitter users use the service to keep tabs on news and people, over 55% now do so on mobile devices.The top athletes in each sport receive more coverage today than ever. ESPN ensures that the sports news camera is never turned off, and that the flow of information on sports and its participants never ceases.
Twitter exponentially increases an athlete's exposure, whether it is a comment, a picture a video or fan interaction. Its voyeuristic nature lets us see how our favorite people live outside the lines, when they are away from the spotlight. While some of Twitter is just blatant, narcissistic attempts to ensure relevance, many athletes appreciate that they are in complete control of the content that they release.
Hockey players often find themselves far from the spotlight because of the NHL's struggles for relevance in the mainstream. By nature, NHL players are considered to be the most grounded of the four major sports. The NHL's relative anonymity translates into some pretty entertaining exposure for some of hockey's stars, and from lesser known players who would like to be "media" stars.
Here are the players from each NHL team that you need to "follow on the Twitter."
On-ice assailant, power play specialist, minister of moustachery
George Parros for sure looks like one of the scariest dudes on the ice. With hair on his head and face sure to make Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck envious, the Ducks winger also likes to open a can of "whoop ass" on a nightly basis. While dropping his gloves isn't the most common occupation for a Princeton graduate, there is a lot more to George Parros.
Parros is heavily involved in charity work, using the mustache to generate revenue for organizations, and donating lots of time to helping kids. He also has a great sense of humor, labeling himself a power play specialist and the "minister of moustachery."
play for the boston bruins in the nhl
Success and youth are such a great and unpredictable combination. Tyler Seguin has cornered both, and has made some unsurprisingly poor decisions. The Bruins Stanley Cup run last year gave the Boston rookie unprecedented access to the city and all of its available libations. Problem, as Seguin was only 19.
Money, fame and success in a sports-crazy town like Boston is a #winning combination, and Seguin typically tweets to let us in on some of the action. He's also been instrumental in getting several teammates on Twitter.
Official Twitter Page of Travis Turnbull. Professional Hockey player under contract with the Buffalo Sabres and a University of Michigan Alum Go Blue!
St. Louis, MO
Travis Turnbull doesn't have the most followers on the Sabres, but certainly seems to tweet the most. He's a guy that the average fan doesn't know about, but as a professional athlete gives the most candid look behind the scenes. One thing I've found on Twitter is that the big stars don't tweet as much, and are more guarded in what they post. Young guys without the ego=great, honest, informative and funny tweets.
Turnbull isn't on the ice for his stick as much as for his energy and grit. Translation: skate hard and mix it up, drop the gloves if you need to.
His tweets are often involving his dog Minka and other hijinks with teammates. Makes for a good follow for a pretty funny dude.
My one and only real Twitter account...Thanks for following!
Mike Cammalleri is living proof that you can literally talk yourself out of town in Montreal. Whether it was the timing of his rant, or something much deeper than his scathing comments about the Canadian's play we'll never know. Either one found the mercurial winger with his bags packed for Calgary.
While never being one to shy away from dropping his opinion, Cammi uses Twitter for Q and A with fans and does a ton of charity work as well. With more than 900 tweets, he is both active and interactive with fans and media
Official twitter account of Anthony Stewart. North Carolina by way of Toronto Ont, Canada. Do Better Than Good Enough.
Anthony Stewart was just recently put on waivers by the Canes, but it hasn't seemed to dampen his spirits on Twitter. Stewart comes from a family of seven (including younger brother Chris, of the St. Louis Blues) and had what can only be described as a tough life growing up. While he's certainly not in the category of superstar, Stewart's quote on the Twitter bio speaks for itself.
"Do Better Than Good Enough."
Stewart has rebounded from his team's "wake up call" with a new lease on life and a spot on the Cane's first line.
Proud member of the Chicago Blackhawks!!!! From Espoo Finland. World Champion!!!
Blackhawks defenseman Sami Lepisto is one of the more active picture-takers on Twitter, documenting his experiences from almost everywhere. With more than 700 tweets, the former Coyote often engages former teammate Paul Bissonette in some depreciating humor. Sami hops around from team to team (four in five years) quite a bit, so hopefully he's found his home in the Windy City.
Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche Official Twitter Page
Matt Duchene goes against the grain on conventional stars and Twitter. His 860 tweets have him at or near the top of the Avs roster. He is a star in the making, scoring the fastest 100 points in franchise history. Not bad, considering the franchise has seen guys like Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Milan Hedjuk.
Though he was benched by coach Joe Sacco recently, Duchene never took his baggage on line to chirp about unrest. Instead, Duchene was tweeting about buying a Peyton Manning jersey and thanking the Avs crowd for their support.
I'm not an Avs fan, but it's hard not to like this guy.
Official Twitter feed of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Mark Dekanich. History major w/ a minor in Sociology and Anthropology from Colgate University '08
You would think that being a goalie in Columbus right now would give you plenty to talk about. Injured goalie Mark Dekanich certainly supports that theory with almost 4000 tweets. Being hurt has given him plenty of time to tweet about his pugs, cooking tips and fashion advice.
Get healthy soon Mark, Columbus needs your help in goal.
The Official twitter account for Steve Ott. Wearing number 29 for your Dallas Stars. Loved by many, Hated by many....MORE.
Honorable mention to Eric Nystrom—#23 Eric Nystrom—@enystrom23.
Steve Ott exemplifies the Dallas motto of Pesky Stars. His Twitter quote says it best. "Loved by many, hated by many ....MORE". His Twitter background is him punching someone from the Blues in the face. He's relatively new to Twitter but already has more than 350 tweets to his name.
He's a pretty funny guy and provides great inside looks for Stars fans.
Mimico boy born and raised..... Property of the Detroit Red Wings and a UW Badgers Alumni
The Red Wings don't have a lot of guys on Twitter, at least not officially. Wings rookie defenseman Brendan Smith is probably your best option. He is pretty active on the Twitte,r and from all indications doesn't take himself that seriously. His 401 tweets are by far and away the most on the Red Wings roster.
Just recently sent down to Grand Rapids to get more ice time, Brendan will be back in Detroit for the playoffs.
Born in Chatham, ONT. A member of the Edmonton Oilers NHL team. Thanks to Ryan Smyth I now have the 2nd best hair on the team... damn u #94!!
This is probably one of the funnier bios on Twitter. Jones and his 2300 tweets are always active in the Pacific Northwest. Whether he is out killing wild animals or penalties for the up-and-coming Oilers, Ryan Jones is a personal favorite and a great follow.
In the above pic, Jones tweeted that "all i want for Christmas is RNH's(Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) hands." Great quote, better pic.
NHL Player- Florida Panthers
Panther's forward Scottie Upshall changes his address quite a bit. This season might be his last in Florida as well. One thing that stays the same, Scottie likes the ladies, and they like him right back. Google Scottie Upshall and half of the pics are scantily clad women.He's been linked most recently to MTV's sports reporter @Melanie_Collins.
He's a great follow on Twitter, because one of the great things about playing for different teams is the networking between players. Upshall's hair even has it's own Twitter page-- @Uppys_Hair. Enough said.
Captain, Right Wing of the Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles ·
The LA Kings captain plays like a human wrecking ball. He skates hard, finishes checks and shoots pucks like they owe him money. He is also super active on Twitter, and is a self professed Apple junkie. He constantly tweets about upgrades for games and tools for his iPad.
D Brown is a huge family man, and is always raising awareness for the many charities he works with. He has good interactions with the fans and is a super classy guy in a city that infrequently recognizes it. He's a must follow for any hockey fan.
I do all kinds of fun activities and am not named zack.
Because he has one of the coolest Twitter handles ever, Matt Kassian would barely have to try to get on this list. The fact that he tweets regularly and is pretty damn funny makes him a must-follow.
That's a classic bio. Zack, of course is his highly touted brother who was just traded to Vancouver. 1295 tweets and a nasty right hook makes Matt Kassian a great Twitter follow—or else!
The official twitter account of P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens!
You should follow Subban solely for the above hit. Just kidding—kind of. Subban is a lightning rod of controversy who plays the game along the line between cheap and aggressive, depending on who you cheer for. In the case of this video, I think we can all agree that Brad Marchand probably had it coming.
Actually, he's a really funny guy with great rapport with his fans. Lots of people hate him, including his coach at times, but there's no denying his talent on the ice and on the web,
NHL Player - Nashville Predators
As the first Inuk player to play in the NHL, Jordin Tootoo bears the burden of a nation every time he steps on the ice. He has also become something of a media mogul in his adopted hometown of Nashville. With a local TV show and tons of charity work, Tootoo is all over Twitter as well with more than 1200 tweets.
Mark 8:36. Christian. Father. WP4L
South Central, PA
OK, so maybe I've never played in the NHL, but I played club hockey in college and was an All-Star for three years in my fat guy/beer league. With silky mitts, a wicked slapper, combined with some Doug Glatt skating, I could have been the next big thing.
The only real Twitter feed belonging to a current New Jersey Devil, that I can find is Patrick Elias. His last tweet was from about two years ago. We'd love to see Ilya Kovalchuk get a Twitter account because he seems like a pretty interesting cat, but nothing to report "officially" from Kovie at press time.
Someone with a pretty good sense of humor was using a Twitter handle bearing Kovalchuk's name, but it's not legit.
LW/RW New York Islanders #40
Michael Grabner is a speedy Austrian who tweets almost daily. His latest tweets include his new tattoos, his exploits at the poker table and upcoming games against the Penguins.
Although the Islanders are typically irrelevant this time of year, the hijinks involving Grabner, rising star teammates John Tavares and Matt Moulson keep Islander fans interested all year long.
Honorable Mention goes to Henrik Lundqvist for 1) Being handsome, and 2) Playing in a band with John McEnroe.
Rupp is a cagey veteran who has bounced around the league quite a bit. He's found a niche and a home in the Atlantic conference for the Pens now Rangers. Rupp is also a veteran of almost 600 tweets and has great interaction with fans, doing Q and A's and playing Mystery melon, where fans have to guess "whose head?"—the back of which Rupp has taken a picture of.
Mark Borowiecki. Who?! That's what I thought.
i play hockey, fish, hunt. not much else...seriously.
His tweets are pretty funny, though. He's a young, tough defenseman who just got called up to the big team. And honestly, he's the only verified player on the Sens who actually seems to get on Twitter regularly.
#19 on the Philadelphia Flyers... love Flyer fans, love Philly.
Flyer fans love their "Sideshow Bob" doppelganger, and Hartnell loves them back. He's relatively new to the Twittersphere, but he likes to take lots of pics and is interactive with fans.
He joined Twitter last November, and has embraced a group of fans who coined the hashtag #Hartnelldown, referencing Hartnell's oft-awkward skating. Hartnell has since helped create a web site and merchandise with the phrase and donates proceeds to charity.
Did you expect anyone else from Phoenix? Really?
Play in the NHL for the Phoenix Coyotes. Well sort of. Once played in the ECHL for the Wheeling Nailers, seriously, that was the name. Living the dream.
He's the king of the NHL social media universe. The self depreciating, self-promoting Coyote tough guy is making a great living through Twitter, and has his own line of swag with Sauce hockey.
Fun fact: Bissonette's current foray into the Twitterverse is his second, after his initial @PaulBizNasty was banned for making fun of Ilya Kovalchuk, hence the 2point0. Love him or hate him, he is undeniably entertaining.
Official Twitter page of Evgeni Geno Malkin.
If you speak Russian and are a huge fan of high scoring Eastern-bloc freight trains, then boy do we have the Twitter page for you. Malkin actually tweets a ton more than you might think. Though I'm sure the stuff I can't decipher is hilarious, the English stuff is pretty good too.
Center for the San Jose Sharks
The Sharks second year man has over 2000 tweets to his name and is active daily. Couture has a great sense of humor, and truly uses Twitter in the best way possible. He's great with fans and has a ton of interaction with fellow NHLers as well.
For Shark fans, Couture is a must-follow.
St. Louis Blues, New Rochelle, NY Terriers Hockey Sorry for bringin' it!
With the distinction (or indignity) of being the only player currently in the NHL with the name Shattenkirk, the Blues defenseman has no choice but to self-depreciate. I happen to be a fan of his in particular because of his name, but he also is the most active member of the Blues on the Twitter.
Lots of funny quips, good fan interaction and photos.
Official twitter of forward Nate Thompson from the TBL
With a mustache like Thompson's, why would you not fall into line and follow this guy. He is the most active on the Lightning roster in the Twitter world. Plus, he's a teammate of Stamkos and his boss is Steve Yzerman. Thompson tweets a ton and posts lots of picks, so with the two Stevies nearby, his tweets have more potential for awesomeness.
Leafs Nation 19
Lupul has really found himself this year after milling around the NHL wearing several different sweaters. Until injury prematurely ended his season, Lupul was having a career year.
He is by far the most active tweeter in the Leafs's locker room, and supports my theory that the players who have been around the league a bit are more interactive on Twitter. He's a pretty interesting dude, right down to the fixation on the lovely ladies of Twitter. Not a coincidence that he and Upshall shared a locker room and still are pretty tight, eh?
I am Bill Sweatt and I play for the Vancouver Canucks organization
Clearly not the most commonly known name in the Vancouver franchise, Billy Sweatt is by far the most active on Twitter. He also boasts the most awesomely gross name in the NHL. While he is currently grinding for the affiliate Chicago Wolves, Sweatt is one of the best with fan interaction. 1600 tweets and most are entertaining.
Hockey player for the Washington Capitals.
With Eric Fehr off to Winnipeg, John Carlson takes the crown in Washington for most interactive player. Mike Green posed a challenge once upon a time, but Carlson leads the team with his 1300+ tweets. Ovechkin gets on the Twitter to abuse caps lock (no pun intended) and ignore spell check from time to time, but Carlson is a more frequent tweeterer.
Nice guy, tries hard, loves the game. Keep calm and carry on
Blake Wheeler is always a good read. He pays attention to the world outside of the NHL and has a great sense of humor. With the Jets back in Winnipeg this year, Wheeler is having a career year and trying to get them to the playoffs. His insights and quotes are fantastic including his comments on Tim Tebow coming to the Jets (NY).