Dani Muccio visits the NYI Blog Box

She only became involved in Hockey because her husband, a life-long Islanders fan, played in a beer league. He shoved his love of hockey under her nose on a daily basis, but she never watched him play until five years into the relationship. His plan to win her over worked. She is now a fan of the game and his beloved team. But now her knowledge and interest in the sport, and that which surrounds it, leaves him in the dust.

She manages three kids, their sports schedules, a job and her PTA responsibilities with caffeine induced energy. She is "Mom's Taxi" and Social Network Diva rolled into one. She seems to have eight arms and an enormous heart. She is nothing less than amazing. She is Long Island's own Dani Muccio.

This petite dark haired beauty is also the mastermind behind the NHL TweetUp concept; a simple notion of "Hey! Let's get together and talk over a hockey game!" brought to a global scale.

It has been said that NHL fans are the most techno-savvy fans on the planet. It may or may not be true, but with the League's expanded use of the internet and all its glory, the statement must have some merit. There is the ever expanding Blogosphere, MySpace, Face Book and more on the World Wide Web, so the NHL, in a stroke of genius, gave its fans the "NHL Connect" community, "NHL Network On Line" (an entire video library of game highlights and specially produced features) and for the playoffs, the ominous sounding "The Portal."

But it was Ms. Muccio who brought an otherwise globally scattered community of hockey enthusiasts together on "Twitter." Yes, Twitter. The social media site being eyed for purchase by Google. It has made its way to pop culture status by being covered by seasoned journalists as well as the funny pages. (Doonesbury had a strip in Sunday's paper where Roland the journalist was "tweeting.")

I joined Twitter, at Dani's urging, a few months ago when FaceBook began to annoy me with its virtual shenanigans. Twitter is faster and cleaner with a short attention span. You have to read quickly or you miss out, especially if you follow hundreds of users. I instantly found a fabulous, intelligent hockey community all looking to share ideas and links to information from around the block all the way to Australia.

On St. Patrick's Day, as the regular hockey season began to draw to a close, the very popular (999 followers!) @dani3boyz was struck with a brilliant idea while chatting with an NHL exec, a fellow "Twitterer" (because to call them "twits" would just be wrong). You can see their part of their conversation in a blog article by another Twitter advocate and Web Diva, @goalie girl.

The seed was planted and a new registered website, www.nhltweetup.com was created by these two female hockey fans with passion and vision. As a matter of fact, these two women created the entire campaign without everyspeaking to each other in person.

"We did everything via IM, email and Twitter." It's no secret that Dani is seldom off her Blackberry. If she's not responding immediately, she must be sleeping.

The NHL offered their support for the first TweetUps by supplying some big prizes and some small items to each city that was hosting one of these internet parties. The first ever NHL TweetUp was staged at the NHL store in Manhattan on the night the playoffs began. If you check Google News or this site for NHLTweetUP, you'll find story after story. It was the first of its kind. "The media coverage was unbelievable." said Dani, who usually hides from the limelight. With this type of coverage, she can't hide any longer.

These days Dani is at the helm helping TweetUp host cities get their act together and is working on her grand plan of a Montreal Draft Party NHLTweetUp.

"I really wanted to go to the draft in Montreal. But I found the tickets to get in are more than $500. Two nights ago, they (her Twitter followers) talked me out of going." It wasn't that they didn't want her to GO; they just didn't want her to GO to the DRAFT itself. No, they want her with THEM; her legions of hockey followers. "To be in Montreal on the 100th Anniversary, during the NHL draft, and to hang out with all of them, it's starting to blow my mind! I am TOTALLY going!"

Not only is she going, but hockey fans from California, Boston and Michigan are going as well. This venture into the world of social networking has come with a price tag for Dani and others. As a matter of fact, one enterprising Twitterer managed to collect donations from the Twitterverse from his followers in order to send him to an NHLTweetUP. Hey, whatever works.

"This is my baby and I'm willing to nurture it at all costs." Dani told me today on the phone. All costs will be an eleven hour train ride to Montreal in June and a place in Hockey history books.

Hold onto your Blackberry, Dani; it's going to be one helluva Ride!

Dee Karl, NYI Blog Box Contributor, www.7thwoman.blogspot.com