TAMPA, Fla. -- Hockey players need to put together an illustrious career on the ice to get into the Hall of Fame. Fans just need to send a good tweet.
The NHL and Twitter are inviting fans to tweet about what it would mean for their team to win the Stanley Cup. The top 52 will be etched into a silver plate and go into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
"The thought was really finding a way to give fans recognition for their commitment the same way that we would with the players themselves," NHL executive vice president and chief marketing officer Heidi Browning said.
The social media endeavor launches Monday -- the day of Game 1 of the Final between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning. While the Lightning are trying to win back-to-back, the Canadiens are looking for their first championship since 1993.
"Back in '93, you'd go, 'How is this going to work?'" Cup keeper Phil Pritchard from the Hockey Hall of Fame said. "Because of the way social media influences everything now and the way fans have become instrumental in teams' social media sites and cheering on their favorite players and teams, it's a natural now."
After the hockey season started with no fans in most arenas, Twitter head of sports partnerships Will Exline said this is an extension of fan warm-up videos and other things meant to keep everyone engaged during the pandemic.
The goal is to pick 52 tweets -- in multiple languages -- to correspond to the 52 names the winning team gets on the Cup each season. NHL social media director Sean Dennison said the hope is for tweets that evoke emotion and sentimentality with some humor mixed in.
"We want this to be as symbolic of the Cup as possible, and since 52 names get put on the Cup, let's recognize 52 fans," he said. "The modern-day fan experience really does take place on social media and especially on Twitter. It captures what people are saying, and I think that's an important part of the story for our sport and for a Stanley Cup win."