Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The Innovative Islanders

There have been many innovative things the New York Islanders have done over the years: the Captain Highliner jerseys, the Rick DiPietro lifetime contract, and the Alexei Yashin experiment to name a few. However, the New York Islanders Blog Box might be the biggest step forward for the NHL and NHL bloggers in recent memory.

There have always been people who have an opinion. Weblogs, like this one, offer a chance for those opinions to be heard. However, a large number of blogs have been scoffed at by big business, including professional sports, as legitimate reporting of news and events. Alanah of Canucks and Beyond has been working towards getting herself included in the Vancouver Canucks' media scrums as an accredited reporter. Well, it now appears that the Islanders are seizing an opportunity to employ some of the most knowledgeable hockey fans.

From the New York Islanders' website:

"Ever dreamed of reporting on the Islanders?

Maybe you crave more Islanders-related articles and columns and want to do something about it?

Well, if you're that type of die-hard Orange and Blue fan, consider this an opportunity of a lifetime.

Introducing the NYI BLOG BOX, the first of its kind among pro teams in the New York area.

The Islanders are challenging their fans with a passion for writing to start their own Islanders blog. Fans with existing Islanders blogs are welcome, too.

But here's the kicker: all chosen bloggers will be given the opportunity to cover select home games and practices with special media accommodations.

We're setting up a BLOG BOX in the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – sort of like a press box, but away from the scribes and broadcasters because we know you want to cheer, shout, have a pretzel and enjoy the game experience on your own terms.

We will provide you with a media pass for a few games next season and a seat in the NYI BLOG BOX. You will also receive your own set of Game Notes when you enter the Coliseum Press Gate. All you have to do is bring your note pad and/or voice recorder and cheer as loudly as you want. After the game you attend, we will set up an area where you can toss a few questions at a coach or players, based on your requests and their availability.

The NYI BLOG BOX will be your open forum. From start to finish, you'll be in control. All we ask is for the chosen bloggers to act respectfully in the restricted media areas and keep all critiques in good taste.

Perhaps best of all, your Islanders blog will generate tons of hits because it will be highlighted and linked on, one of the most popular websites in the National Hockey League.

Only a handful of bloggers will be accepted for the opening season of this unprecedented concept. So if you're interested, please e-mail the answers to our simple application below to and include a writing sample of no more than 500 words to go along with it. And please, passionate Islanders FANS only!"

Now, I'm no New Yorker, and I haven't cheered for the Islanders ever. I do own a Fisherman jersey, and it is probably one of my most cherished jerseys. However, this is something I applaud. The Islanders are reaching out to their most passionate fans and giving them an opportunity of a lifetime. Kudos to Chris Botta, VP of Communications, Corey Witt, Media Relations Coordinator, and Jason Lockhart, Website Coordinator, for this innovative and excellent strategy. I will be keeping my eyes on this development because it could prove to be a very savvy move.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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