I have a whole chapter in my book dedicated to dealing with the media—actual tips and tactics so you look like a pro and make a good impression. (See the video below for more tips.) It’s a part of junior hockey life, albeit smaller than what you probably think.
Something that bantam and midget players should be aware of is their social media accounts. No, this isn’t the silly little lecture teachers give over and over about protecting your rep online. It’s deeper than that…
When you make junior hockey, especially if you’re playing in a larger centre, you’re going to get all sorts of people searching you out on Facebook and Twitter. They’re usually boosters, billets, prying and gossiping super-fans with nothing better to do.
Usually, one fan will friend another fan on Facebook, who is a friend of a billet, who is a friend with you, and voila, whatever is being posted and commented is now there’s to see. Then the stranger goes and posts something on a message board, makes an anonymous call to the coach to feel important and, voila again, you’re thinking, “How the hell did that get out?” Leagues are now fond of retweeting stuff from players’ accounts. It’s out there.
So moral of the story: lock down your social media accounts and beware of who you add. Some people get a fascination with the team and want to get as close as possible, and they love to spread news. Some billets are the same way. There is some stuff the boys should know and some stuff everybody can know.
This stuff seems harmless until it comes back to bite you.
For Bantam & Midget Players
There is also the obvious stuff you should watch out for before junior. Don’t post anything that makes you look like a clown.
If your Twitter profile says “Stoppin’ pucks and wheelin’ girls,” as one of my follower’s profiles says, that doesn’t come off good. Keep the dressing room talk for the room—Twitter is not the dressing room.
Believe that coaches and recruiters will check out those kinds of things when they are investing thousands into you. Ask yourself, “If a coach saw this, would he feel comfortable if the newspaper printed it?”
Be especially careful with pictures too. There are sites and scrapers out there that will grab any public pictures off of social media and index them to their sites. These then appear in places like Google Images when your name is searched. You’ll have a near-impossible time removing these.
Standard issue for the modern world, but not something to forget.
Parents Get Looked At Too
Parents, you should be aware of what you’re posting as well. I wouldn’t doubt for a second that a team who is willing to invest thousands in your son will look up you too.
Never say anything about your son’s current coach or team that you wouldn’t want the team scouting him to see. I would also keep your profiles locked down when he is in junior because there are random fans out there who will spy on your profile.
I wouldn’t be surprised if random people tried to friend you online as well. They may be looking for pictures or news, or just may not understand social boundaries.
It’s not like you’ll be hounded constantly—it’s just junior—but know that when 5000 people come out to watch your son, one has to be a crazy.
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