Email Interview with Leafs' Content Creator Michael Westlake
By Patrick Hoffman
There are a lot of hockey YouTube creators out of their for both specific teams and the sport in general.
Today, I am proud to present email interview I conducted with Michael Westlake, aka @Cplmatthews. Westlake creates content on the Toronto Maple Leafs for various social media outlets including Twitter and YouTube.
Westlake was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he became a hockey/Leafs' fan, how he got into creating various content on the Leafs, and much more
Here it is!
PH: How did you get into hockey?
MW: I got into hockey when I was around 6-years-old. Following the footsteps of my dad who was a huge Leafs fan, it didn’t take long for me to hop on the bench with him. I’ve played hockey my whole life (house league, beer league and college).
PH: Who is your favorite team and player? Why?
MW: My favourite team is the Toronto Maple Leafs. I was born in the Toronto area so it was a pretty easy choice.
It was also easy to fall in love with players like Sundin, Tucker, Domi, Kaberle & hating Alfredsson. Oh, and I love the color blue.
A big moment in my life was going to the Toronto-Calgary game as a kid where Sundin got his 1000th point scoring his hat trick goal in overtime. I’ll never forget it.
PH: At what point did you realize that you wanted to make hockey content?
MW: I’ve always wanted to make content but lacked the tools/skills to attempt them until the Leafs made the playoffs back in 2013. It was the shortened season from the lockout & I felt inspired to make a hype video.
This video got pretty popular online and “fuelled the fire” to make more & more content.
PH: Tell us about your CplMatthews Twitter account.
MW: Cpl Matthews.. it’s a weird & funny story. I didn’t own the account originally.
I remember browsing twitter and seeing a few of his tweets from time to time. In the back of my mind I was thinking .. damn, he has a massive following of leafs fans - I'd kill to be able to share my content with that many fans.
Around Christmas of 2018 I noticed through his tweets that he was a little tired of keeping up with the notes. I figured I’d give it a shot by giving him a DM asking for the account. After some conversation he gave it to me with the plan of turning it into a hockey/leafs content account to showcase my creative efforts! (I don’t have the writing skills like he did to make good notes)
I’m also in the middle of creating a website for my followers to find all of my content in one place - also as a “portfolio” of my work.
PH: What are you trying to accomplish with your Tweets and other content that you produce?
MW: Ever since I started watching hockey, I knew I wanted to get into the hockey industry (obviously back then to be in the pros).
The Leafs is my dream, but I definitely wouldn’t turn down a job offer at Bardown, Barstool, TSN or other sports media companies. I want to establish myself as a Leafs/hockey content creator where I focus on the entertainment side of sports - my favourite side, rather than the contract talks/opinion pieces/etc.
PH: We see that you applied to be Budweiser Canada's Chief Hockey Officer. What were your first thoughts when you saw that this kind of position had been created? MW: When Budweiser and Paul Bissonnette, aka Biznasty, posted about the C.H.O. role, I literally screamed. At first I thought it was a joke, but after reading it a bit I realized just how serious this opportunity was.
I quickly called my friends about it, whipped out a piece of paper and started writing down any idea I could think of.
PH: Should you find a way to get this position, what are some of things you will be looking to do?
MW: If I somehow win this competition, I would go part-time in school (currently full-time) and focus the majority of my time on hockey. Outside of the games I would be able to spend a ton more time on creating content for Cpl.
I would also take advantage of this opportunity to meet with people in the industry to educate myself on how it works.
PH: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
MW: All I would say is give Flintor a follow on Twitter. He’s my favourite Leafs content creator.
Also the Leafs will win the cup this year.
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.