Reason #7356 the hockey offseason makes me sad: the most talked about hockey-related story on Twitter yesterday was not Max Pacioretty signing a 6-year extension with the Canadiens. Instead, everyone was talking about the outing of infamous rumour mongerer HockeyyInsiderr as a 17-year-old high school student.
A 16-year-old OJHL scout by the name of Jonathan Kyriacou did a little amateur online detective work and connected a series of dots that seemed to identify the supposed insider as Alex Dulude. Unsurprisingly, Dulude has not worked for 4 NHL teams and doesn’t have contacts throughout the league. I’m not entirely convinced that Kyriacou has pinpointed the right guy – his “evidence” is a combination of trusting the word of the guy he’s trying to prove is a liar and a fair amount of conjecture – but Deadspin picked it up and ran with it, officially making it “big news”.
None of this is properly entertaining or newsworthy. Most people had already concluded that HockeyyInsiderr was a far cry from trustworthy and the way he dealt with his critics meant he was already pegged as having the maturity of a 17-year-old.
But what happened next was thoroughly entertaining, as the supposed insider went off the deep end.
As expected, he vehemently denied the accusation, as well as one that accused him of being Pete Mahovlich of all people, because Mahovlich has nothing better to do with his time than go on twitter and get pissy at Darren Dreger. Prior to that, either he or one of his friends created a Twitter account claiming to be a TSN employee “tired of [HockeyyInsiderr] not getting the cred he deserves,” which is the 2nd most stupid thing I have ever heard.
The 1st most stupid thing was when he tweeted that he would quit his job at TSN on live TV once he reached 100,000 followers, but it plays into the delusion that somehow HockeyyInsiderr matters, that the folks at TSN have spent longer than five minutes in their entire lives thinking about him.
And he doesn’t matter. None of this – none of this – truly matters. Not only is HockeyyInsiderr not a real hockey insider, he’s spending hours upon hours tweeting about something that doesn’t matter. The rumours that HockeyyInsiderr and those like him tweet out are completely meaningless. No one is talking about hockey during the offseason because nothing is happening. Seriously, nothing is happening right now.
The reason that the mainstream media aren’t reporting on the rumours that HockeyyInsiderr tweets out isn’t because he’s more plugged in than they are. It’s because they’re false or, at most, educated guesses and conjecture. The mainstream media aren’t reporting anything because there isn’t anything happening.
If something does happen, you don’t need to know about it the second it occurs and you don’t need to know about the possibility of it happening beforehand. Even if the rumours that HockeyyInsiderr posted were real rumours, it wouldn’t matter. When a trade or a signing does occur, the local beat writers will likely get wind of it first or one of the professional insiders will hear about it through an agent or a GM and it will actually be confirmed. And they won’t need a hashtag to say it.
But thousands of hockey fans do pay attention to him, particularly when there’s nothing else happening. This somehow makes it news. This somehow makes it hockey news.
I understand the obsession with rumours. Every hockey fan likes to fantasize that their home team is going to get the big name free agent or will make a blockbuster trade to improve the team. The fake twitter insiders give such fantasies an air of legitimacy, so that when you go off to mess with the cap calculator on capgeek.com or re-work the lines with Shane Doan pencilled into the top six, you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time.
It’s not surprising that Twitter is the medium used by these fake insiders. Twitter is the medium of the instant. It’s a constantly updating stream of things that others think you should care about. It can be updated from anywhere with a cell phone, so the instant someone thinks of an interesting rumour or hears rumblings from others that a trade or signing is coming down, it can immediately be proliferated as your own.
Back to HockeyyInsiderr. As people tweeted at him, accusing him of being a 17-year-old kid, he reacted in the manner of a 17-year-old, claiming to be a “grown man” and bragging about his car and house. He has since deleted those petulant sounding tweets.
Later in the day, Incarcerated Bob, who claims to be an insider for four different sports and has faced accusations of fraud himself, challenged HockeyyInsiderr to come on a podcast for an interview to clear things up. That’s when things got downright ludicrous.
This is a painfully awkward interview, as HockeyyInsiderr sounds, well, 17 and Incarcerated Bob isn’t exactly a professional interviewer. But HockeyyInsiderr spills a few beans, with the caveat that it’s almost guaranteed that none of what he says is true.
Instead of just saying that he worked for 4 NHL teams as a scout or assistant GM, he now says that he played in the NHL. Not only that, he says he was drafted in 1993 and went straight to the NHL. Make sure you listen to the end of the podcast so you can hear HockeyyInsiderr stall as long as possible when he’s asked what city the 1993 NHL entry draft was held. Guarantee he was googling it.
Here’s the ludicrous thing: some of the information he gave out, including that he is apparently 37 years old, lines up with Alexandre Daigle. Of all the people he could pretend to be, he pretended to be Alexandre Daigle. He couldn’t confirm or deny it when he was accused, but it seems pretty clear that’s the impression he was trying to give. Not all of it lines up, of course, as Daigle played for 6 NHL teams and never worked for them in any other capacity.
A number of people tweeted around this video of Daigle at the ’93 draft, claiming that he sounds exactly like HockeyyInsiderr. There’s a slight similarity, but all it proves is that HockeyyInsiderr sounds like a 17-year-old French Canadian, which doesn’t exactly help his case.
His Facebook page lists him as graduating from the Ontario Hockey Academy in 2000, which, incidentally, came into existence in 2008. And yet, his “interview” claims he was drafted into the NHL in 1993 and went straight to the NHL.
Again, none of this matters. Those who buy into his particular brand of horse manure are not going to be swayed by obvious inconsistencies in his story or outrageous claims that he was a high-end draft pick in 1993, despite not knowing what city the draft was held in. They’ll rationalize it away or HockeyyInsiderr will claim he was tricked or misunderstood. He’ll go back to tweeting his rumours and his followers will go back to believing them.
I know I’m probably foolish to try to convince anyone that he’s a fraud. Frankly, if his massive swing and a miss on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter doesn’t convince you, there’s no hope. I don’t even care who HockeyyInsiderr is. I’m not jealous of him. I don’t even hate him. I just wish that those who followed him were more discerning and cared less about rumours that are unlikely to ever come to fruition.
Have patience. Don’t be so blinded by your demand for hockey news that you believe for a moment that someone with legitimate sources would anonymously break trades out of the goodness of their heart. The reason that legitimate hockey insiders are able to break trades is because they have spent years developing contacts throughout the league and spend hours pursuing leads each day. They get paid to do that because it’s a helluva lot of work. If someone was going to beat them to the punch on those rumours, they wouldn’t do it for free.
And seriously, Alexandre Daigle? Come on.