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NHL's new social media policy includes blackouts on game days

September 15, 2011 |  3:17 pm

NHL shield Well … it was never going to be easy to operate a BlackBerry with hockey gloves on, anyway.

Kidding aside, the NHL has implemented a new social media policy, imposing a blackout window on game days and for other team-related situations covering players and team personnel. The move follows the lead of the other major U.S. pro sports leagues.

This extends beyond Twitter to social media sites such as MySpace, Facebook and Foursquare. Violators are subject to a fine.

(Thankfully, influential and outspoken player agent Allan Walsh remains beyond the long arm of NHL justice)

The NHL was quick to embrace the social media movement but lagged behind, say, the NBA, which imposed its policies nearly two years ago. That was sparked, in part, by the Milwaukee Bucks' Charlie Villanueva tweeting at halftime of a game during the 2008-09 season.

NHL players will not be allowed to tweet beginning two hours before a game and won't be able to resume until completing postgame media obligations. Rules are stricter -- no game-day use  -- regarding hockey operations personnel.

Rules and memos aside, it should not put much of a dent in social networking, NHL style. New York Islanders winger Michael Grabner (@grabs40) put it best in a tweet Wednesday:

"Heard there will be a social media policy in the NHL..good thing most our my tweets are about food,,napping or video games #dontwanttobefined"

The NHL memo outlining the policies is more common sense than anything else, including one  suggestion: "Pause before posting."

Words to live by. Even for the media.

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-- Lisa Dillman

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