Hockey Twitter Fights Back Against Trolls

We’ve all witnessed the lovely social media responses from users that simply criticize and mock things we’ve said, done or written. These responses, are what many of us refer to as trolling.

James Reimer, April Reimer, Tweet Sweet, NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs, Twitter
James Reimer and wife, April, had their own battle with Twitter bullies during the team’s struggles in 2013-14. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

Now trolls exist everywhere. Anyone who’s spent any length of time on social media has – at some point – encountered one of these types of online users. Some are fine with resorting to simple mockery. Others harass, degrade and verbally brutalize the users they attack.

In sports, we’ve seen all kinds of trolling. In fact, the Toronto Maple Leafs and their players have dealt with these sorts of comments for some time (as has every other professional sports franchise).

The Maple Leafs and Trolling

We all remember the blatant disrespect shown towards James and April Reimer on Twitter following the goaltender’s tough stint during the 2013-14 season. Comments and criticisms with no merit were shovelled in the direction of April over the social network. She responded by simply letting it go and letting the louder voices being those delivered with respect and support for the Reimer family.

The social media attacks led to the emergence of April’s social media campaign – #tweetsweet – that challenges students and others to send a positive message over social networks in an attempt to shut down cyber-bullying.

But it isn’t just the criticisms that are taken too far that fall into the category of trolling. In fact, it was this past season – during TSN’s NHL Trade Deadline coverage – when a rumour was tweeted and made an appearance on the national coverage of the game’s big day.

The tweet suggested that there were extra marital affairs involving two Leafs players taking place – which caused an uproar on Twitter and forced TSN to apologize to viewers and those affected by the rumour. All of these are types of trolling and they can come in multiple forms – videos, pictures or simple words.

Hockey Twitter Fights Back

Now, team Twitters have been known to respond from time to time to their followers and in some cases entertain readers with their clever responses. On Friday, it was the Maple Leafs Twitter that fought back after one user fired the opening shots.

The Leafs certainly didn’t sit back, throwing down their response not long after.

Fans and other users shared their thoughts on the early battle wounds of the troll, but it didn’t stop this particular user from firing back.

Before the Leafs shared with her some advice on what she should do next.

Now, other team Twitters got involved after the Leafs response, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Arizona Coyotes and – of course – the Montreal Canadiens. Their inclusion only added to the entertainment value of the conversation, but one thing became suddenly very apparent. Sports Twitter is not immune from firing back and when it comes to trolls – they’re likely going to be standing among the smaller crowd.

For more, follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes or his THW column at @Tape2TapeTHW.