An Email Interview with @TDIHockey
By Patrick Hoffman
Esports is all the rage these days. A lot of people are getting involved, it's unbelievably popular, and has helped make playing video games even cooler than it was before.
Clearly, one esport that I would love to see take off is hockey. Hockey is the greatest game on earth and I am all for doing whatever it takes to help grow the game.
One person that agrees with me is @TDIHockey. The person behind this moniker runs NHL streams on YouTube, has his own website, and as you can see below in an email interview I conducted with TDI Hockey, he believes that hockey needs to push themselves into Esports.
I hope you all take the time to enjoy it below:
PH: Growing up, how did you get into hockey?
TDI: I started playing hockey when I was around 4-years-old. My dad was always a big hockey fan and he strapped a pair of skates on me as soon as he could.
He never actually learned how to skate himself, so I guess he was kind of learning to skate through watching me. I fell in love with the sport soon after and I haven’t stopped playing since.
PH: Who is your favorite team (s) and player (s)?
TDI: Living in Toronto, I grew up a Leafs’ fan. Even though the team didn’t achieve much success during my formative years, I still loved to watch them.
I feel very lucky to have been able to grow up watching guys like Sundin, Tucker, Domi, Kaberle and McCabe every night. As I got older I slowly started to pay attention to the other teams in the league, and after Crosby scored the “Golden Goal” at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, I sort of fell in love with Jonathan Toews and the Blackhawks and started following them closely as well. I know a lot of people have an issue with people that are fans of multiple teams, but to me it just allows me to enjoy watching the NHL even more.
My favourite retired players are Mats Sundin, Nicklas Lidstrom and Joe Sakic. My favourite current players are Jonathan Toews, Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane.
PH: How did you get into playing hockey video games?
TDI: The first hockey video game I ever played was NHL ’98 on Nintendo 64. I’d spend a lot of time playing that game with my cousins after school and really ignited my passion for gaming.
After I had started playing competitive minor hockey, I thought it would be fun to put my teammates and myself in the game (NHL 06 at the time) as the 31st NHL team, which I called the Las Vegas Gamblers. I guess you could say I kind of predicted the NHL’s expansion into Las Vegas 11 years later...
PH: What inspired you to start your own YouTube channel and show yourself playing EA Sports' NHL series
TDI: The first time I watched a NHL gaming video on YouTube was back in 2012. There were a bunch of YouTubers out there that were just starting out that eventually became my inspiration for starting my own channel.
Guys like Nasher, Tactix, and DontBeSaad were the first ones I remember watching. I was, and still am, a big fan of their content, and watching their videos always made me think of other videos ideas.
After realizing how easy it is to start a YouTube channel, I decided to start recording my own videos and they sort of caught on. It’s crazy to think that I’ve actually been able to collaborate with the guys I was watching back then and we’ve become good friends since then.
PH: You are obviously not the only one that has a channel based on playing hockey video games. Why do you think it is starting to become popular?
TDI: Video gaming in general has sort of taken over the world in a sense.
It was always popular, but it never had the positive perception that it does now. When I was growing up, people generally saw video gaming as a mindless hobby.
It took a bit of time, but now people’s perceptions of video gaming are starting to shift as they realize how engaging, skillful and social it has become. With all the broadcasting platforms that have popped up, allowing people to share their experiences and interact with each other, video gamers can now not only enjoy their gaming experiences, but are also able to create content, build audiences and earn a living doing what they love.
With respect to hockey video games, the community is extremely small but very passionate. I’m always amazed to see the kind of content this tiny community is able to create and with support of the NHL, its players and sponsors, it’s a definite possibility that we could be seeing a professional esports hockey league in the near future.
PH: What else do you look to provide viewers with your channel? How do you go about accomplishing
TDI: The reason I built my channel and create content is to inspire the people that watch me to be creative themselves. Over the years I’ve tried so many different things and I like to think that people subscribe to my channel because they get to watch things that they’ve never seen before.
The problem that I’ve run into with that is always having to come up with new ideas for content and decide what to do next. The important thing for me at the end of the day is to just create what I want to and share it with the people that want to watch it.
Every piece of content that I’ve published has been something that I enjoyed making and I’m really proud of that.
PH: What do you see yourself doing in the future when it comes to playing hockey video games and being involved with hockey in general
TDI: I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing hockey or hockey video games for the rest of my life. My dream as a kid was to become an NHL player, but since I chose a different path and discovered a new passion for video gaming and content creation, my new dream is to create and run the esports side of the NHL.
I truly believe there is an opportunity to create a legitimate hockey esport with the league’s support and I’ve started doing everything I can to help make that happen.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.