by Patrick Hoffman on 05/12/11 at 11:36 AM ET
As most of you know by now, Twitter is a great way to connect with other hockey fans and talk about the sport we all know and love.
One such user on Twitter that really takes that to a whole different level is @NHLFANCHAT. This user has well over 2,000 followers and as the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue on, his numbers will continue to rise.
He was kind enough to take time out of his busy Twitter hockey fan chat schedule to tell us a bit about himself:
PH: How did you get into hockey?
NFC: Hockey has always been an important part of growing up in our household. My father was a huge hockey fan. When I was 4 years old, my dad enrolled me in minor league hockey and immediately made an ice rink in the backyard for me to practice. Besides playing winter hockey, I played in summer hockey leagues and took skating lessons. I was good enough to reach Triple A Major by the age of 14 but stopped playing due to multiple concussions.
As I got older, I started to play organized non-professional to shinny hockey with friends.
Hockey is part of my DNA.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team player? Why?
NFC: I have always been a Leaf fan. It was my dad’s favorite team – that’s all I heard about growing up. Our family never missed a Toronto Maple Leaf game.
Even though he did not play for the Leafs, my favorite player was Wayne Gretzky – but then again, wasn’t he everybody’s favorite? I was actually lucky enough to meet him at either Chesswood or Westwood arena when he was making the “Mr. Big” commercial. After he shook my hand and gave me his autograph, I was so thrilled and excited and he became my favorite player.
PH: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be in the hockey industry?
NFC: In reality, I truly wanted to be a hockey player, but since that dream could not come true, I have been motivated to search for a vehicle to keep me involved in the hockey field.
About two years ago, I decided to try freelance writing but realized that writing was not my strong suit. I enjoy chatting with fans about all 30 NHL teams and sharing my hockey knowledge with them. That’s why I decided to turn to Twitter.
After speaking to my cousin this summer, (he is a goalie coach with an NHL team) he helped me to realize my true ambition – which is to continue to chat and talk to fans that enjoy and love the sport as much as I do.
PH: What are you looking to provide readers/tweeters on a daily basis?
NFC: With my knowledge and most important, my love of hockey, makes me the perfect outlet that tweeters can reach out to. Also, I think that many hockey fans feel that famous TV, radio personalities and reporters are either too busy or just don’t want to chat with them on a daily basis on twitter – so they will have me available.
I think the twitter world needs an account like mine, where tweeters can not only talk about their favorite team, but debate and argue about their teams; otherwise, it will be just other twitter accounts which I have found can become very boring.
I also want to give team news and information that I can develop from contacts and sources and one day be able to give the fans an inside look at their favorite teams and players and ask them questions on behalf of my tweeters.
PH: How do you think hockey blogs/media outlets/twitter will grow in the future?
NFC: Just look at how fast social media has grown in the last 5 years. More and more people want their information faster and are getting it before it hits the airwaves via their handheld computers, cell phones, laptops, tablets and I-Pads, etc.
The demographic of people using social media is the prime target for all major sports.
PH: How are you looking to be involved with hockey/NHL in the future?
NFC: Eventually, I would like to be on the major sports shows as the voice of the fans – be part of hockey discussion panels, discussing games and important issues.
I would also like to give NHL executives insight on the fans opinions moving forward and relating to rules, scheduling (mostly playoffs) and where the game is headed.
At some point, I would like to have my own radio show that would highlight what the fans have to say about the teams and the NHL – the “GOOD”, the “BAD”, and yes, even the “UGLY”. My show would be based on my loyal tweeters and their input and chatter would be used, not only as inspiration for the shows, but the content of each show.
As I have stated, I want to be the ‘VOICE OF THE FANS”.
PH: Anything else you’d like to share with the readers?
NFC: I believe there is a niche for @nhlfanchat. There is no other account where fans can voice their opinions with each other about all the NHL teams – the other sites seem to cater to individual teams. I started @nhlfanchat on February 15, 2011 on my own and within 2 months had over 2,300 followers.
My fans know that they can chat with me during every single hockey game, 7 days a week and they can contact me with questions at any time. If I don’t immediately have the answer, I can assure my fans that I will do the research and get back with the answer as soon as possible.
My “Guarantee” – I will always get back to my fans !!
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at email@example.com.