Next season the Texas Stars Hockey Club will be celebrating their 5th Anniversary and of course that means special branding. The Dallas Stars are currently celebrating their 20th Anniversary in Big D.
The patches that come from those celebrations are fun to look at, and collect. Probably as much fun as NASA enthusiasts collecting mission patches.
The likely requirements for a Texas Stars 5-year badge are:
- Team logo
- Team facility (in this case, the Cedar Park Center)
- the ’5 Years’ word mark
- the actual span in years
So I took the time to sketch out an idea that I’ve had and submitted it to the powers that be. Here’s hoping 5 months from now we’ll see it on a Stars jersey.
How I feel when someone tweets a link, and I get a “404 Not Found” or an unavailable video when I click it.0
A peculiar thing about this start to the year 2013: on several occasions I’ve woken up to surprising and outstanding news.
The first instance happened on the morning of January 6, when I woke up and blindly reached for my phone. Through blurry eyes I read a text message from my good friend alerting me to the fact that the NHL Lockout was over.
The most recent occurrence took place last Friday. I woke up and rolled over to open up my laptop and start my daily routine of checking email, reading news headlines, and of course, checking social media. What I discovered that morning was a tremendous surprise.
Tony (@Stars_Insider), a hockey writer from Dallas, TX, had submitted my name for nomination in the Statesman Social Media Awards, which recognizes the best of social media in and around Austin. Tony cited my activity on Twitter as a sharer of news involving the Texas Stars and Dallas Stars hockey clubs, and their affiliates, foundations and other hockey related causes. It goes without saying that I was floored by the gesture.
I joined Twitter 4 yrs ago to share some stories, help causes, tell a few jokes & talk sports, and I’m happy to report that mission hasn’t changed. My contributions to social media could best be described as random, but all for the cause to keeping things creative, informative, and above all, interesting. I’ve also had the honor to help in several non-profit endeavors, benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project and various charities like Communities in Schools.
So, if my random musings or shared articles about news, sports and various causes have helped in keeping your Facebook or Twitter experience from being boring, I humbly invite you to share your thoughts with the Statesman by visiting the nominations page, here: http://www.statesman.com/ssma/nomination/?NomID=725
Comments backing the nomination help the judges in making a final decision, and there’s no registration or email address requirement.
Your support would mean the world to me.
Now with it being awards season (Grammys, Golden Globes, Oscars, etc.) you’re likely to hear the phrase “It’s an honor just to be nominated” – a lot. With it being such a cliché phrase, one could view it as lip service or pablum. But in this case, it is with compete and genuine gratitude that I thank Tony and to all of you who took the time to contribute to this little campaign. It is indeed an honor just to be nominated.
That being said, it would be phenomenal if this campaign was selected as one of the ten nominees to be honored by the Statesman Social Media Awards. But if anything else, these developments are a reminder for me to always remain positive and that YOU (many of whom I haven’t had the pleasure to meet in person yet) mean so much.
And I again thank you for that.
*Disclaimer: This article is a personal blog post on behalf of only myself, and not the Texas Stars Hockey Club.*
My professional life hasn’t been a long one (7 years), but in that time I’ve worn many hats: a newsman, an ad man, a campaign manager for a run for Texas State Senate, a social media junkie, and a student of the ever-changing interactive marketing game. Looking back on it, I realize that my resume has correctly reflected my enthusiasm for sharing stories and developing brands. I also have another passion: hockey. That’s why I find my position with the Texas Stars Hockey Club quite fitting, fortunate, and a wonderful outlet for all those aforementioned passions.
On paper, my job seems pretty simple: “The Media Relations Assistant shall assist the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations with all game day duties.” The ‘Essential Functions’ bullet-points on the job description also accurately describe all the specific tasks I am charged with on every game day, from preparing press row, distributing game notes and media kits, to conducting the post-game press conference and working with the media. But the great thing about this position, is that it has evolved into something much more than the job title describes as more responsibilities have been “bestowed” upon me. These days, I view the position as a “Fixer” role; that inconspicuous cog that turns, allowing all the big gears in the machine to function normally. Most game nights I act as a go-between for the numerous departments (marketing, broadcasting, officials, production, administration) that are essential to putting together one of the best gameday experiences the AHL has to offer. I was also able to lend my voice to Owen Newkirk’s radio broadcasts on the Texas Stars Hockey Network, producing bumper music and show intros.
What I am most proud of, however, is the task of commanding the @TexasStars Twitter account on game days. Social media is very important to minor league hockey clubs, as most teams do not have TV exposure and fans abroad can only get updates via internet radio, Facebook or Twitter. Added importance came with the NHL Lockout, which provided many more eyes on the activities of the Texas Stars, and a great opportunity to advance the brand with the greater exposure. And with Austin, TX being one of the most “connected” and social media savvy markets out there, combined with fans of the Dallas Stars (the Texas Stars’ parent club), there’s added pressure to doing things right on the social network. Once the puck dropped each game, it was up to me to be the most interactive, helpful, informative, and entertaining I can be to our followers, all while being careful not to flood their Twitter streams with too much information and risk being ‘Unfollowed’. Twitter is as much art as it is science.
Many things were learned throughout the season. For one, Texas Stars fans are some of the best in the hockey world. When the team encountered challenges during the first couple months of the season, the messages from fans were mostly supportive and encouraging. Also, when the NHL Lockout ended and many fans refocused their attention to Dallas, I had originally thought that our social media audience for Texas would shrink. In fact, the reappearance of the NHL season brought back more fans, and interactions increased. And with the help of one of our freelance photographers, I was able to include more visual media in our tweets during games, and the number of retweets increased dramatically, reaffirming the fact that our audience loves to “see” the game, and is more likely to share our messages with attached photos. (I’ve posted some of those pics below, courtesy of Josh Rasmussen, or @RasTwit)
One highlight came last week, when the team’s designated hashtag, #TxStars, became one of the top trending topics on Twitter in the Austin area during a Tuesday night game against Rockford.
Through 49 games, the T-Stars lead the AHL with their 64 points, and it has been amazing to see their spectacular turnaround, all the while managing the players as they are called up to the big club in Dallas or being promoted from Idaho in the ECHL, or being signed to professional tryouts (PTOs). It’s been tremendous fun working for the voice of the Texas Stars, Owen Newkirk, as well as our interns Josh and Zach (clandestinely fist-pumping to the music during warm-ups comes to mind).
And while most people outside of the hockey world are excited for me having the opportunity to interact with professional hockey players and staff with the role I have (which I do enjoy), I’m most appreciative of the opportunity to interact with the fans through social media, and also to be a part of the organization. It’s also a goal of mine to recruit or convert as many hockey fans in the Austin area as I can. If posting a cleverly crafted tweet is as effective as personally dragging someone out to the Cedar Park Center (like I used to do), then I’m more than happy to do that.
And I hope to have the opportunity to keep doing that for seasons to come.
About last night…
As an American, I am extremely happy that I live in a country that offers its citizens the opportunity to choose their representatives, and when there are differences, can withstand all the vitriol and not tip into violent chaos.
As a registered Republican, I am at a loss. Not because the candidate from my designated party affiliation didn’t emerge as the victor in yesterday’s election, but rather because I feel my party abandoned me. Meanwhile, my political party has also decided to embrace a culture of fear and fearful groups of people, and has made no effort to quell that mindset through the new mediums of communication. I am a moderate Republican. I’ve worked in media and politics. I am educated, a fiscal conservative, and a social liberal. I believe in God, yet my opinions and views are not dictated by religion. I believe that myself and the many Republicans who share these traits can be a valuable asset to the party. However, we are being left behind, and it leaves most of us to wonder, where do we go from here?
I’m not exactly sure when it all started to change, but growing up during the Reagan years, being a good Republican simply meant making wise decisions on the domestic front, and standing your ground against foreign pressure. But over time, one particular word kept popping up more and more. That word was ‘Conservative’, and suddenly, just believing in God wasn’t enough anymore. Science and math were being seen less as a tool toward our progression as a species, and more as a nuisance. With this trend, the line between church and state started to blur.
On the other side of the coin, liberals saw this increase in religious activity and grew concerned. Out of that concern, they acted a tad too hastily and instead of promoting all faiths, began “whitewashing” all signs of religious influences in everyday culture. Religious holidays were no longer observed. They were ridiculed.
Then the agendas began, and it was no longer about governing. It was about imposing a group’s will onto policies. Conservatives went after homosexuals and abortions. Liberals went after the rich to feed more welfare programs. It became an arena of extremes. And then the worst thing happened: media outlets chose sides. From then on, it has been a perfect storm of fear, skepticism and misinformation that perpetually feeds itself.
So, when these two forces – liberal and conservative – started pushing back and forth on one another, many of us in the middle fell out of the picture, and to a greater extent, out of the earshot and minds of those who influence the nation. And it’s at this point I feel the Republican Party made its mistake. There were many people out there who wanted to be Republicans – who felt that they were Republicans – but in the eyes of the new establishment, were not conservative enough. Rather than try to embrace this group of people, the GOP clung to its conservative base, and shunned the rest. This was no more apparent than when the GOP sped through its nomination process amid protests from the more Libertarian delegates.
From then on, the message was not about what Republicans would do if they were elected into office. The message was about fear – of what the President would do if he was re-elected. This message may have rang true with the conservative base, but when it came to swing voters and moderates, they were looking for progress, and nothing looked more attractive than a simple marching order: “Forward”.
So, before I consider becoming a swing voter, I urge the Republican Party to find its soul again. Resist being controlled by the fears of one extreme of the spectrum and go back to just making the wise choices and being fiscally responsible. Also, make an effort to bring moderates back into the fold. You can definitely use a few like us.
It’s been 4 days since the announcement of Sam Houston State linebacker Darius Taylor’s suspension, and during that time fans and journalists have been questioning the consistency of the Southland Conference’s disciplinary actions. For four days people have demanded that the Southland Conference produce video of the “ghost hit” Darius Taylor is supposedly guilty of. For four days, fans have asked that Taylor’s suspension be rescinded if the SLC couldn’t present the evidence. And for four days, many have questioned the conference’s suspension process, and why the executive committee that hands down the suspensions is headed by the athletic director of a member school, which is in the thick of the conference title chase. Four days, and still no response of any kind by the Southland Conference to answer the questions surrounding it.
While more information has come out during that time, and theories have been tossed around, at this point I don’t think this issue is about “revenge hits”, or a panel of three manipulating football season, anymore. This issue is about a disciplinary process that doesn’t have a system of checks and balances, and the inconsistency of the decisions being made from that process displays instances of nepotism, negligence and flat-out arrogance.
Here’s what we know…
The Southland Conference alleges that during the 2nd half of the Sam Houston State @ Nicholls State game on October 13th, Darius Taylor was guilty of targeting and initiating contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless player. On the play in question, none of the referees and officials threw a penalty flag. The following week the Southland Conference’s executive committee notified Sam Houston State of its decision to suspend Taylor for one FULL game. SHSU Athletics filed an appeal to the conference, sending in videos of other hits and penalties the conference reviewed for suspension throughout the season for comparison, and asking that Taylor suspension be reduced. The appeal was denied.
Since then many questions have been raised, mostly surrounding the suspension process. For example, even though the Southland Conference can review a play whether or not a penalty flag is involved, how does an “illegal hit” come under review when no penalty flags were thrown on the play? Does a coach call the executive committee and ask that a play be looked at? And if there was ANY video evidence of an alleged hit, why is the SLC not presenting that evidence with its explanation?
Other suspicions point to nepotism. Darius Taylor was suspended for a FULL game and SHSU’s appeal was denied. While back in September, Central Arkansas’ DB Jestin Love delivered a more vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on defenseless Sam Houston State quarterback Brian Bell, and Love had his suspension reduced to a half game after an appeal. It’s important to remind people that the Southland Conference Executive Committee is headed by Central Arkansas Athletic Director Brad Teague.
And probably the most dangerous and damning element to this shady inconsistency, is it appears that the Southland Conference chooses which plays to review for discipline.
For example, check out the Southeastern Louisiana @ Lamar game from September 29 on ESPN3.
Fast forward to the play with 3:10 left in the 4th quarter, and watch how the SELA linebacker lines up the Lamar receiver running a drag route across the middle and drills him just as the camera pans away. This play wasn’t reviewed by the Southland Conference. And after looking over the Nicholls game tape, this is similar to the play and “ghost hit” Darius Taylor is being suspended for.
So, why does the Southland Conference choose to review and suspend Darius Taylor, but not look into this incident between Southeastern Louisiana and Lamar?
By their standards and procedures, ANY player could be suspended for whatever reason at any time, and schools and players are victimized when appeals are denied. To deny Darius Taylor’s appeal was a slap in the face to Sam Houston State.
And after four days, its silence on the matter raised by the people is a slap in the face to fans.
It’s shady, it’s sinister, and it reeks of arrogance.
Bearkats and member schools, IT’S TIME TO TURN THE HEAT UP ON THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE!!
The suspensions process needs to change. This suspicious activity by the executive committee cannot go unpunished. We cannot let this small panel – employed by member schools – continue dealing out disciplinary penalties, especially when it doesn’t produce evidence to support its decision.
I’m asking again to keep up the fight.
Visit the SLC’s Facebook page or tweet them at @SouthlandSports and let them know that the conference has lost its integrity, that Darius Taylor’s suspension was wrong, and demand that they provide an explanation or rescind his suspension.
Please stay with me on this, because the blatant shadiness of this is going to blow your mind. Here’s a story about potential cronyism, corruption and manipulation within the ranks of FCS college football.
As we approach the end of the college football regular season, the three top contenders for the Southland Conference title are Southeastern Louisiana, Central Arkansas, and Sam Houston State. Each team needs the other two teams to lose at least one game to come out on top.
On Monday, the Southland Conference announced the full-game suspensions of Kevin Roberts of SELA, and star SHSU linebacker Darius Taylor, from games that took place two weeks prior. In Darius Taylor’s case, he was suspended for allegedly “targeting a defenseless receiver”. When SHSU Athletics filed an appeal to the Southland Conference Executive Committee, asking that the conference review the hit, the appeal was immediately DENIED.
Now, let’s flashback to Sept. 22, when Sam Houston State played Central Arkansas, and SHSU QB Brian Bell was hit illegally by UCA DB Jestin Love. Love only received a half-game suspension.
The timing of these suspensions is also suspicious. The “incidents” took place two games ago on plays that referees did not throw flags on. Then, disciplinary action comes down on the week when Central Arkansas plays Southeastern Louisiana (now without its senior free safety due to suspension), with control of the conference lead on the line.
What’s so shady about these details? Well, add the fact that the conference’s executive committee is headed by none other than CENTRAL ARKANSAS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR BRAD TEAGUE, and it’s not hard to point out that there is a sinister double-standard going on here.
On top of that, the game footage with the play in question pans away from the area where Darius Taylor’s alleged hit took place, so there is NO video evidence that Darius Taylor targeted a defenseless receiver, and the conference is basing their disciplinary action – and their denial of an appeal – on a “GHOST HIT”.
The “hit” in question was on the last play of the 3rd quarter in the game between Sam Houston State and Nicholls State on Saturday, October 13 – time marker 2:17:40 on the video below. Unfortunately, the Nicholls camera follows the quarterback as he’s chased out of the pocket and we are unable to see the alleged “hit on a defenseless” receiver.
The receiver at the top (in motion just before the snap) runs a drag route across the middle.
As the camera starts to follow the play, you can see Darius (#36 white) enter the frame to join in on the rush, and it appears he made contact with the receiver. But there is no evidence that he used his helmet, targeted, nor was the receiver “defenseless”.
It is WRONG to suspend Darius Taylor.
It is WRONG to deny the appeal from SHSU Athletics.
It is JUST PLAIN WRONG to be operating like this, and the deeper we dig, the more it’s looking like the executive committee is trying to manipulate the outcome of the championship, to the benefit of UCA.
So, I’m encouraging all Bearkats and member schools of the Southland Conference to demand the Executive Committee to rescind Taylor’s suspension, or produce the video evidence that merits their decision to suspend Taylor. Leave a message on the comment thread regarding the suspensions on the Southland Conference facebook page, or tweet the conference at @SouthlandSports.
It’s no secret that I love my alma mater, Sam Houston State and am a HUGE fan of SHSU Bearkat Athletics. So, when the admins of KatFans.com (the leading fan board site for SHSU Athletics) pinged me last weekend asking to design a new logo for them, I jumped at the chance.
I found inspiration in the design on the old football helmets the Bearkats used to wear up until 2004. This logo was still very popular at the time of its “retirement”, but it had been the football team’s insignia for a decade. SHSU’s athletic department was already leaning in the direction of a new brand.
And after testing a few fonts I combined the letters into this rough draft…
With Tim from KatFans.com giving me the go-ahead to develop this design, I quickly came up with a banner and “avatar” logos. By Tuesday morning I had cleaned them up to their final proofs. It took me roughly 9 hours total from concept to finished product.