Neil Chiplen explains why Sheffield's music video is so popular.
It's not about Nickelback. As funny as it is, it's not about the humour. It's not about the song.
The real reason why music videos like the Sheffield Steelers' remake of "Rockstar" or Belfast's Mariah Carey tribute are so popular will surprise you.
It's not about a new tour bus filled with old guitars or driving 15 cars. It's not about watching Jeff Legue smuggling bananas or feeling sympathy for a sheep. It's not about Colt King's impression of Billy Gibbons or the steam coming from the hot tub.
While it might be part Christmas comedy and part marketing gimmick, there's something stronger at the core of "Rockstar". Something that all hockey fans and players can associate with.
Whether it's the Giants fooling around to the high-pitched tones of Mariah, Jason Hewitt lip-syncing Chad Kroeger or the Cardiff Devils bouncing along to the Black Eyed Peas, the reason we enjoy these videos is the same. On the surface, it's entertaining to see these men pull back the curtain a little more and show a lighter side. But there's more to it than the giggles. There's a more important reason:
As is often said within our community, hockey is the best kept secret in British sport. And when the game doesn't get the recognition it deserves for entertainment value on merit alone, we need alternatives to provide the attention it deserves. Make no mistake, all of the effort that went into producing the video and all of the positive responses it has received have been fuelled by pride. Not necessarily pride in the song, but the pride we have in the game.
This is about the belief that, underneath it all, hockey is a great game.
The Steelers organisation wouldn't have made "Rockstar" if they didn't believe in the core product. And that's what this is about. It's about the game. It's about a fanbase having pride in hockey.
This is about selling tickets in Sheffield and in the UK. In this year, and in years to come.
This is about giving fans a reason to smile, laugh and start a conversation with somebody who's on the outside looking in. This is about going local, national and international and showing that hockey players are down to Earth fellas who don't mind a little self-deprecating humour. Fans wouldn't be setting fire to Twitter, furiously attempting to garner re-tweets if, somewhere beneath the laughter of Rockstar, they didn't love the game.
Syncing up cameras and songs words takes some time. Shooting the video at different locations and then putting it all together afterwards takes some time. But while the hours hauling the camera from site to site add up, the real fuel driving the motor is pride. It's pride in the light at the end of the tunnel. It's pride that if you do come and watch these guys do what they do best you'll be entertained and you'll want to watch again.
It's not about the music on youtube. It's about the music at the arena when you're waiting for the puck to drop at the next face-off. It's part of the all-round entertainment package on a Saturday night.
This is about the extra 2%. It's about giving the game exposure in a creative, yet all so simple, way that captures peoples' imagination. This is about the person who learns about the game through the video, turns up one Saturday night to see the Steelers and is then hooked on hockey for life. Because there will be one.
I'd bet there was in Belfast last year. This is about giving the season ticket holders pride in the organisation they've grown so close too.
It's about pride in the jersey. Strange as it is, something like this brings a team closer together and can make the locker room stronger. In years to come, Colt King and John DeCaro probably won't remember coming from behind to beat the Fife Flyers in mid-December but they'll happily reminisce about Jonathan Phillips standing behind a sheep.
Last year it was Mike Hoffman, this year it's Jeff Legue, next year who knows?