The Hockey Guys, a friendship that became viral

Pro players
min - read
Amanda McGee
Pro players
min - read
If you only have a few minutes to spare, here's what you should know:
The Hockey Guys are composed of ten members: Lawson McDonald, Will Blake, Levi Cudmore, Martan Yelle, Jordan Martin, Austin Friesen, David Kaplan, Jonny Pace, Troy MacTavish, and Coltyn Bates.
They use their TikTok platform in order to bring hockey to the mainstream with humour and engaging content. 
They have over 1.5 million of followers on Tiktok.

The Hockey Guys, a friendship that became viral

Going viral on TikTok is no easy feat, but it puts a lot of eyes on your videos.

The short-form video platform has enabled creators to showcase their talents and interests, and these 10 former college hockey teammates have seized the opportunity to bring their love for hockey to the masses.

The dynamic friend group known as "The Hockey Guys" – composed of members Lawson McDonald, Will Blake, Levi Cudmore, Martan Yelle, Jordan Martin, Austin Friesen, David Kaplan, Jonny Pace, Troy MacTavish, and Coltyn Bates – hope to bring hockey to the mainstream through a unique blend of expertise, humor, and engaging content.

With over 1.5 million followers on TikTok, it seems to be working.

Graphic of the ten members of The Hockey Guys


The friendship first blossomed at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where all 10 members played for the university’s hockey team.

McDonald would often feature the friends in videos he uploaded to his personal YouTube channel. When the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily halted hockey in 2020, the group started collaborating more frequently, initially limiting their content to McDonald's platform.

“Lawson just started filming us and posting it on his own TikTok page and a couple of videos actually did pretty well,” said Pace.

One of the first barriers the group faced was becoming comfortable and familiar with TikTok, he explained, adding, “a lot of us didn't even have the app on our phones.”

The Hockey Guys' journey to TikTok fame took off in October 2020, when McDonald decided to finally create a separate profile for the group’s videos after noticing a spike in engagement when his posts featured the group.

“A lot of the videos revolved around that friendship aspect,” said Pace, who credits their chemistry as the reason for their success.

The group’s renowned status wasn’t achieved overnight, explained Yelle. “We had a few videos that did very well in the beginning stages, but it was just a gradual growth.”

Initially, their first viral videos featured members lip-syncing to popular songs in their hockey gear. “It was easier when we were all playing on the same team, we’d make videos in our gear and those were the original videos that did really well,” recalled Pace. “In addition to the trend-type videos, we really were just showcasing our friendship and bringing out our personalities within the group.”

The group saw the opportunity to expand their friendship into a business that could in turn help grow love for the game. “In the beginning, we were doing it for fun and then it turned into our passion,” said Yelle.

“Our friendships really came from playing on the same hockey team together, so we're using that as our platform to help grow the game,” he added.
The Hockey Guys, made up of University of Wisconsin-Superior hockey players, are viral on Tiktok

Through several partnerships – including one with the NHL – the group will often attend hockey games and film content.

Just recently in May, The Hockey Guys attended Conference Final playoffs games in both Florida and Dallas, in partnership with Celsius.

“A lot of our content revolves around the game of hockey, just because it's something that we love, and we want to bring that love that we have to other people, whether they're hockey fans or not,” said Yelle.

Their viral videos have helped encourage people to become more involved in hockey.

They often receive messages of fans sharing how they got into the sport because of the visibility their videos have given it.

“It's very rewarding and again, I can't express enough how appreciative we are of just everyone and their support,” said Pace. “Our most important thing is our fans and followers.”

Yelle added, “it started off with TikTok videos which gained traction gradually over time and now we have turned it into a company.”

The group now posts content across various platforms, along with selling branded merchandise.

They’ve even branched out into podcasting, sharing further insight into their friendship on two podcast series, No Bad Days and The Fan Club. No Bad Days is hosted by Pace, Martin, and MacTavish.

The series’ title was inspired by Cudmore‘s bumper sticker, and the saying has since stuck with the group. “Towards the end of college, and especially senior year, ‘no bad days’ was a saying that we just kind of pinned for our friend group,” recalled Yelle.

“We talk about anything and everything, a lot of hockey stuff, some personal stories, we try to make it funny and light and really, it's for our followers to get to know our personalities a little bit more,” said Pace, who has been hosting the series since June 2021.

In January, Blake, Friesen, and McDonald established their latest podcast series, The Fan Club.

The series has posted just under 40 episodes and features chats with fellow creators, athletes, and entertainers about the personal brands they’ve established.

Despite group members pursuing different careers after graduation, they continue to arrange times to meet and film content. Pace, along with Martin and McTavish, plays professional hockey with the SPHL’s Birmingham Bulls.

Bates, on the other hand, is actively pursuing a coaching career in Canadian Junior Hockey. The remaining six group members remain in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the headquarters for the group’s platform.

“We'll always continue to be growing our brand and growing the game of hockey,” said Pace.

You can find The Hockey Guys on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify.

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