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Zeitgeist: NHL to overhaul website again with switch to GeoCities platform

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In order to calm cranky computer users, the National Hockey League is turning back the clock and turning up the midi.

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The National Hockey League is ready to give its website another facelift, this time by switching to the popular web hosting service GeoCities.

The NHL.com GeoCitites update is expected to go live in the coming weeks, and will include eye-catching features such as tiled backgrounds, colorful text banners that flash and scroll, icons that move and spin and electronic-based midi music playing automatically every time visitors log on. Game and highlight videos will be shown via RealNetwork's RealPlayer, which users can to customize with downloadable skins.

"We are stoked to partner with GeoCities on a totally radical, cutting edge website," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Hockey fans will freak out over the new NHL.com because every inch of space is going to be packed with all the cool stuff they love."

People think only hacker nerds can surf the 'net', but that's not true at all-GeoCities founder Giovanni Citty

The GeoCities conversion is NHL.com's second major switch over this year. In January, the NHL launched new versions of its site, mobile app and streaming video service all designed by MLB Advanced Media (BAM), a major player in internet and interactive product development for entities such as Major League Baseball, WWE Network and HBO. The changes were met with mixed reactions with the league's streaming video service, now rebranded NHL.TV, and NHL.com taking major criticism for confusing (and sometimes non-working) presentations.

Moving to a simple GeoCities layout is expected to attract visitors who had been turned off by the complicated BAM version.

"Everything a hockey fan could want is all right there on the front page," said GeoCities founder and lead developer Giovanni Citty. "We can make score banners blink, story titles blink faster and major breaking news blink so fast and bright your eyes burst. Plus the backgrounds are totally sweet."

The demonstration below, provided by Geocities, gives a brief overview of how the new new NHL.com will look and function. (Note: Mr. Citty said that the midi file of 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This" was not working at this time because of "a virus or something.")

NHL GeoCities Y

"People think only hacker nerds can surf the 'net', but that's not true at all," Citty said. "We designed GeoCities in the mid-90's as a way for regular folks to create whatever website they wanted quickly and easily, and we built our reputation on letting anyone on the information super highway express themselves in any way, no matter how garish, obnoxious or headache-inducing it might be.

"When the NHL asked us to partner with them, we thought it was the perfect relationship."

Bettman, who earlier had expressed support for the BAM changes and advocated visitors should "play with it a little bit" to get used to the site, says that the GeoCities-NHL collaboration is the ultimate extension of that idea. The league already has plans to add lots of new features and widgets whenever they feel like it.

"The newest NHL.com will be a fun and crazy place for hockey dudes and dudettes to chill," he said. "It works great, it looks great and we'll be putting cool new stuff up there all the time like a visitor counter, guest book, webrings, chat rooms and some cover songs by our friends' bands."

The Geocities version of NHL.com will be best viewed by using Netscape Navigator 3.0 on a Windows 98 PC or Macintosh Power PC  using a 28.8 dial-up modem.

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This is fake. Unfortunately, Geocities is currently only available in Japan. The Geocities version of NHL.com was created using Wonder-Tonic.com's GeoCities-izer and the Under Construction page comes from Textfiles.com.