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NHL To “Regulate” Bloggers??

By Mark Solway | July 11th, 2007

From On Frozen Blog , one of my favorite hockey blogs, comes this little nugget… NHL Plans to Formulate Blogger Policy By Gustafsson In today’s Globe and Mail , William Houston continues a discussion started when the NCAA expelled a blogger from a college baseball game this spring. In the piece he mentions the New York Islanders’ Blog Box but fails to discuss the unprecedented access granted by the Washington Capitals and their blogger-owner Ted Leonsis. He does feed us this little nugget: \x93This summer, the NHL and National Basketball Association plan to formulate their own policies for bloggers. \x93Frank Brown, the vice-president of media relations for the NHL, said the league wants to set boundaries without inhibiting coverage. \x93’We are incredibly respectful of the voraciousness with which the digital consumers participate in NHL dialogue,’ he said. At the same time, we have to be equally protective of entities that are entitled to protection. You have to serve several masters.’\x94 Leonsis has frequently commented on the positive impact bloggers have on expanding coverage of the Capitals. He also believes that bloggers can fill in the cavernous void commonly created by mainstream media’s indifference/hostility to, and superficial coverage of, hockey in general. This sentiment comes from the team with a blogger policy already in place and a blogger presence established in the press box. The most troubling part of the article? \x93Some speculate that blogging rights will eventually become revenue sources for the league.\x94 Having already junked hockey sweaters in favor of a more expensive \x93Uniform System,\x94 is Commissioner Bettman poised to try and profit from a free press as well? Is a \x93Blog System\x94 on the horizon? A tap of the stick to Paul Kukla for the assist. The NHL in the US NEEDS the fans to embrace the sport in order to grow the sport. What good does it do to have the obligatory coverage most sports editors give the local NHL team when the information is generic and stale. This is the electronic age, and for a league still on the rise after a meteoric fall due to the work stoppage to intimate that the fans are less important than the local beat writer is insane, and to do so in direct conflict with an individual team’s policy would be utterly ridiculous. Even the NFL defers to the franchise’s policy. I tried to apply for credentials to the draft last year, and I was told that to be considered for NFL credentials, I had to meet set criterion, all of which came from the Washington Redskins organization. There are f2fa members who are credentialed by their respective teams, most notable the Jets Insider and Panthers Huddle sites. Gary Bettman, I say this to you: be careful what you decide in this matter. Hockey fans are some of the most passionate fans in all of sportsdom. You’d be wise to remember that the best and most coverage comes from those passionate fans and not the local beat writer whose likely covering hockey until he can get an NFL…

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