It all started with muffins. Twitter user @Hinx warned @Ron to steer clear of Evander Kane at last year’s trade deadline. Using some profanity along the way, she advised @Ron to go, “Go get a f***ing snack, maybe like a really yummy blueberry muffin, and stay off the phone.”
“So, it all started with muffins.” said Ron Spickenagel, a contractor for crisis or difficult scenarios in the technology field. Ron is behind the Twitter name @Ron, and no, he is not Ron Hextall, former General Manager of the Philadelphia Flyers. Ron was going about his day earlier this year, when he notes that his phone would not stop going off. It was the muffin conversation. Twitter users @Hinx and @NHLFlyera were having a back-and-forth about muffins, and Ron couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Think you want a one word username? Think again. Trying to work and my phone has been blowing up. Turns out it's a spirited discussion on muffin preference. Apparently this is somehow related to Hockey. The Flyers' president is named Ron. (A fact I'm now painfully aware of) https://t.co/sLzc2DqXyq
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) February 26, 2018
“From that point on, I think the city of Philadelphia and I had an unspoken understanding. The golden rule of Twitter – Troll unto others.” And troll he did.
I don't snack and tell
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) June 20, 2018
Early on in the regular season, Twitter user @k_bompadre pointed out to Ron that the Flyers have allowed 31 goals in 7 games, which was, at that point, second worst in the season. Ron stuck to the golden rule.
We're pushing for 1st. Give us time!
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) October 19, 2018
@MrDollarDogNite was anxious for Ron to get a deal done with then-free agent Erik Karlsson, and Ron had a simple response that put an end to the speculation better than the actual Ron Hextall.
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) September 5, 2018
Spickenagel had his fair share of fun with Flyers Twitter, even though he mentions that he isn’t a big fan of social media in general.
“Honestly, I’m not a big fan of social media, so I don’t really use it for personal use. Part of the reason I keep the @Ron account is because it’s just really hard to justify giving up the username.”
He goes on to say that there is another appealing factor to having the notorious @Ron Twitter handle.
“The main reason , however, is that the mis-mentions are a source of entertainment for me. Sometimes I have fun joking around with people who tag me, but a lot of times they just get embarrassed, which kind of dampens the fun.”
He reveals, however, that Flyers fans were reluctant to become embarrassed when conversing with him, even treating him as one of their own.
“Somehow I became some kind of combination of a punching bag, sounding board, and life advice guru for all areas.”
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) November 29, 2018
I specifically told them chic with a hint of homicidal muppets on acid. I don't see the problem. They nailed it!
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) September 26, 2018
“Mostly it was just pure, unadulterated ridiculousness, which is great.” Ron fit right in with the Flyers crowd that enjoyed the unadulterated ridiculousness that he thrived in.
Ron continued, stating that the past year has been a bit challenging for him. Going through times where he felt down, or even exhausted, he states, “…the nonsense and banter from Flyers fans made me laugh and cheered me up more than a few times.”
Even after Ron Hextall was relieved of his duties, the tweets still came pouring in, and some times, at a higher capacity than before.
“It’s actually increased. The fans have been digging in and saying that I don’t get off that easily. Maybe @ChuckFletcher can woo them away. Time will tell.”
He mentions that with the firing of Hextall, came “the end of an era; the burial of a meme, only I was the meme.”
For someone who has been assaulted via initially unwanted tweets, Ron Spickenagel has been a tremendous sport throughout the entire process, responding to people who call him out via the social media platform, even having fun with them on most occasions.
Say 6 Hail Grittys and an Our Flyers and I'll think about it. #heathen
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) October 3, 2018
Physical rehab went very well and fast! Now we're just waiting on drug rehab. In retrospect, we may have made a mistake filling the vending machines with vicodin.
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) October 9, 2018
All in all, Ron reminisces on his moments as GM fondly, whether it was being verbally assaulted for the faults of another man, or asked which type of muffin is the best, he made the best of his time as GM of Flyers Twitter. He even remembers the news of Hextall being fired, and says, “Maybe it was the smooth piano station on Pandora or the snow outside, but when a new GM got picked and all the farewells and ‘thanks for being a good sport,’ messages started pouring in, I almost got a little misty eyed…”
As for the future, Ron has a few plans in place to help with a startup, and even build a personally founded company. He may still respond to your gripes with former GM Ron Hextall, but he also has a life outside of his hockey Twitter GM persona.
Overall, he says he will look back on all of this with a positive light, and leaves the fans with one last quote that may or may not surprise you, but should nonetheless be a summary of his tenure as Twitter GM of the Flyers through his eyes.
“Overall, Flyers fans have been awesome. I think we all had fun.”
He also leaves the next Flyers Twitter GM, @ChuckFletcher, with a little bit of advice for dealing with the barrage of tweets that are sure to ensue, if they haven’t already.
As the former GM, let me give you some advice.
#1 – Gritty is good
#2 – Do the thing (make trades)
#3 – Blueberry (ideal muffin type)
That's really all you need to know about Hockey. Go with God. https://t.co/IAZE2L3N5n
— Ron Spickenagel (@Ron) December 14, 2018