2011 Stanley Cup Finals: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
Six years after a disastrous lockout and cancelled season, the National Hockey League is finally regaining the luster it once had decades ago. Every game during the 2011 NHL playoffs was sold out, and Game 6 of the Finals broke viewer records in Canada and the U.S. The viewing statistics are not out on Game 7 yet but they too are expected to be record breaking. Below is my take on the Stanley Cup Finals from a neutral point of view and how social media impacted the series.
Social media was featured by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) during this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. They teamed up with social network GetGlue.com to build a site (Hockey Night Pulse) where fans could check-in and share their thoughts during the playoffs. Before the Bruins and Canucks faced off in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Hockey Night Pulse already had a reach of 14 million people. Game 7 of the Finals had a storybook build up which may have helped generate all of the passionate buzz from celebrities on Twitter.
The series was a poor example of sportsmanship for all the young kids watching. Game 1 featured a finger biting incident, with Alex Burrows doing his best Mike Tyson impression on Patrice Bergeron. Then Game 3 featured a vicious hit that Canuck Aaron Rome delivered on Bruin Nathan Horton, leaving Horton unconscious and unable to play the remainder of the series. Game 6 featured an eerie play where Mason Raymond was run into the boards with his head and neck awkwardly bent, and fractured a vertebrae. Game 7 was no different with cheap shots and late hits everywhere. It was sad to see some of the players and coaches lose their grip and act irrationally.
The people of Vancouver took to the streets for a destructive riot to show their displeasure for the loss suffered by the Canucks. The riot was extreme and photographs are circulating on social networks. The Vancouver Police Department is even asking the people of Vancouver to post riot photos to help arrest those involved. They tweeted via the @VancouverPD account, “So sad watching our #VPD cars on fire and how quickly people can turn from law abiding to law breaking. #canucksriot.” #canucksriot and “Dear Vancouver” are both currently trending on Twitter, with many tweeters condemning the people of Vancouver for their actions.
*On a positive note, the Post Riot Clean-up – Let’s help Vancouver Facebook Event has almost 12,000 registered attendees to help clean up the mess. The Vancouver Police Department is expected to announce via their Twitter account today how people can submit photos and video of the riot to them.
The NHL is on the way back to engaging the North American people with the sport and social media will help them lead the way. This is a sad end to the season but the rioters will be punished and the league will move on.