Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a meme as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” You may better understand a meme as an image, video or fad that rapidly makes its rounds across the internet, reaching viral status. Such popular memes we’ve all likely seen include grumpy cat, the most interesting man in the world and anything related to Miley Cyrus.
One hockey fan has achieved quite the following recently, creating his own brand of humor based solely on a list of characters from around the Central Hockey League.
On February 10, 2014 twitter users started catching wind of a new handle, known only as @CHL_Memes. It all started with a simple image poking fun at CHL linesmen. Just over a month and nearly 300 tweets later, it has evolved into a daily ritual during which several new images are shared. Nothing is out of bounds, as the account has gained over 600 followers by poking harmless fun at players, coaches, officials and teams. Among the followers are CHL teams, fans, players and even the official CHL twitter account.
“Our league is driven by the fans and seeing active engagement from many different social media accounts that focus on the Central Hockey League is great for the league,” said CHL Director of Operations Bob Hoffman. “Fans live and die, laugh and cry by their teams and the CHL Memes site certainly does provide a few laughs for fans of the CHL,” he added.
It has also sparked a quest by fans to uncover who is behind the whole thing.
“I feel that it (anonymity) adds another element of fun to the page and I enjoy watching some of the followers tweet back and forth attempting to figure out who may be behind it,” said the mastermind who would only identify himself as ‘Skitch’ during a recent interview with Pro Hockey News.
‘Skitch’ was tight-lipped when asked about his personal identity, only sharing that he is a longtime fan and does have a favorite CHL team, but declined to name the team to help him remain anonymous. He did add that the CHL Memes account is a fan of all teams and all players.
According to ‘Skitch,’ the account was created on a whim as a platform to poke fun at league officials before he made the decision to broaden the scope of the account.
“I got the thought while making some of the first ones that maybe I should just make it a ‘communal’ page that is just a relentless, unforgiving, equal opportunity offender, meme-style real time look into the CHL, including the teams and players,” he added.
‘Skitch’ says he keeps an eye on scoreboards, game replays and highlights for what he calls “meme-worthy moments,” but there are other times when a good idea strikes him and sends it out to the world.
“Honestly, I make a lot of them up and to my surprise, they actually stick,” he said while adding that he would never create a meme that would attack an official or player on a personal level.
Whatever an official or player does on the ice though, is fair game and according to ‘Skitch’, there is plenty of material for him to use.
“Needless to say, the CHL is a gold mine of worthy events,” he said.
The memes have sparked a lot of responses, ‘Skitch’ said, including some from players and even a coach. Some of his most memorable responses came from an Allen Americans fan that offered to buy him a case of beer if they knew who he was, along with a few tweets from St. Charles Chill Head Coach and former St. Louis Blues defenseman Jamie Rivers.
“Jamie Rivers has tweeted a few times which is really cool for two reasons. He’s a former NHL player and I’ve taken some knocks at his team but he still follows and likes it,” he said.
Tulsa Oilers netminder Shane Madolora even got in on the action recently, responding to a meme that took aim at his stellar play during the Oilers’ recent hot streak. Madolora re-tweeted the meme and added his own commentary.
“The main reason we play the game is to get @CHL_Memes,” he said before adding that the twitter handle had taken over the Oilers’ bus.
‘Skitch’ said he was humbled when he read Madolora’s praise of the twitter account.
“It made my jaw drop a little, to be honest. I respect each and every player in the league, so to see them respond so well to them and look forward to them really means a lot,” he said before expressing his appreciation for the players.
“Those guys work their tails off for their teams and don’t get paid much…so if my dumb memes can make their lengthy roadies a little more enjoyable or bring some laughter to them, then I’ll keep making them until I run out of ideas.
“I wish I could do more for them,” he added.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
All images courtesy of Twitter user @CHL_Memes