The Washington Galaxy aren’t expecting big things this season. The odds that they’ll compete for the Vandy, or even for a playoff spot, seem slim at best. The odds that one or more of the team’s remaining stars will be shipped out seem high.
Fortunately for Galaxy fans, though, the team does seem to have a couple of breakout stars in the making. Not on the ice, but on social media. Jillian McNeely, wife of star RW Jefferson McNeely, has attracted attention among fans for her clever Galaxy-related memes, many of which feature the couple’s 7-year-old daughter Michelle.
Jillian’s posts, and their following among fans, attracted the attention of the team’s marketing staff. They inspired Chief Experience Officer David Maltby to do something unorthodox, at least by SHL standards: offer Jillian control of the Galaxy’s Twitter account for a night.
“It’s obvious that our fans love Jillian and her memes,” said Maltby. “And for those fans who might not have discovered them yet, this was a great opportunity to showcase her, Michelle, and the whole thing. It’s a long season, so why not try something a little different?”
Jillian was in charge for Tuesday’s game against the Dakota Jackalopes. “whats up dc peeps!!!” read her first tweet, posted a few minutes before the opening puck drop. “it’s ya girl, jillian (mrs. jeff) mcneely, live tweeting the game”. Shortly thereafter, she added: “they put a girl in charge??? run for your lives!!!”
One fan sarcastically offered Jillian condolences for having to watch the game. Jillian replied, “don’t worry… mama’s all fueled up,” adding several red wine emojis.
Naturally, fans immediately began clamoring for some memes of Michelle, or “mimi-memes,” as Jillian likes to call them. “all right… you want em, you got em!” Jillian replied. She then posted the following meme:
“mimi is ride or die for daddy’s team!!!” Jillian said. In response to a question, she said that the picture came from the team’s end-of-season beach party last year. She then posted the following meme, featuring Michelle with the children of LWs Casey Thurman and Charlie Brooks:
In the second period, Galaxy goalie Buzz Carson made a tricky save on a shot by Jackalopes LW Ryan Airston that left the netminder in an undignified sprawling position, wrapped around the post. Jillian then posted this meme:
That one drew a sharp response from Brenda Vale, Carson’s girlfriend, who tweeted: “u making fun of my man??? [knife emoji] better step off…” Jillian immediately responded, “peace, gurl! nothin but fun… srsly u know i [heart emoji] u and buzz”.
“that’s more like it, hun… we can be friends again,” replied Vale.
At the start of the third, the Galaxy played their rally song, “Cosmic Thing,” drawing an enthusiastic response from Jillian. “I love this song!!! Shake ur hunnybuns, everybody!!!” she tweeted.
The teams traded goals in the third, and the game wound up going to overtime, and that prompted another mimi-meme:
Unfortunately, LW Joe Freelander scored in overtime to give the Jackalopes the win. Jillian and Michelle were both displeased:
Maltby and the Galaxy, on the other hand, approved of Jillian’s outing. The team reporting that views and engagement on the Twitter feed were both up over 50% from a typical game. “Anytime Jillian wants to do this again,” Maltby said, “she’s more than welcome.”
Jillian also seemed positive on the idea of a repeat performance. “I had fun!” she said. “It was a little nerve-wracking, ‘cause I had to remember not to curse, but I enjoyed it. And Mimi loves being a social-media star! All her school friends asked her about it the next day.”
Jefferson, on the other hand, had more mixed emotions. “I took some ribbing in the locker room about it,” he told reporters. “Jillian loved it, and that’s great. But if Michelle gets any more famous, my agent might drop me and sign her.”