The Ice Hockey UK social media policy covers all social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, MySpace and any other current or future applications that fall under the category of social media.

The policy refers to all players of Great Britain national sides at all ages levels and also includes coaching staff, team managers and off-ice staff.

Much of this social media policy is designed with Twitter in mind, but it is important to remember that the public can view other prominent social media applications too.

Social media is a great tool for keeping in touch with the supporters and it brings them closer to you. Whenever you are using social media you are representing your Great Britain national side and Ice Hockey UK.

This is not designed to stop GB ice hockey personnel using social media, rather bring to attention the pitfalls and dangers of reckless and careless use.

Ice Hockey UK encourages positive social media use and feel it is a great way to communicate with supporters, especially during an international tournament, but GB personnel must be responsible for their comments at all times.

This is especially important during tournaments when interest from supporters and the media is more intense, but don’t forget they can see your comments throughout the year.

– Remember what you write can be seen, in most cases, by the public on social media. This is especially true on Twitter where the majority of users have no control over who follows them.

– Take responsibility for your comments. You are personally responsible for your comments and in some cases potentially legally liable. There have been some high-profile cases where social media users have been sued for comments.

– On Twitter, this does not just apply to personal tweets but retweeting as well. Think before you retweet and the implications of what another user is saying. By retweeting a comment you could be seen to be endorsing it.

– Respect your audience. All social media postings should be professional, accurate and should reflect well on you as a person and a GB player. Do not be afraid to be yourself, but do so in a respectful manner.

– Everything you write can be captured and archived in an instant, so think before you post. It only takes a few seconds for someone to take a screenshot of your post. So even if you delete it, someone may have it and it will still be in the public domain.

– Every comment can be scrutinised and maybe taken out of context, so think before you post and make sure you are comfortable with the public reading the comment you are about to post.

– Even when you have conversations to one generic user – a close friend for example – the public can check your timeline and view the full conversations. It is easy to get carried away when having a one-to-one social media conversation with a friend, so be careful what you say and what you reveal.

– Remember you are followed all-year round on social media and not just at major international tournaments. Don’t let your guard down just because you are on holiday somewhere.

To uphold the good name of Great Britain ice hockey and Ice Hockey UK across the world, there are a number of social media guidelines IHUK have introduced that players and staff must adhere to:

– Your social media communications should make clear that your comments are solely yours and they do not represent the views of the team or the Ice Hockey UK organisation.

– Do not post on social media platforms from one hour before a game to half an hour after a game.

– Do not criticise or make reference to game officials, or comment on their performance, whether it be good or bad.

– Do not criticise tournament organisers, or personnel from an opposing team.

– Do not reveal team selection or tactics. Think before posting a picture and to whether it might have implications on revealing team tactics/line-up.

– Do not get involved in hostile conversation with other social media users.

– Do not use profanity or words/terms that cold be interpreted as racist, sexist or prejudice.

Any GB personnel deemed to be breaking these guidelines can be subject to internal discipline.

Social media activity is encouraged throughout a tournament, but your team management and coaching staff do reserve the right impose a ban on social media posting should they deem this necessary.

If you have any queries about the social media guidelines, or want some further guidance, contact Ice Hockey UK’s media officer Chris Ellis via media@icehockeyuk.co.uk.