Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Ice hockey chiefs lay down law to players

Elite League chiefs have imposed a ban on players using social media networks immediately before and after matches.

A new social media policy has been implemented by the league — the first of its kind in British ice hockey — will now govern the behaviour of players on websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The rules will also cover team staff and officials, including referees and linesmen.

Under the Elite League policy a game-day blackout will be put in place, meaning that players will be barred from posting any messages in the two hours before face-off and for an hour after the game — although official league accounts and those run by individual clubs are exempt from that particular rule.

“We feel this is an important policy to implement,” said Elite League spokesman Tony Smith.

“Social media is playing a more important role in our lives and it is vital that everyone connected with the Elite League understands they are responsible for what is written on their accounts.

“We do not wish for players, staff and officials to stop using social media, but we want to make clear what is and what is not acceptable.

“Fans will still be able to keep in touch on game day with scores and results, as the blackout period does not include the official Elite League and club-run accounts.”

In the past some players have challenged opponents to fights via social media networks, although that has almost always happened before the blackout period would come into effect.

The league has stated that any breaches of the social media policy will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action.

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