Does this blog come with a face-mask?

Okay, let’s admit it — what’s the first thing you think of when you picture a hockey fan? I’m betting the word “blog” isn’t high on the list, and I’ll bet that or “social networking” isn’t in the top 10 either. For most of the hockey fans I know, social networking consists of finding someone who will bring the beer and chips over when the playoffs are on. But perhaps I am guilty of stereotyping — and I’m sure that hockey mania in this country is broad enough to cover all sorts of different groups, including Web 2.0 geeks.

Courtesy of Pete Cashmore’s Mashable, I found out that the National Hockey League is bringing social networking, with blogs and all sorts of other cool features, to its site starting with the 2007 season (Pete found out about it It’s in beta testing right now, but there are already some publicly available blogs out there, including this one. There are profiles, comments, photos and RSS feeds, and users can add others to their social network.

As PaidContent notes, Major League Baseball — which arguably occupies the same core position in the American sports-lover’s consciousness as hockey does in Canada — already offers fans their own blogs at the MLB site. For $4.95 (U.S.) a month, baseball lovers can choose from multiple templates, and have their blogs featured on various league sites, which can lead to fame (if not fortune).

Narendra Rocherolle (former CEO of Webshots and now involved with 30 Boxes) calls this phenomenon not MySpace but SmallSpace.

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