Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Kelly Page Werder, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kenneth C. Killebrew Jr., Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy Miller, Ph.D.


reputation management, national hockey league, communication managers, fans, professional sports


This exploratory case study positions the 2004-05 National Hockey League (NHL) lockout as an organizational crisis, studying it within a Situational Crisis Communication Theory (SCCT) frame. A mixed methodology approach used qualitative and quantitative content analyses and a survey of NHL fans to gauge the NHL's reputation five years after the lockout. For the content analyses, 282 newspaper articles from 7 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada were coded for SCCT variables and presentation of the lockout by news writers. NHL fans (n = 140) were surveyed with the goal of assessing SCCT variables as predictors of attitude. Results confirmed previous SCCT findings and showed links between SCCT variables and fan attitudes toward the NHL and the sport of hockey.