Ten Questions with #HartnellDown Creator

Published on March 20th, 2012


Ten Questions with Seth Hastings, Flyers Fan and Creator of #HartnellDown
By Anthony Mingioni

It’s not every day that a fan gets to work with a hockey player who plays for the team he’s idolized his whole life.

And certainly, not a hockey player who said fan pokes fun at for his apparent disregard for on-ice skating balance, giving birth to a comedic Twitter hashtag.

Crazy circumstances or not, the fact is that Seth Hastings and Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell are likely forever intertwined because of #HartnellDown and both wouldn’t have it any other way.

If’s there’s one thing that you can be assured of during a Flyers game… if Hartnell takes a spill on the ice, Hastings is recording it.

As of this writing, it’s happened 300 (?!) times this season.

Sure other players take a spill, but when Hartnell does it, it means so much more.

The short version of the story? Hastings, through his observations of Hartnell’s reckless style of play, created a social media phenomenon that has snowballed into something well beyond what he could have ever imagined.

Instead of having issues with the hashtag, Hartnell made the decision to turn his on ice pratfalls into an opportunity to do something good. Along with his management team, Hartnell took Hastings’ creation and turned it into the #HartnellDown Foundation, providing financial support to charitable organizations that support the three things most important to him: hockey, children, and his hometown of Lloydminster, Saskatoon/Alberta. The foundation raises funds for those causes by creating t-shirts, hats, hoodies and other promotional items.

While it’s a dream come true for any fan to work side by side with a player, it’s a development that Hastings couldn’t have foreseen as something that started out innocently enough amongst immediate friends and fellow Twitter users.

Center Ice Hockey Magazine spoke with Hastings about the beginnings of his Flyers fandom, and how, through the magic of Twitter, a completely unexpected and unique fan-player partnership was born.

Center Ice: When would say you became a fan of hockey &/or the Flyers? What was it about the sport that pulled you in?
Seth Hastings: Honestly, I get it from my dad. He was a Flyers fan when he was in high school all the way back in the 70s. I just remember the Flyers always being the team my family roots for.

Center Ice: What about your first game you ever attended? Anything specific that you recall from it?
Hastings: Oh, this is a great one. The first game I ever got to attend that wasn’t a preseason game was Saturday, February 12, 2000. My dad got seats from a friend of his about 10 rows off the ice, right behind the net. John LeClair scored in overtime to beat the Sabres 3-2. 

Center Ice: When did you first start using Twitter & could you have imagined it would’ve blown up as it has? 
Hastings: I joined Twitter in April 2009, it’s been a blast every second. I never imagined twitter would bring some of the amazing opportunities I’ve had because of #HartnellDown.

Center Ice: So, how did #HartnellDown start?
Hastings: It started during Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. Scott tied the game at 3 and there was a #hartnelldown immediately after the goal. I decided then that I’d count the next season (it was number 241).

Center Ice: If memory serves, Flyers defenseman Matt Carle announced that Scott was joining Twitter& that he was a little sensitive about #hartnelldown. What was your reaction to that?
Hastings: I was ready to end it. I do remember sending out a tweet that basically said if Scott isn’t a fan of #HartnellDown then it’s got to come to an end. It was dead….for about 30 minutes or so until he started using the hashtag.

Center Ice: So there’s a 180, he embraces it & starts regularly using it in his tweets. When you saw that, how did you feel then?
Hastings: It was definitely a shock at first.  I couldn’t believe it.  I thought “Here I am, just a dude who loves the Flyers more than a lot of stuff I probably shouldn’t, and a member of the team is joining in on something my simple mind thought of.”

Center Ice: Scott is then made aware of your creative enterprise & contacts you via Twitter. Take us through what happens next. 
Hastings: It was a 100% fan boy moment. I ended up calling my Flyers Corner co-hosts and gossiped like a 7th grader. Scott invited me to Dec. 17 game against Boston. 

Center Ice: And after that game, you got to meet him for the 1st time. What was that like? Any nerves?
Hastings: At first I was kind of nervous.  I wasn’t sure if he was going to grill me about the reasons for starting #HartnellDown. For me it was all kinds of awesome. I got one of the first #HartnellDown shirts right before the website really took off, so that was cool. 

Center Ice: You were involved with the #HartnellDown Foundation at the Flyers Wives Carnival as a part of the festivities. I’m sure as a fan, you’ve attended one before. What was your experience like from a different perspective?
Hastings: The Carnival was a blast. To be involved in something like that was such an honor. Normally I’m on the other side attending but to help raise money right alongside the Flyers is something I never thought I’d do. Seeing all the fans come up to the #HartnellDown Foundation table and buy all but everything we had was great. We sold out of almost everything that we had at the table that day.

Center Ice: Final question and it might be a tough one…If Scott’s playing on a team opposing the Flyers in the Stanley Cup Final, have you ever thought how do you handle your rooting interests in that circumstance?
Hastings: I was a Flyers fan before #HartnellDown so I’d have to say I’d root for the Flyers, no question.
-For more information about the #HartnellDown Foundation, visit www.hartnelldown.com

Scott Hartnell and Seth Hastings