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The new NHL season on Twitter: By the numbers

By Conor Clarance
Monday, 11 January 2021

The puck drops on a new-look @NHL season this week, all set with new divisions, new rivalries and familiar faces in new places. From the opening whistle to the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, #HockeyTwitter will be abuzz in the coming months during this unique season.

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To help get you primed, here is a fresh look at the NHL conversation on Twitter, including the people and places that regularly “light the lamp” on our service

The #HockeyTwitter Community

Early in the 2018/2019 NHL season, we introduced the official #HockeyTwitter hashtag and emoji. This was an exercise in community building and bringing together the millions of hockey fans who use Twitter each year. It’s also no surprise that Canada’s official winter sport was also the most Tweeted about sport by Canadians in 2020.

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Since the emoji launched in late November 2018, here are the cities that have produced the highest volume of #HockeyTwitter Tweets

  1. Toronto
  2. New York
  3. Chicago
  4. Boston
  5. Montreal

#Blackhawks is the top NHL team hashtag sent in #HockeyTwitter Tweets during this span, followed by #NHLBruins and #LeafsForever. 

NHL Teams on Twitter

The on-going adventures of the Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) are perennially one of the biggest NHL Twitter topics each season. @MapleLeafs had the most Twitter mentions of any NHL team account during the 2019/2020 NHL season.

 

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The Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) captured the 2020 #StanleyCup (their second in franchise history) and trailed just the @MapleLeafs and Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) in account mentions this past NHL season. They were also the NHL team with the most account mentions during this past offseason.

This is how team accounts ranked in combined Twitter mentions during the 2019/2020 regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs)
  2. Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights)
  3. Tampa Bay Lighting (@TBLightning)
  4. Dallas Stars (@DallasStars)
  5. Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers)

Aside from the @MapleLeafs, these teams led the league in Twitter account mentions during the four prior NHL seasons 

The @Penguins are also the most-mentioned NHL team account all-time on Twitter, followed by the @MapleLeafs and the Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks). 

NHL Players on Twitter

Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin (@ovi8) led the NHL in goals for the ninth time during the 2019/2020 season. He also had the most-mentioned NHL player account on Twitter, besting Maple Leafs forwards Mitch Marrner (@Marner93) and Auston Matthews (@AM34) in the rankings.  

Ovechkin is also the only NHL player to ever have more than 2 million followers on Twitter and is the all-time most mentioned hockey player on the service.

 

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These are the NHL team accounts with the most combined Twitter mentions during the 2019/2020 regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

  1. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (@ovi8)
  2. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs (@Marner93
  3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (@AM34)
  4. David Pastrňák, Boston Bruins (@pastrnak96
  5. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (@cmcdavid97

These are the active NHL player accounts with the most all-time Twitter mentions. 

  1. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals (@ovi8)
  2. P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils (@PKSubban1)
  3. Henrik Lundqvist, Washington Capitals (@hlundqvist35)
  4. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (@88PKane
  5. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (@cmcdavid97

Scotia NHL® North Division

For the first time in 2021, all seven Canadian NHL teams will come together in a single division. 

The Scotia NHL® North Division will give Canadian hockey fans more opportunities to cheer on the #BattleOfAlberta, the Original Six rivalry between the @MapleLeafs and @CanadiensMTL and other made-in-Canada storylines. In 2020, nine of the 10 top hockey hashtags used in Twitter conversations were related to Canadian teams. Expect plenty more Canadian hockey content and conversation this season as all seven squads vie for top spot.

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Look for the Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) to keep their Twitter momentum strong in 2021 as well. Even with 2020’s season shutdown, daily mentions of the @Canucks account grew by 22% last year. 

Two Canucks also ranked in the Top 5 of Canadian team player accounts with the most mentions this past offseason, including newly-acquired goaltender Braden Holtby (@Holts170). 

Here is the full Top 5: 

  1. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (@AM34)
  2. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks (@_EPettersson)
  3. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (@cmcdavid97)
  4. Braden Holtby, Vancouver Canucks (@Holts170)
  5. Wayne Simmonds, Toronto Maple Leafs (@Simmonds17)

Hockey fans in Canada, the U.S. and beyond should stay locked to Twitter all season long for the latest NHL content, action and real-time reactions from the #HockeyTwitter universe. 

 

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Conor Clarance

‎@FirstNameConor‎

Head of Sports, Twitter Canada