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Pucks and PR

Because hockey is more than just a game

Social media has been great for breaking down barriers between hockey players and their fans. With each day, more players sign up and start interacting with thousands of information hungry people.

As we continue to learn, there are also risks involved with using these tools. Last week I wrote about a comment by Mike Commodore on Twitter that quickly led to people thinking he was leaving for the KHL.

In Commodore’s case, it was an inside joke with Mike Cammalleri taken out of context. Again today I watched another issue arise for an NHL player.

Bruno Gervais (@bruno_gervais8) recently signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning and has been a fairly active Twitter user. Like several other Quebec-born players, Gervais increases his impact by communicating in French as well.

Then, out of the blue today he posted a strange comment.

Pacioretty, a Montreal Canadiens player had his vertebrae broken after a controversial hit from Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara. The hit continues to be a heated topic of discussion in Quebec. Cole has similarly had a severe neck/back injury in the past and recently signed a four year contract with the Canadiens. The comment was shocking in any circumstance, but was even more so coming from a Quebecer.

Gervais quickly posted that his account had been hacked and  followed up with several comments.

What mistake he made is unclear. A quick guess would say he forgot to log out of his account or didn’t protect his password.

Gervais handled the situation as well as could be expected. He quickly posted explanations and apologies in both languages and eventually deleted the controversial comment.

Given his quick response, it’s unlikely that he’ll feel too much fallback for it. But he has definitely earned a few enemies in the Canadiens’ fan base.

This is yet another lesson. There are no faces in social media. You are a username and what gets attached to it will be attached to you.

What is said online doesn’t get deleted. Although Gervais removed the comment, I was still able to get access, as you can clearly see above.

Given the abundance of ‘I’ve been hacked’ explanations – see former U.S. House of Representatives member Anthony Weiner – it is starting to lose its affect. Whether or not the person has been hacked, some people will always see the explanation as a cop out.

Let this be a lesson to all those using social media. Take special care of how you conduct yourself. From what you say to how you log in

What happens online reflects on you both personally and professionally. It is worthwhile taking the extra time to save yourself the headache.

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