What’s just as entertaining as following the L.A. Kings, the eighth-seeded Cinderellas of the Western Conference who have advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals? Following the team’s punchy Twitter feed.
The official Twitter accounts of most sports franchises are usually as bland as a 0-0 game. But @LAKings, which has added some 57,000 new followers since the playoffs began – bringing it to nearly 128,000 followers as of Tuesday afternoon – breaks that convention, as well as the notion that L.A. is a laid-back sports town.
@LAKings started getting notice in the first round of the playoffs, after the Kings took a 1-0 series lead over the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks. “To everyone outside of BC you’re welcome,” the account tweeted. Predictably, the sardonic statement caused a backlash among Vancouver fans. Among the responses: “seriously, show some class. That’s rude. If you win I will congratulate you. If you lose I will cheer my team but not mock you,” wrote @canadakate123. “What a classy organization you have there. There are Canucks fans world wide. Try not to be sore winners please,” wrote another Twitter user. The Kings apologized, but did not delete the Tweet.
During a Western conference finals game in Arizona, where the Kings were facing the Phoenix Coyotes, @LAKings wrote: “The fans here look pretty bummed they haven’t been able to wave their pom poms.” And now, on the eve of the Stanley Cup Finals – the New Jersey Devils host the Kings in Game 1 on Wednesday night – @LAKings took a swipe at a favorite target, the Garden State:
Aside from fist pumping, what else is there do in NJ?—
LA Kings (@LAKings) May 28, 2012
We like @LAKings, but it deserved five minutes in the penalty box for that one: Jersey jokes are passé. @NHLDevils fired back:
New Jersey Devils (@NHLDevils) May 28, 2012
Dewayne Hankins, director of digital media for the Kings, is one of the authors of @LAKings. He previously worked for the Minnesota Wild before joining the Kings in November 2010. He told Yahoo! Sports:
Part of the deal for me coming in was that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to go all-in. Be different. Be unique. In L.A., you can do that. We’re the little brother of the other four or five teams here, so we gotta do something to be entertaining. If you’re a different team, you can’t do this. The Lakers can’t. Not to the extent that we can.
We hope the Kings and Devils keep checking each other all series – both on the ice, and in the Twitterverse.