Twitter campaign helps NHL kick off season

NEW YORK: While the NBA and NFL are restricting the use of Twitter, the National Hockey League (NHL) is embracing the social media site as the season starts this week.

NEW YORK: While the NBA and NFL are restricting the use of Twitter, the National Hockey League (NHL) is embracing the social media site as the season starts this week. To help kick off the season, which started on Thursday, and to celebrate the fact that all 30 NHL teams will play on Saturday, the NHL is hosting a Twitter contest for fans.

To participate in the #NHLPick15 contest, fans must follow @NHL on Twitter, and direct a tweet to the league with its winner picks for Saturday and the answer to a tie-break question by 11:59pm tonight. The winner will receive two tickets to any regular season game of his or her choosing.

One of the challenges of interacting with NHL fans is the fact that generally they only follow one or two teams in the league, said Michael DiLorenzo, director of social media marketing and strategy for the NHL. "We thought, 'how can we activate people to care about the other 14 games going on?'" he said.

NHL currently has more than 8,000 followers on Twitter, and has been gaining fans since it revealed the promotion on NHL.com on Tuesday, DiLorenzo said. The league is also in the process of revamping its MySpace and Facebook pages. So far, it has not restricted the use of Twitter or other social networking sites by its players as have some other sports.

"This is a great exercise to see what is our true reach on Twitter," he said, adding that the goals were to build up the NHL's Twitter fan base, build buzz for the new season, and "get people excited about those other 14 games."

The league is working with VaynerMedia on this campaign, DiLorenzo said. It plans to create a similar promotion on October 24, the next day all 30 teams play.

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