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NHLPA and BlackBerry team to show players lives away from the ice

An employee holds a Blackberry Playbook tablet at a Research in Motion annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

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An employee holds a Blackberry Playbook tablet at a Research in Motion annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Their first efforts look a little old home movies, but the NHL Players Association has teamed with BlackBerry to let fans get up close and personal with some hockey stars.

"We created this partnership with BlackBerry to allow the players to film themselves away from the ice, in way that fans couldn't really see before," said Colin Campbell, director of corporate partnerships for the players' union. "It is an opportunity to show a different side of professional hockey players."

Five players have been given PlayBooks and are turning into budding directors as they use the built-in HD cameras to record moments in their lives.

The first five videos they produced, with the help of editors at the NHLPA, are already up on playbook.nhlpa.com.

"I think the fans are absolutely going to love it," says New York Rangers' goaltender Martin Biron, one of the five players given a PlayBook. "It's good to see the everyday life, where the players are."

Biron's first effort shows off his new mask.

"You press the screen, you point and shoot and you try to get as much as you can," he said.

Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers has lunch with his brother, Dennis, and family while Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks is shown snowmobiling, Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs teaches skating while Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders attended a charity casino.

"I'm a huge electronic geek," said Biron. "I love all that new stuff coming out.

"When Colin came into New York with the BlackBerry people and we got to sit down after a game and play around with the tablet, I was having so much fun."

Biron also likes the games.

"We got a green light to do whatever we want and we submit as much as we can," Biron said, adding he wasn't hot on a suggestion he keep it rolling next week when the trade deadline hits.

"We're playing that day so I don't know I would put the guys in that position," he said with a chuckle.

Campbell said the plan is to update the site weekly with new videos until the end of the season.

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