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Thursday, September 15, 2011
Breaking down NHL's social media policy

By ESPN.com

The NHL distributed a "collectively bargained" social media policy to all 30 teams Wednesday, which included "useful social media tips" along with game-day restrictions for hockey personnel and players.

According to a copy of the policy obtained by ESPN.com, it applies to all hockey operations personnel, including "general managers and their staff, coaching staff, training staff, etc.", as well as all players.

The blackout period for any social media was outlined as follows:

Use of social media by Hockey Operations personnel is prohibited on game day (including all Preseason, Regular Season and Playoff Games, but excluding All-Star events or other special purpose events or exhibitions) beginning at 11 a.m. on the day of the game and ending after post-game media obligations. Hockey Operations personnel may not use family members, friends, or other
representatives as conduits to circumvent this rule.

Use of social media by Players scheduled to play in a particular game (including all Preseason, Regular Season and Playoff Games, but excluding All-Star events or other special purpose events or exhibitions) is prohibited beginning two (2) hours prior to the opening face-off and ending upon cessation of post-game media obligations. Non-compliance with the preceding sentence may result in
fines ...

Along with the blackout period, the NHL also included this in the policy:

All League/Club personnel and Players are reminded that giving, making, issuing, authorizing or endorsing any statements (including through social media) that: have or are designed to have an effect prejudicial to the welfare of the League, the game of hockey or a Member Club; or are publicly critical of officiating staff may constitute a violation of the NHL By-Laws and/or Constitution and may subject them to potential discipline.

Under the useful tips section of the policy, there is a reinforcement that all "social media communications are on the record" and all applicable parties should "take responsibility for your comments."

It also calls for all parties to "respect your audience" and "pause before posting ... If you have to pause before posting your communication, then err on the side of caution by not posting it."