NHL fans are preparing for the potential for another lockout, and they’re not happy. But you won’t see them outside their local arenas with signs protesting. They’re taking the protest online and using social media to show their dissatisfaction.
In fact, it won’t be an active revolt. They will be ignoring their favorite teams en masse.
Kerri Faithfull, a 25-year-old Rangers fan from Long Island, and Alexa Heinrich, a 21-year-old Blackhawks and Panthers fan in Chicago, have started a social media movement for fellow fans to show their displeasure with the potential of a lockout. It’s called Unfollow NHL Sept. 15.
They’re encouraging fans to unfollow the NHL, the teams, the NHLPA and the players on social media on Sept. 15, which is the deadline for a new CBA to be completed. Gary Bettman has threatened a lockout if a new CBA is not completed by then.
But the plan also includes not buying NHL merchandise and boycotting NHL sponsors when possible. Faithfull also said they hope to reduce traffic to NHL.com and the team websites by getting news from other sources. As they talk to other fans, she said, there may be other ways the group protests online.
“We are the ones keeping these rich guys in business, yet we have no way to get our thoughts and opinions across,” Faithfull said in an e-mail message.
Heinrich said while the owners and players argue over money, there is no room for the fans to tell them they need to remember the fans.
“Hopefully, if we can get enough people on board with the movement in the next month, the NHL will notice when their Twitter followers drop, when their Facebook page isn’t as popular, when merchandise isn’t moving as quickly as it used to,” she said in an e-mail message. “Same with the players. We want them to notice us. We want them to remember that the fans matter too.”
The duo doesn’t expect to stop a lockout, though. They just want to make sure the league and the NHLPA knows fans’ opinions.
“We’re not expecting miracles,” Heinrich said. “We know that Bettman’s not going to descend from on high and kill a potential lockout just because fans are upset. We really just want to send the NHL and the players a message. The NHL is nothing without fans. We buy jerseys, fill seats, pay for overpriced beer and cheer until our throats are hoarse. We love our teams until we have nothing left to give. We don’t want them to forget that. All we want is hockey. We love hockey.”
Faithfull said lots of people could be affected by a lockout, just not fans, and she hopes the movement can make players and owners consider how a lockout could affect all of them.
“There are many parties involved in these negotiations, and yet only two are allowed at the table,” she said. “What about the ushers or the concession workers who will lose work if the league locks out? What about the fans who use hockey as a way to relax, bond with family or friends or just to have a good time? We achieved our goal if just one person in those negotiations thinks about how this league affects all of us.”
Fittingly the idea came after Faithfull and Heinrich were discussing on Twitter how they can express their displeasure with the CBA negotiations less than a week ago. They have been spreading the word via social media too with a Twitter account, Facebook page and Tumblr blog. Their Twitter account already has close to 1,000 followers in less than a week.
And while both sides continue to squabble, Faithfull and Heinrich still hope there won’t be a lockout. “The last lockout was terrible,” Heinrich said. “I’m hoping that the NHL will just agree to the NHLPA’s proposal and we can all go back to our normal heart rates. Well, at least until the season starts.”
Filed Under: Rangers
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.