The NHL has instituted a new social media policy for the league and it's players this past Wednesday, creating a "blackout period" on any social media use on game days beginning two hours before puck drop and will not end until players have finished their postgame media responsibilities.
As per the new policy, there is a total "blackout period" on the use of social media on game days, which for players begins two hours prior to opening face-off and is not lifted until players have finished their post-game media obligations. The suggested blackout period for hockey operations staff is longer, beginning at 11 a.m. on game days.
Also, the new policy makes it clear that players and club personnel will be be held responsible for their social communications in the same manner in which they are held responsible for other forms of public communications. As a result, discipline is possible for any social media statements that have or are designed to have an effect prejudicial to the welfare of the League, the game of hockey or a member club, or are publicly critical of officiating staff. (via NHL.com)
This isn't uncommon in professional sports, as other leagues - most notably the NFL - have policies in place. This new policy for the NHL is a sensible one, according to a league executive.
"The policy is sensible," said Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. "It lets our players and clubs participate substantially in the opportunity of social networking while identifying and mitigating some of the risks. To date, our players and clubs have been exemplary in connecting with fans on social networks, and fans should not expect to see any material difference as a result of this policy."