From the Storm Surge to Bunch of Jerks, the Carolina Hurricanes have become an athlete marketing powerhouse on and off the ice. Behind the scenes — and powering some of the most iconic social posts from the players and the team — is Marketing Coordinator Nikki Stoudt. In a role that started with a single tweet, Stoudt now oversees multiple marketing efforts and aids players in understanding social media’s place in their own careers.
Live a little! Let the fans see who you are beyond the helmet and skates.
Describe the journey to your position.
I started as an intern in the PR department for the 2014-15 season (after tweeting at VP of Communications and Team Services Mike Sundheim about internship opportunities), eventually becoming their part-time game notes gal in 2015-16 after graduating from NC State in May 2015. After a brief hiatus with Oxford University Press, I came back to the Canes to take up the position of Marketing Coordinator. I stepped into the role of managing the website on top of overseeing our digital and traditional advertising efforts this summer. Another part of my job is aiding our guys in understanding the role of social media in their career and personal lives.
How long have you been using Opendorse?
A little more than a year!
Biggest challenge when working with professional hockey players?
For a long time, our PR department (as much as I love them and, remember, I used to be one of them) would use “scared straight” tactics when discussing social. This creates a rather timid social media user in our guys. I hate when people say hockey players “don’t have the personality of basketball or football players,” because it’s not true. But the most challenging thing is fostering an environment and a social program that lets our team know that it is absolutely fine and encouraged to showcase your fun side! Live a little! Let the fans see just who you are beyond the helmet and skates.
Explain “The Surge” and your strategy behind it.
“The Storm Surge.” Our pride and joy, and a thing we absolutely can never and would never claim to be ours. The whole Storm Surge idea was completely and totally organic and started in our locker room. Former Captain Justin Williams wanted a way to engage more with fans, so he orchestrated the first few. By our fifth win, other guys were contributing ideas — becoming more and more elaborate as the season went on.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is all of it? For real, I love game nights. It’s the one time I get to REALLY see everything we do as a marketing team come together. The other part of that is helping to grow hockey in a market that is “non-traditional.”
What show are you currently binge-watching?
Disney+ is my current go-to streaming service. I am loving The Mandalorian (s/o to Baby Yoda), but my little millennial heart is so happy to find Lizzie McGuire totally holds up in 2019.
What is your favorite post/campaign that you have shared with Opendorse?
My favorite post is a post that is posted. But also this one:
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