NHL faces backlash after tasking TikTok star Josh Richards to grow the game
The NHL named social media entrepreneur and content creator Josh Richards as a special adviser to the NHL as a "voice of the fans," to help grow the game amongst young fans.
Richards, 19, has more than 40-million followers across several social media platforms and as part of his role, he will make appearances at key NHL events while also helping the league with its creative efforts.
The internet personality grew up in Toronto as a fan of the Maple Leafs. Richards, however, has drawn the ire of several fans for his affiliation with Barstool Sports, as his "BFFs" podcast is hosted on the platform alongside controversial founder Dave Portnoy.
“I want to thank the National Hockey League for giving me an opportunity to share my love of hockey with a whole new generation of fans,” Richards said. “I have always wanted to use my platform to educate and inspire, and I look forward to sharing my passion for hockey with millions.”
Listening to the fans seems like an important part of being the “voice of the fans,” and it appears the news of his association with the league received some mixed reviews.
Just a reminder that in September, the @NHL said it was putting together a "fan inclusion committee" and "youth hockey inclusion committee".
I would bet that these committees, IF they exist, didn't come up with Josh Richards.https://t.co/iFCTxQT2j5
— Sam (@samanthacp_) June 30, 2021
So you’re bringing in a cringe tiktok person? https://t.co/pWXaqioihZ
— 🗽🚞🍷RVBusSZN🏒🚢🏴 (@BusRVSZN) June 30, 2021
So many other talented and knowledgeable people that could’ve taken this role. This ain’t it. https://t.co/WloPGs8wXF
— Caylee (@2kaRask) June 30, 2021
👏@NHLdotcom @JoshRichards is all hockey all the time, lives the game and is an influencer of influencers of the next gen demo we are all chasing to continue to build this great game. https://t.co/2YJBnzqsWp
— Scott O'Neil (@ScottONeil) June 30, 2021
The @NHL: https://t.co/FXMtdMJIvP pic.twitter.com/5MTrFJp0aS
— ⚡️☠️Champa Bay Chris☠️⚡️ (@ItsYaBoyChree) June 30, 2021
This kid just gets it. Smart wayyyyyy beyond his years. This is a great partnership for the NHL. https://t.co/hhHgkTlQU1
— Mike Grinnell (@MikeGrinnell_) June 30, 2021
This is probably not a popular move among fans, but a genius decision by the #NHL. https://t.co/EWAhvG7KzH
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) June 30, 2021
Time will tell how Richards uses his platform to help grow the game, but it seems like he’ll need to win over a sizable portion of the NHL’s existing fans.
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