The mystery creator of the All Hockey Hair Team video hopes the 2016 edition, posted on YouTube late Saturday and likely already making its viral rounds on social media, meets its legions of fans’ expectations.
But he refused to try too hard.
“I meant this to look more like the Minnesota version of, ‘I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl,’” he said, citing the television sitcom Newhart during a rare interview last week. “It should be like taking a drink out of the backyard hose.”
The video first showed up on YouTube in 2011 and, with each successive year, has become a wildly popular, hilarious coda to the country’s most renowned high school tournament. It ranks and reviews the top-10 best flops, mops, mullets, salad and flow seen during player introductions.
More than 2.5 million viewers watched the 2015 video, which featured endorsements from Minnesota-bred NHL standouts T.J. Oshie and Blake Wheeler. It gets huge traffic from social media, including national media outlets promoting the latest installment.
Even players can’t wait.
“It adds fun to the tournament; It’s something you look forward to,” said Wyatt Aamodt, senior at Hermantown, known as Hairmantown in the video thanks to years of sick flow sported by Hawks’ players.
But the man behind it all keeps his name out of the limelight. Sporting shoulder-length dark hair that flowed under his stocking cap, he spoke with the Star Tribune over breakfast last week under the condition of anonymity, citing business reasons.
“Hockey and hockey hair is sort of our Minnesota super powers,” he said. “They make us different. When you have six months of winter you might as well have something awesome to do.”
Part of the video’s charm is its cable-access grade production value. He films the television introductions from his East Metro basement. Selecting the All Hockey Hair Team is a family affair. His wife takes notes. His son works the remote control and his daughter adds her feedback.
He narrates with a dry delivery, breaking down and offering praise for each player. Good-natured ribbing has included, “That mustache is not thick enough to block shots yet,” and “If that’s a salad, it’s a chop because a man just ordered it.”
He has tried spreading the love to girls’ hockey, but he was left with little material.
“Sport wrap,” he repeated four times in the 2014 video. “Braid. Sport wrap. Sport wrap.”
He played high school football but not hockey at Edina, known in the videos as “the small town on the west side with a dream.”
Warrior Hockey contacted him in 2015 to sponsor the video. The hockey equipment manufacturer gave him $15,000 for passing the 100,000 views mark.
The money went to the Hendrickson Foundation, which promotes sled hockey, special hockey and programs for military veterans. Other organizations supporting the foundation are DWB Memorial Foundation, Fireside Pizza, Fallon advertising, Milk Specialties Global, the Minnesota Wild, Microsoft and Commonvault.
They help make the All Hockey Hair Team creator’s “flow-anthropy” mission possible.
“It’s a sideshow, I know that,” he said. “It’s another thing for kids to get excited about. It’s great to be a small part of a magnificent event.
“It’s been a good run. I didn’t think it would get this big.”