The Los Angeles Kings have established their Twitter feed as hockey’s most entertaining, whether it’s mocking the competition or general tomfoolery.
Much like their team, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Twitter feed is rather unheralded, yet it can be as randomly entertaining as any NHL account.
Yet for whatever reason, there’s a budding Twitter ‘bromance’ between the two Western Conference rivals that hockey fans have witnessed in recent months. The Kings hashtagged every Jackets-related tweet with #Lumbus, and the fans have joined in. The Kings take jabs at the Jackets, and the Jackets hit back, in a playful way. LA has even made a Lumbus reference in their official game summary.
On April 1, they even traded mascots.
It’s like seeing a puppy nurse on a Mama cat: An inexplicable yet adorable occurrence.
We asked Aaron Brenner and Pat Donahue of the Kings’ digital team, two of the people behind the famed Twitter feed, how this ‘bromance’ was born.
How, when, where and why did the #Lumbus hash tag begin?
DONAHUE: #Lumbus was cooked up in the strange mind of Aaron Brenner (@KingsVision). It must have been when we played at home against the Jackets the beginning of February. He just thought it was clever or funny and it just sort of stuck. They are the only team it really works with, you cant do #Ose or #Ashville, #Troit, well that works. I've thrown out #Couver a few times too but it doesn't work as well with rivals. Just doesn't have the same ring to it as #Lumbus.
BRENNER: Believe it or not -- We have a checks/balances system in place between Pat and myself, to make sure we’re not about to cross the line with a tweet, response, hashtag, etc. After proposing a few ideas, the first tweet looked something like this:
I believe that went out on 2/5, a few hours after we played them on the road in Lumbus.
For the past few years, I’d always used the shortened version, rather than the longer “Columbus” thing, so it felt natural to try and get our fans on board. Let’s not forget the 140-character limit we’re battling on a daily basis.
Its been adopted by so many fans. That’s what makes me smile. Knowing we’ve done some good.
2. Why are you so nice to Columbus? It is because they gave you Jeff Carter and allowed you to dump Jack Johnson on them?
DONAHUE: We get along with them because they are trying to do the same thing we do, have fun. I don't know when it started, but they we're responding to what we were saying and it snowballed. We take jabs at them, they jab right back, it's all good-natured. No other group has that dynamic, they think we are attacking them when really we're just trying to get fans talking. This isn't personal, we aren't super fans having twitter wars. It's marketing departments.
BRENNER: You could argue that a team’s identity is really something you wouldn’t want to mess with. To that end – you could say that cutting their identity by 2 characters isn’t exactly the best way to start a friendship. Lumbus plays the social game really well, and they’ve shown that they can give and take the jokes. We love that. They don’t take it too seriously, and we obviously don’t either.
3. Do you feel comfortable establishing this bromance because you won't likely see Columbus until the conference final, if at all?
DONAHUE: Even if we saw them in the first round, it'd be like brothers going head to head. We'd want to win sure, (and we would! We know the Staples Center clock guy) but there’s no bad blood. From a digital side, I'd rather have them beat us than the Sharks or Ducks.
BRENNER: I’d love to see Lumbus in the conference final. That would be epic. I also think that’s our only shot to stock up on Lumbus-branded merchandise. I’d buy 10 hats with “KINGS-vs-LUMBUS” - and I don’t even wear hats.
Columbus is leaving the conference after this season. What will you miss most about your new friend?
PAT: We'll still play them twice, and it brings up the opportunity for even more jokes as they now play 14 teams we don't see very often. They are always just a tweet away.
BRENNER: Truthfully – it’s sad. We’ll officially have an Eastern-Conference team to root for, if nothing else. We can guarantee that the Lumbus hashtag won’t be going anywhere. In fact, next time you’re bored -- do yourself a favor and search the hashtag.
Anything you’d like to add?
DONAHUE: #Lumbus T-Shirts Coming Soon
BRENNER: Urban Dictionary defines Lumbus.