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Face-off over hockey fighting

BY LÉO CHARBONNEAU | APR 06 2009

Fed up by the continuing presence of fighting in hockey, Algoma University marketing instructor Nadine Robinson decided to put her money where her mouth is. She bought a domain name for $10, spent an equivalent number of hours putting the site together, and in February launched www.banhockeyfights.com.

But a funny thing happened when she told the students in her Internet marketing class about the site and asked if they wanted to join in. “No way,” was the succinct response of Graham Stephens. “This sort of thing is what is ruining our game,” he told her.

Ms. Robinson decided to drop the gloves, issuing a challenge to Mr. Stephens to start his own competing website. He and fellow student Brock Olive – both fourth-year business administration students at Algoma – complied, creating www.hockeyfights.com.

Adding a bit of cheek to their checks, the two students included on their site videos of “favourite fights” pulled from YouTube. Ms. Robinson’s site leans more heavily on links to supporting articles, including within the academic literature. She and the two students also set up accompanying Facebook groups.

So who’s winning? As of late March, the two students were well ahead in terms of Facebook member sign-ups: 189 to 56. This doesn’t surprise Ms. Robinson, since Facebook skews towards a younger demographic which might be more inclined toward hockey fighting. On the other hand, she says her website is getting far better traffic than theirs.

But, regardless of the results, “I’ve already won,” she says, “just by the fact that I’ve inspired these students. It’s very exciting.”

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