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  • Writer's pictureOmri Yaniv

Ice Hockey Trends on YouTube

By ICX Media - June 07, 2019

Top Ice Hockey Trends on YouTube

As we head into the closing stretch of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, let's take a look at what's trending overall in "Ice Hockey" on YouTube.

When we look at the topics that are trending on YouTube, we get an insight into what specific content types people are engaging with and how trends resonating with fans.

Measuring this data on YouTube gives us a great opportunity to learn more about audiences and what they're viewing and engaging with. Applying this information to your business can help identify the relevant trends for your audience and help you create with confidence.

We uncovered the top 20 trends in "Ice Hockey" since the beginning of this year’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (4/10/2019). Unsurprisingly, these trends highlight the teams in the playoffs but there are also insights into some of the distribution methods that show us where and how people like to consume hockey playoff content. We look at each of these trends in comparison to how they're performing on YouTube during the playoffs vs the regular season.

General hockey trends

In general, relevant hockey terms appeared most frequently with "Stanley Cup" and "NHL Playoffs” at the top of the list and "World Para Ice Hockey" also hitting the list. "Stanley Cup" and "NHL Playoffs” are both rising terms as they were trending during the regular season and continue to grow in popularity now during the playoffs. The appearance of "World Para Ice Hockey," however, is new to the top trends list and coincides with the WPA Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic this past April. NBC gave the sport increased coverage during the NHL Playoffs which resulted in more interest for hockey fans, as seen in this emerging trend.


Teams appeared on this list primarily based on their success in the playoffs. For the most part, the further the team advanced, the more content appeared around the team. This is with one notable exception. The Columbus Blue Jackets had the most videos appear in this topic and drove strong engagement with the audience. This is likely a result of their surprising success as the lowest seed in the playoffs. Other surprising playoff performances from Carolina and New York also brought them to the top 20 list. The Boston Bruins were the fastest growing trend of the teams showing how much interest in the team grew with their success in the playoffs. The Stanley Cup Finals are currently being played by the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues but surprisingly, the Blues sit in the middle of the park in terms of the number of videos shared. In fact, if the playoffs were determined simply by their fans' engagement on YouTube, we'd be watching Columbus and the San Jose Sharks fight it out.


Professionally hockey is filled with a lot of well known and dynamic players. These personalities ranging from Sidney Crosby to Alexander Ovechkin are typically top trends on YouTube. But in a playoff dominated with upsets that left both of these superstars knocked out of the bracket, only one player appeared as a top 20 trend.

That honor goes to the controversial Boston Bruin, Brad Marchand. Content around Marchand had high comment counts but below-average likes, which begins to hint at the general opinions from fans. Hockey fans love to hate Marchand, who is known for big hits and sometimes unsportsmanlike play. The high comment counts show that people have lots to say about videos featuring him and the low like counts show that the reception isn’t too positive. By looking at the kinds of videos shared about Marchand, you can see that people are more interested in his antics, hits, and controversial plays than the times he scores goals. This begs the question, if you're engaging a hockey-loving audience, might you have more success with “lowlights” than “highlights”?

Content distribution

When it comes to the question of how to engage this audience, a couple of trending terms appear to be relevant to those decisions. The first is “NBC Sports,” which was the primary channel for the NHL Playoffs. The network was able to earn large amounts of fan attention on social media outside of their owned distribution. Demand for content can also be seen in another trending distribution-related keyword: "Snapchat Watch.” Hockey fans are engaging with Snapchat Watch content on YouTube. The NHL formed a partnership with Snapchat to share highlights on the social network and this content is resonating with fans and even being reshared to other channels.

With these insights into the top Ice Hockey trends, you can begin to learn more about the hockey audience. When these same insights are applied to the audiences and content specific to your business, you can begin to create more targeted what that captures the popular interests of the crowd.

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