So I've signed up to all the NHL team e-mail bulletins in the hopes of maybe getting a heads-up on breaking news as soon as it becomes available.
As far as I know, all the teams have some version of these e-mail updates, with the exception of: the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Minnesota Wild. A few of these teams may have something available through registration with their booster clubs which I'm not going to join. Unless I've somehow overlooked the sign-up form on their respective websites. For the Sabres, I was definitely surprised as they have a reputation for being very responsive and considerate of their fans. If anyone reading has any any info on e-mail updates provided by these teams, please let me know.
Many of the e-mail bulletins are informative and contain info you likely wouldn't have heard about otherwise (unless you scour each team's website on a regular basis.)
After having received the updates for the past few months I can say that there are definitely a few stand-outs. This should of course be taken with the possibility that the quality of some team's updates may improve once the season begins. First of all, The New York Islanders. They send out a regular and informative e-mail regarding player movement, promotional events and other information related to the upcoming season. Most importantly, many of the e-mails are single articles of decent length that are well written and could easily appear in the sports section of any number of mainstream media publications (a good example was the recent e-mail with a piece on Brian Berard being invited to training camp.)
A good variety of different types of articles from the Islanders, with a lighthearted tone when it's warranted and a solid sports reportage style when it's appropriate. Easily the e-mail that I now open with more expectation than those from many of the other teams. These photos of Christie Brinkley that showed up in a recent bulletin are one of the reasons you feel you are actually getting something worthwhile that involves a bit of time and effort:
A nice slick banner from the Islanders rounds out what ranks as the best team e-mail updates so far.
Some other very worthy e-mail bulletins include those from the Flyers, Senators and Penguins. A recent Flyer's update included the info that they will be opening an All You Can Eat section in the new season where for a premium ticket price fans can plug themselves full of unlimited hotdogs, soda, popcorn chips and salsa. I also liked the slogan that they included in some e-mails a few weeks ago: "Back with a Vengeance." It had seemed like that would be a kind of ongoing theme for the season but I haven't seen it again in recent updates. The Flyer's also add a nice touch in that some of the article intros include links back to sources other than their website.
Many other team e-mails are blighted by far too many offers and promotions (could have sworn I ticked the "no" option on those) as well as a mere few sentences and then a link back to their websites. The writing style on many sites is flat, humourless and reeks of advertising copy.
There's only one e-mail bulletin I'm going to bash outright. This is done knowing there's a distinct possibility it could well improve once the season begins and also with the knowledge that it appears a few teams don't even make the effort.
San Jose Sharks, if you're reading this...your e-mail newsletter absolutely sucks. Essentially it is nothing but a banner with the Sharks logo, a small headline in the middle of a huge white space and a link.
I definitely recommend hockey fans sign-up for the e-mail bulletin offered by the teams they follow. Many of them provide good inside info on the various organizations and their players. You're not going to get anything beyond the most positive spin but still well worth it and an indication the NHL seems to be be making more effort than most other pro leagues to reach out to their fans in cyberspace.