NHL vs. TikTok – Players find an ‘addicting’ outlet during the coronavirus pause

Brendan Gallagher he is not a policeman. He only plays one on TikTok.

O Montreal Canadiens The actor made a synopsis of the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" scene, in which actor Andy Samberg's character, detective Jake Peralta, sings The Backstreet Boys "I Want It That Way". He acted as Dwight Schrute and Jim Halpert as Dwight Schrute in "The Office". He recorded a French lesson through Google Translate, learning that "ton tonton tond ton th" becomes "your uncle cuts your tuna".


Gallagher hasn't played NHL in two months, as the league has had its players quarantined since pausing the 2019-20 season on March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm a little bored," he said, "and that's why the videos are out there."

He made 14 videos on the social video sharing network during that period, gaining more than 44,000 followers. "It's kind of addictive. I'm not going to lie," he said. "I started doing some of them. I did a few more and more, and I decided that would be what would put me in quarantine."


Or how New Jersey Devils defender Connor Carrick, another NHL player who became the creator of TikTok, summed up: Creativity and ingenuity tend to flourish in loneliness and boredom.


"Honestly, I haven't found such an app since the moment you opened it," Carrick told ESPN. "Even though I'm the age when I was a little frowned upon when I joined TikTok. It's like when I was growing up, and our parents started logging into Facebook, and it was time for everyone to leave the house. Facebook."

For those unfamiliar with the platform: TikTok features short videos, most of which are set up for audio tracks ranging from popular songs to movie dialogues. There are choreographed dances, physical challenges, athletic feats, comedy plays, montages, testimonials, abundant dogs – if you can film, there is likely to be a TikTok. Forbes reports that the app has more than 800 million users worldwide, ranging from teenagers in their rooms to influencers who sell sponsored content to celebrities like Lizzo (6.8 million followers).

And, increasingly, professional hockey players.

In addition to Gallagher and Carrick, dozens of NHLers posted TikToks during the NHL break season, including Brenden Dillon of Washington Capitals; Nathan Beaulieu of Winnipeg Jets; Keith Kinkaid, currently with the ladies of Charlotte from AHL; Ivan Provorov of Flyers; former NHL defender Kevin Bieksa; Jack Campbell of Toronto Maple Leafs; J.T.Brown of Minnesota Wild; Matt Luff of Los Angeles Kings; Tomas Tatar, Ryan Poehling and Joel Armia Canadians from Montreal; Mathieu Joseph of Tampa Bay Lightning; and Miles Wood and P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils.

That doesn't even count the videos uploaded to the Instagram platform, through the official accounts of the NHL team and the NHL's own TikTok feed, which has 874,000 followers.

They are also not just players. Referee Wes McCauley made a dance video with his family. NHL mascots went into action. Philadelphia Flyers' ubiquitous Gritty has 98,000 followers. Stanley C. Pantera's Florida Panthers has 31,000. The artist behind this character told ESPN that a presentation of NBA Benny the Bull at a mascot conference "showed that demographics were mostly children, and human children are my people", so TikTok was a natural fit.

Subban also noted that TikTok is a lot for kids, something he learned as a content creator.

"I don't know if TikTok is a sign that I'm getting old, but it’s hard to keep up with TikTok"said Subban, who posted 15 videos, many with quarantined bride Lindsey Vonn." There are many things going on. These videos need to be dedicated for a long time. I don't know if I have time to consistently spread the content that people are going to love, as some of these kids are doing. It's really fun.

"I'm one of those people who likes to walk around TikTok and laugh. I could do that for an hour or two. But as long as you make these videos, it takes a long time and you need to get into a rhythm. So I feel that the younger you are, the more time and energy you have for that. "

This is also true for Bieksa. The old one Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks defense joked that he was "kind of bullied" by TikTok by his 11 year old daughter, Reese.

"It started where my daughter did it all the time, and I liked it because she's running around the house, doing all these dances. It's really active, right? She's sweating, she's making all this effort thinking about creative ideas, and I'm like, this is really cool. And then, in the next thing you know, I get involved in one of them. And then, in the next thing, you know, like the one that does really well., & # 39; OK dad, the What time do we do our TikTok? & # 39; And I'm like, & # 39; Well, I don't know. & Then it's like, & Oh, you don't love me anymore. & # 39 ; It's just pressure from TikTok colleagues with her every day, "he said.

Bieksa was so excited that he started posting TikToks on his own account, which has more than 6,300 followers, including one where he looks like he's flying on a broom during a Quidditch game, in addition to several dance videos.

"I made some on my own and she didn't like it," he said. "So now, I can't do it on my own, I have to wait and do it on her own. But she's the type of person we're doing TikTok together with and she's going to call the phone, so she's looking at she and I eat only half of my body. She just wants me to be in the background for her. She wants all the spotlight.

"But you know what? It's an unbelievable thing to do with her, because hearing her laugh and laugh when I try to dance or do this or do some kind of rap is priceless. That's why I do it. I do it because she has so much fun . I'm not the best dancer. I do stupid things. And she laughs out loud. And it's so fun to do that to her. "

Dillon said his participation in TikTok started like many others: through consumption.

"When you spend two to three weeks in a hotel, there are only so many puzzles and Netflix series you can do. I don't want to throw any of the guys under the Capital bus, but TikTok was something that involved pre-game meals. Guys were going through and checking them out. In the end, there was the next thing I knew I would be brushing my teeth in the morning and popping something in front of the mirror, "he said.

During self-isolation, Dillon did the "Dip and Lean Challenge" with his fiancee, Emma Wittchow. "She tied me up. Man, that was quick," he said.

Of course, with additional attention comes the occasional ridicule. "I think it will probably have to be my last, with the amount of jokes I got from guys and friends at home," said Dillon.

Gallagher, for example, welcomes the scorn. "Guys like to make fun of me, which I am never against," he said.

As his reputation on the ice may indicate, Gallagher is also a fan of revealing embarrassment. It's like forcing a teammate to do a humiliating dance at TikTok after losing a bet.

Gallagher bet on teammate Nick Suzuki that he could sink an "impossible" shot: sitting at the top of a ladder, throwing a ping-pong ball into an open metal water bottle. He posted a day of failed attempts, showing fits of anger. He posted another video, defined in Herb Brooks' "Miracle" speech, which showed him making the shot impossible.

Suzuki, who has 4,775 followers, paid off the debt by reluctantly putting herself in the chicken dance.

"He handled it very well. It took a lot of courage. I will give it to him. He has more courage than I do," said Gallagher. "I think I would have put in a bigger adjustment. I may have negotiated my way out of the dance."

Canadiens teammate Tomas Tatar has fun with Gallagher's production at TikTok. "I think what he's doing is hilarious. He's doing a great job," Tatar told ESPN. "It is important to keep in touch with the fans. We are all in this together. Since we are out of touch with the track and the media, fans have no chance to see what the players are doing." I'm just trying to have fun. Get in touch with our fans ".

It is this connection with the fans that surprised Carrick about TikTok. Devils supporter and his wife Lexi created 12 videos during the NHL break, including a humor joke in Subban:

Carrick is known to have a serious side. Your new show, the "Connor Carrick Podcast" he often travels in intense conversations about mental, physical and spiritual well-being. TikTok is a place to play with happy fun, and yet Carrick said that "part of the feedback was really captivating and super powerful".

For example, Carrick received a direct message on a caregiver's platform for a teenager with autism in Columbus, Ohio. When the boy accomplishes things in life, part of his reward is writing letters to his favorite people – Carrick being the favorite NHL player. She shared a letter written in purple marker from the young fan, expressing her admiration for Carrick and taking a request: "Make a video in which you boops Hoagie," the Carricks' French bulldog.

"I had no idea what he was talking about," said Carrick.

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