NHL fans are angry and disheartened due to the looming threat of a lockout on Sept. 15.
Janne Makkonen, a 21-year-old Finnish video editor, wasn't going to take it anymore and turned his "passion" for hockey "into art." The result? His "NHL -- 'Together We Can' #nolockout" video went on a YouTube power play over Labor Day weekend, netting more than 75,000 views in its first 72 hours.
The video is 8 minutes, 31 seconds long and includes action footage, cheering fans, a montage of tweets and the song "Revolution" from Sandman. In the realm of YouTube trending videos, it's similar in length to the "Godfather" trilogy in Hollywood parlance or "Band of Brothers" in relation to other TV miniseries. For players and fans, however, it's been well worth the 511-second investment and has delivered all the impact of a Brandon Prust right cross.
"Seeing the fans desperate for hockey was a huge motivator. It's a time when it doesn't really matter what team you support. We're all united for one cause and that's to see hockey," Makkonen (@JanneMakkonen1 on Twitter) told Playbook via email Monday from Espoo, Finland. "I tried to make people forget rivalries and hatred and instead [focus] on the beauty of the game."
@majesticmanna the face of the little kid when Bourque lifts the cup is one of the best moments caught on film ever
— Logan Couture (@Logancouture) September 2, 2012
And it wasn't just fans who felt the emotion coming from Makkonen's video. Among the players who retweeted its link were Logan Couture of the Sharks (above), Milan Lucic of the Bruins ("cool video"), Paul Bissonnette of the Coyotes, Braden Holtby of the Capitals ("must watch"), Steve Ott newly of the Buffalo Sabres ("What a great game we have, #players #fans") and Prust of the Canadiens ("very cool vid!"). It was also posted on the NHLPA's official Twitter account, which called it a "must watch fan video” and added the hashtags #theplayers #thefans #united!
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) September 3, 2012
"The reaction from the players and the NHLPA feels surreal. I'm really happy if I've been able to remind people what hockey's true values are," Makkonen wrote. "I like to think that fans can make a difference, even if not directly to the negotiations. ... We shouldn't allow someone who might seem stronger in our society push us over."
The link was also retweeted by several hockey bloggers and websites, including The Fourth Period. The video’s sentiment was shared by fans, who are simply hungry for hockey:
— Jon Lustig (@jonlustig) September 3, 2012
If this video doesn't give you the chills or get you fired up then you're probably ok with the NHL having a lockout. m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2AB5G…
— Adam Phillips (@Aphil27) September 3, 2012
Makkonen lived outside Chicago in Lisle, Ill., for two years as a youngster and played hockey has a boy. He now plays floorball and soccer. "Floorball is a bit similar to hockey except you don't wear skates or pads. ... I'd love to still play hockey, but having wrists that go all the way to my armpits ... I should probably just focus on editing hockey." A Blackhawks and longtime Tony Amonte fan, Makkonen admits he's "a sucker for playmakers" and touts Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings and Henrik Sedin of the Canucks among his current favorites in the NHL.
So what are his plans during the likely lockout -- besides posting more hockey videos on his YouTube channel? "I'd obviously be really disappointed if there was a lockout. European hockey will be medicine to cure the pain but it won't take it entirely away," he wrote. "I really hope we will see NHL hockey this season."
He's definitely not alone.