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Cape Breton Eagles hockey team uses social media to boost attendance


There has been a different vibe around the Cape Breton Eagles of the Quebec Maritime Junior Hockey League lately.

"The team is winning. People are coming out and showing their support more,” said Brad Chandler, the team’s director of communications.

Early in the season, the rink was more than half-empty.

In the Eagles’ September and October 2023 games, the team drew more than 2,000 fans only once.

However, lately the fans have been coming out and the team has been moving up the standings.

The Eagles have drawn more than 2,000 fans in nine of their past ten home games.

On the ice, they have won eight of their past eleven matches.

"We've been proving a lot lately how good we can be and how good we are, so yeah it's a big help with the fans and the crowd,” said Eagles overage defenceman Conor Shortall.

Starting in November, the team has given a financial incentive to come to the rink – with the $3000 “Ticket To Win It” promotion, offered during all home games with more than 3,000 in attendance.

The team is also engaging fans on its social media channels with quirky, fun content that is getting attention.

Empty seats are pictured at Centre 200 on Feb. 1, 2024.

"Today, social media is probably the biggest form of marketing, really,” Chandler said. "You form a connection with the players, and that only makes them care about the team more. That's what we're going for, and it seems to be working, and I think the players are having lots of fun doing it as well."

A lot of the videos take fans behind the scenes and show off the players' personalities.

In one social media video, players are asked who among their teammates has the worst style. In another, Eagle players are “mic’d up” during practice, and show dressing room ping-pong rivalries.

As teenagers, they know plenty about the power of social media.

"(We) get out of our comfort zones sometimes and, like I said, again just kind of show our fans our true personalities,” Shortall said.

Next up for the Eagles is a pair of home games this weekend -— Friday and Saturday — as they try to keep the momentum going, on the ice and off of it, towards what they hope will be a strong playoff push.

The team hasn’t had a sellout at their home rink of Centre 200, nor have they won a playoff series, since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have some more things planned for the postseason and the latter half of the season that I think people will definitely want to come out and check out, because they won't want to miss it,” Chandler said.

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