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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Boycott the NHL All-Star Game

Originally posted at

The Montreal Canadiens are running away with the votes for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. At first glance it would appear that the team's dedicated fan base has come out to support their team.

This is not true.

Two weeks ago a poster at The Pensblog discovered a voting javascript posted on the Montreal Canadiens official message board.

Shortly afterwards the CBC reported that "the NHL is investigating a suspicious spike in votes for Montreal Canadiens players in all-star fan balloting."

NHL spokesman Gary Meaghar told CBC that "there is some indication that something has happened" and people assumed that the skewed results, caused by small group of cheaters who were ruining the online All-Star ballot for everyone, would be fixed.

This did not happen.

Many expected that the NHL would at least firmly admit that something unfair had taken place, but would not adjust the votes.

This did not happen.

What did happen was that the NHL issued a press release stating that "Montreal fans continue to show the rest of North America how XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports is done" and applauded their efforts. They're attempting to ignore the issue and cover it up with positive spin.

In response, we have decided to boycott the NHL All-Star Game.

We will not watch the NHL All-Star Game until the NHL formally admits that tampering has taken place. We do not wish to see any votes thrown out as the invalid votes are likely impossible to detect at this point. We do not wish to see the votes adjusted. We have no problem with the Eastern Conference All-Star team being made up entirely of Montreal Canadiens players. The problem we have is with the way the NHL has chosen to sweep this issue under the rug and pretend that nothing improper has happened.

The official All-Star Fan Balloting rules state "Automatic, programmed, scripted and/or robotic votes or Promotion entries are not permitted." Yet, when the NHL is presented with proof that the results are due to automatic voting and when a spokesperson for the league states that it is very likely that automatic voting took place, the NHL waits and then tries to spin this situation into a positive one.

The automatic voting has stopped since the installation of a captcha and a one-vote-per-minute voting rule, but all this has done is make the Canadiens' players' leads insurmountable. It is irresponsible, and just plain bad business, that the NHL set up an online vote without installing any sort of features that would prevent automated voting.

This situation makes the NHL as a whole look bad.

And so today we are calling on you to join us. Boycott the NHL All-Star Game.

If you are a fan of any NHL team and you feel that the way this has been handled is insulting and irresponsible, join us.

Canadiens fans who do not want to see their team branded as "cheaters" due to the actions of a very small portion of the team's fan base, join us.

Anyone who is upset with how the NHL continues to run the league as a second-rate organization, join us.

Let us state again that we do not want to see the votes changed.

We have no problem with all six Canadiens being voted onto the team.

Having six Canadiens voted onto the All-Star team during the franchise's 100th season would, quite frankly, be amazing. We just wish the votes would have been recorded legitimately.

Our issue is with the NHL and how they have handled the situation.

Of course, the NHL could make things right. They could admit that there was an error. They could publicly state that some votes were made automatically but that nothing can be done at this point. All they have to do is admit that there was a mistake and we will watch the All-Star game.

Until they do, we will encourage others to join our boycott.

Please, if you agree with our points stated above, boycott the NHL All-Star Game.

Join our Facebook group to support the cause.

Spread this message to everyone you know.

Perhaps with a little dedication we can make the NHL see what they have done wrong.

Perhaps we can restore the reputation of the NHL, the All-Star Game, and the Montreal Canadiens.