United States President Joe Biden, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NFL quarterback Tom Brady are among hockey fans being honored as part of a new display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
A large plaque in the shape of the Stanley Cup features hockey-related tweets paying tribute to the sport and those who love it. Fifty-two tweets with the hashtag #StanleyTweets can be seen, the same number of names that are engraved on the Cup every year.
Hockey Hall of Fame curator Phil Pritchard said the idea came from NHL chief marketing officer Heidi Browning, with the goal of celebrating the game through the words of those who share a passion for hockey.
“It’s a big stride, not only for the Hockey Hall of Fame but for the National Hockey League as well, to get the fans interacting even more with the game itself,” Pritchard said. “And I think that the League is going about it in a unique way because it provides a way for everyday people, whether famous or not, to be represented in the Hall of Fame and be part of hockey history.
“The pandemic meant a lot of fans were disconnected from their teams because they couldn’t go to games, so this is a great way for them to be part of it and interact. Ideally the hope is this becomes an annual thing, with new tweets on display every year.”
Those whose tweets are selected are contacted asking for permission to use them in the display. Each author receives their own smaller plaque as a keepsake.
Among those giving the thumbs up when contacted: Biden and Brady.
“Yes, there was a reach-out to the President making sure it was OK, just like there was for everyone else,” Pritchard said.
Biden’s tweet, like many of those on display, paid tribute to the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Lightning on your second straight Stanley Cup. You made your city and your country proud,” tweeted Biden via @POTUS.
Trudeau’s tweet acknowledged a wager he made with Biden prior to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final between the Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens.
“Alright, I’ve had some time to recover from the heartbreaking #StanleyCupFinal. @POTUS, a bet’s a bet. A package of Montreal smoked meat sandwiches is heading your way – enjoy! And congratulations to the @NHL champs, the @TBLightning,” Trudeau tweeted via @JustinTrudeau.
Brady, who helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl LV in February, had a playful twitter exchange with the official twitter account of the Stanley Cup.
“FYI I’m too heavy to throw, @TomBrady,” was the twitter message via @TheStanleyCup.
Brady’s response? “Idk…everything feels a bit lighter after some tequilla,” he tweeted via @TomBrady.
Other celebrities whose tweets are on display: Hall of Fame third baseman Wade Boggs and WWE star Titus O’Neil.
“The thing is, it’s not just about famous people,” Pritchard said. “It’s a chance for everyday fans to have their voices heard too. And from what I’ve seen on social media, the reaction from the fans whose tweets were used has been amazing.
“It’s a chance for us to embrace social media as part of the Hall as it relates to the passion for the sport. Hopefully it will be a regular thing.”