By Elisabeth Axiak

The NHL’s PR team designed a campaign called “Fan Vote” to engage fans in the 2016 All-Star Game. The campaign certainly engaged fans, but not in the way the NHL had hoped.

Here’s what happened and three things we can take away.

1. Think things through
NHL fans voted in John Scott as one of the four team captains for the All-Star Game….as a joke. Scott’s record of five goals in 285 games didn’t make him a likely All Star. The NHL didn’t think the joke was funny. The NHL should have explored all the what-ifs and set specific parameters ahead of time given its opposition to having any player voted in.

2. Stick to your word
The NHL wasn’t happy. Was it a coincidence that Scott was then traded to Montreal and immediately sent down to the minors, making him ineligible to participate in the All-Star Game? Scott left behind his pregnant wife (who is due to deliver twins any day now) and his two other children in Arizona and moved to Montreal. Was this all because the NHL didn’t get its way? Was it because it didn’t want him to ruin the integrity of a game that doesn’t even count in any standings, but is supposed to entertain and make money? Fans were disgusted, not only with the NHL’s treatment of Scott, but also the total disregard of the fan vote. Fans questioned the NHL’s integrity. The NHL should have stuck to its word, rather than throwing a temper tantrum similar to that of a toddler.

3. Redemption is possible

The NHL struggled to keep its head above water when Scott was demoted to the minors. An anti-NHL backlash erupted on Twitter with the hashtags #FreeJohnScott #BoycottNHLASG and #LetScottPlay, quickly sucking the NHL’s reputation down the drain. On Jan. 19, the NHL announced that Scott would indeed play in the All-Star Game. Fans felt justice had been served. The campaign tanked and the outcome was mismanaged; however, the NHL’s reputation was only tarnished, not ruined, because it eventually relented and did the right thing.

John Scott wound up the star of the weekend, having the full support of the fans and fellow players. His team won and he was even named MVP — leaving fans thoroughly entertained with his two goals, sense of humour and great attitude.



(Photo credit: Flickr/ Brent Moore)