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By Craig Peterson, 02/02/20, 10:00AM EST


One Big Number That Will Floor The Hockey World

The glass-pounding, bleacher-coaching helicopter dads, the tomahawking, baseball-swinging hotheads who let their tempers get the best of them on the ice and screw-loose families that drive hundreds of miles for practice or ship their 13-year-olds off to boarding school has allowed the sports world to paint a broad stroke across all of hockey. While the parents can be crazy, coaches intense and players souped up on testosterone, we make up for it tenfold in loyalty, commitment and appreciation when it comes to this sport. I’ve got just the number to prove it.

This week, STATE CHAMPS! Network reported a total of 1,423,840 total views to the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches’ Association (MHSHCA) on all digital hockey content produced through January 22nd during the 2019-20 season. 

1.4 MILLION views! The game highlights, the previews, the interviews, talking points, projections and discussions with Jon Kidd and Sean Baligian at the forefront. This duo — backed by a booming organization in STATE CHAMPS! — has done an amazing job identifying a need and satisfying the hunger of a community starving for great content.

I think we can all agree that, as much as we love this sport, there is a bit of a “little brother” mentality for those of us around the game. It starts at the very top with hockey’s highest level. NHL highlights are never at the top of the hour on SportsCenter. Discussion about what LeBron James had for lunch will consume 60 minutes on ESPN while mention of the Stanley Cup champs might scroll across the bottom ticker. NCAA National Championships on ESPN2. The Great Lakes Invitational getting bumped to Fox Sports Detroit PLUS. How many people have had to upgrade their TV packages just to get NBCSN or NHL Network because its not included in the standard programming? The snubs and bumps in favor of other sports are never ending.

Look, I get it. It’s basic supply and demand. What it’s done, though, is created a hockey community that is deprived of good, quality content relevant to us. The rise of the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast is a prime example of filling the void on a larger scale, and doing it at the national level. The MI-HS Hockey world is no exception, and for years, we were in high demand of places to hear people talk about our players and an outlet to discuss our teams at the state level with nowhere to go. Insert STATE CHAMPS!

The content on social media and production value is second to none. The coverage of our game has prominently put high school hockey in the spotlight, really for the first time ever. Guys like Kidd and Baligian are exactly what we needed to help grow our game in a way we didn’t even know we were missing. Local news sources like the Livingston Daily and Mining Gazette, among others around Michigan do a fantastic job in their respective pockets of the state covering teams relevant to their geographic areas. What SC! has done though, is taken media of our sport to the next level. All-encompassing coverage of the entire state from corner to corner, all in one place with great “talking heads” who understand the high school hockey space and have the purest of intentions with no underlying agenda. We want to grow our game and continue to improve it, constantly making MI-HS the place to be in youth hockey. STATE CHAMPS! has helped us do just that. 

Last year, similar content by SC! generated just north of 550,000 views over the course of the entire 2018-19 season. That alone is impressive when taking into account the audience and spectrum of which we’re dealing with. The fact that actual numbers this year are roughly three times higher and eclipsing the one million mark is a credit to the amazingly hard work of the people at STATE CHAMPS! and the insatiable appetite, passion and appreciation that you all have for MI-HS hockey. Current projections could surpass 3 million views for the entire season, in just the third year that the organization has provided such in-depth coverage of hockey.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no better time to play high school hockey than right now! 

Top players? Yep, six athletes currently tendered with NAHL teams and another that was in the USHL earlier this year.

Great coaches? Uh huh, smart minds from Calumet to Hartland, Saginaw Heritage to GRCC, Alpena to Big Rapids and tons of places in between.

Awesome fans? Well, I’ll let your fellow classmates hash out who’s got the best student sections, I just know they pack the rinks and make it loud.

Great coverage? Here it is! One million sets of eyes on YOU! Might not be a bad place to be if you wanna get your name out there.

...And we’re just, getting, started!

The best thing I saw this week was the 1.4 million times you all needed to satisfy your itch for MI-HS hockey. Keep watching, keep sharing and keep growing this game because YOU are the ones making a difference here. You know where to find me on Twitter and DMs are open, I’m always down to talk HS hockey so let’s connect!