We are nearly one month removed from the end of the regular season and it's finally starting to feel like summer around the Oilers office. The shock is over, the calendar is less congested, and I have accepted that I don't have to wear thick socks, two sweaters, and a scarf to work every day (a necessity at the rink, even in the spring).
You may be expecting some sort of commentary on the Stanley Cup Playoff match-ups, but I'm not going to do that. This is because I refuse to watch hockey once my team has finished playing. Don't get me wrong – I enjoy the sport immensely, but it's all part of my decompression process.
There are two exceptions: one is the World Championships, mostly because I enjoy watching the Oilers battle other Oilers. Seems so wrong, but yet – like many “wrong” things – so entertaining. The other is when I'm at the gym and running on the treadmill. Nothing motivates me more than a period of fast skating, hitting, and perhaps punching. My only complaint is the commercial breaks and goal reviews, which really destroy my focus. Somebody should do something about that.
Anyway, other than those times, I watch no hockey at all. And what do I do instead? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here's a brief rundown on what your favourite web team be working on this summer:WEBSITE REDESIGN
This may be top-secret information, but I'm willing to risk the wrath of Marc. Ever notice how all NHL team websites
share the same template (top story location, columns, etc.) but NHL.com
is completely different? Well, this summer all NHL teams will be converting their websites to a style similar to NHL.com. The graphics and content details will be unique to each team, but the framework will be streamlined and updated.
As of today, the Oilers are scheduled to be the third team to switch, and Marc, Steve, and I will have a whole lot of work to do to get everything done in time. We're going to work with our graphic designer to come up with a new look and feel for the site, and we're going to figure out how to improve the layout and functionality of edmontonoilers.com
We've been in regular contact with the NHL.com people in New York to discuss all aspects of the new site. Every few weeks, the NHL hosts a conference call with the web folks from each team, and I always get a kick out of hearing my peers chime in from around the continent. The NHL's Suzanne Pincus usually conducts the call and she always starts with a roll call. “Atlanta?” “Here” . . . “Colorado?” “Here” . . . “Washington?” “Here” . . . Since there will be no NHL web meetings this summer, these conference calls are the only opportunity we have to discuss web issues as a group. I never say anything, but boy, do I listen intently!PROJECT PLANNING
A key component of the upcoming website redesign will be the detailed project plans that accompany each section. Marc, Steve, and I have been working on the plans for the past few weeks and will be doing so until the end of May, at which time we present them to the higher-ups and smile proudly to resounding applause.
I won't bore you with the details, but examples are The Link plan, the Twitter plan, the Wallpaper plan, the Editorial Features plan, and – my favourite – the Blog plan. (Don't worry – Jen's Journal isn't going anywhere.) All plans feature a detailed background, objectives, target audience, strategies, tactics, and an action plan. One of the items I included in the Blog plan is research and recruitment for Oilers “celebrity” blogs, so if you're famous or are best friends with someone famous who bleeds copper and blue, please let me know. I require an autographed 8x10 and a free round-trip to Los Angeles to confirm this person's celebrity status, FYI.
On a larger scale, the Oilers Marketing and Communications team (including Digital Media) has been meeting regularly to brainstorm ideas for the summer and 2009-10. No sneak peaks on this one, though. I've been sworn to secrecy.THE USUAL SUSPECTS
And, of course, we continue to update the website with news and features throughout the summer. Hockey clinics, community events, World Championships updates, prospect camp, the draft, and weekly Link shoots are all on the calendar and require the same attention and resources as they would in-season.
Throw in some vacation time and before we know it, it will be September. I hope that clears things up, because if I hear one more person say 'It must be nice to have the summer off!' I'll lose it.