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NHL creates new fan-engagement initiatives amid sports shutdown

The National Hockey League is creating two new fan-engagement initiatives in a bid to stay active and keep supporters engaged amid the sports shutdown caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The “Greatest Moment of the 2019-20 NHL Season…So Far” fan vote initiative and “Live NHL Player Q&As” will offer NHL fans daily interactive experiences via the league’s official Twitter and Instagram channels.

Starting at 12pm ET on March 30, fans will be able to vote for the “Greatest Moment of the 2019-20 NHL Season…So Far,” a bracket-style competition of 64 of the season’s most memorable events, milestones, and achievements.

The interactive format features head-to-head match ups, divided among the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Fans will have one day to cast votes to advance their selection into the next round.

Elsewhere, every weekday at 3pm ET,  one player will take over the official NHL Twitter or Instagram handle for a live Q&A with fans. The initiative begins on March 30 with Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak on Instagram.

Both interactive programs are extensions of “NHL Pause Binge,” the league’s free archived content portal, which aggregates video, editorial, and digital content on NHL.com, the NHL app, and across the NHL’s social channels on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

In the past week, the NHL has also set up a series of video conference calls between players and journalists to help provide content for media companies.

The league is eyeing potential scenarios for a resumption of play. But with the public health crisis continuing to grow in scale, particularly within the US, any timetable remains tentative at best.

Last week, the NHL announced it is postponing a trio of upcoming tentpole events. They are the 2020 NHL Scouting Combine, which was scheduled for June 1-6 in Buffalo, New York; the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Awards, set for June 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada; and the 2020 NHL Draft, which was due to be held on June 26-27 in Montreal, Canada.

The NHL has also asked its staff to take pay cuts. The league is temporarily cutting the pay of league office employees who make more than $75,000 a year by 25 per cent starting April 1. The move applies to league personnel, such as NHL executives, not team staff members and players.