Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Matthew Henriques: I first studied Communications at Carleton University, and transferred to York University the year after. I haven’t looked back. I’ve built a professional network in the media industry in person and on Twitter, while building my YouTube channel to over 500 subscribers. My focus is on advanced statistics in hockey, while using terms such as shot attempts instead of exclusionary terms like Corsi and Fenwick.
Taylor: What made you want to get into media?
Matthew: I’ve wanted to be a hockey analyst since I was 13 years old (I realized that I couldn’t make it to the NHL by then). As I’ve immersed myself into hockey podcasts throughout my university career, I’ve learned how I want to present myself. Just like Steve Dangle and Phillip DeFranco, jump cuts are perfect for transitions and making my videos smooth. My goal is to provide insightful statistical analysis to hockey fans, similar to Dimitri Filipovic and Andrew Berkshire, but in video form!
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Taylor: You’ve been working really hard growing your YouTube channel, what made you start it and how have you been able to build your audience?
Matthew: I started my blog Canadia Hockey in my first year, which I continued with in my second year at York. With my passion for broadcasting, I’ve been working on my YouTube channel since the spring of 2015, which focuses on an advanced statistics analysis. I’ve built my YouTube channel to over 500 subscribers while balancing my studies. I know that I’m just starting with the growth of my YouTube channel, but since my second year, I’ve focused on networking to really get my name out. Adam Wylde of Kiss 92.5 gave a shoutout to the video on the Steve Dangle Podcast, while Chris Johnston retweeted my Leafs’ season preview in October. I know that focusing on creating connections is important, and including multiple voices is really important for good content, which is why I had podcast-form NHL expansion preview videos of each team in June with 22 (SB Nation and Nation Network) writers from their respective hockey markets. So with these interactions, I’ve built up a steady following on Twitter and YouTube and creating content that is different from popular beliefs.
Taylor: What type of content do you get the most reaction from your viewers on?
Matthew: The “Nashville Predators Chants/Taunts at Bridgestone Arena” video was my semi-viral video with just over 55,000 views. I think that virality subjective, but I also believe good content prompts success. For hockey specifically, the most intriguing stories will get the most success. I have just three videos with over 5000 views, and 13 videos with at least 1000 views. I’ve recognized that being the first to a popular topic will get a lot of views, but my focus is to have good content that educates fans. That’s how I like to differentiate myself from current hockey personalities. I research players before saying one is better than the other. For example, with the Matt Duchene trade two weeks ago, I researched whether the popular ideology that Turris is better than Duchene is actually true. That video received over 2000 views, so knowing that a video about analytics in hockey could get so many views means a lot to me, especially when I look at the success of a new startup like The Athletic, which focuses on good analysis.
Taylor: Who are some of the people in the media who you look up to or influence you?
Matthew: I look at a lot of hockey analysts who use analytics to back up their analysis. Bob McKenzie and Elliotte Friedman are very smart; they have so many connections and don’t let their biases back their analysis when on their panel. I have to owe a lot of my research into hockey analytics thanks to Steve Dangle and his podcast. He mentioned the Vox Leafs fan site Pension Plan Puppets and the Marek vs Wyshynski podcast, and it all branched out from there. Jeff Marek kept on beating the drum of listening to Dimitri Filipovic’s podcast, the Hockey PDOcast, and I really found my way into advanced statistics in hockey ever since.
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Taylor: Finally, what advice do you have for people who are looking to start creating their own online content?
Matthew: It’s weird that I’m asked to give advice, so here’s what my thinking. Create every opportunity you can. Create content. Find your niche, whether it’s sports, fashion, fitness, or the news. I have a passion for broadcasting in hockey, but I started a blog, then moved on to YouTube. I’m slowly growing my channel, but staying consistent and persistent is incredibly important. Get involved at school. Introduce yourself to people who you look up to, whether it’s in person, on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Taylor Shold is a good start.
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