You might’ve seen The Hockey Guys on social media — rollerblading through a mall, traveling to different cities or trying out the latest TikTok trend.
The former collegiate hockey players are taking the internet by storm, recently hitting 1.4 million TikTok followers.
The group, originally 10 in number, met after joining the same hockey team at the University of Wisconsin—Superior years ago.
When some of the players graduated and went on to play professional hockey, the group became five.
Austin Friesen, Will Blake, Lawson McDonald, Martan Yelle and Levi Cudmore are The Hockey Guys.
The Hockey Guys’ CEO Lawson McDonald, 25, and content producer Martan Yelle, 24, both located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, spoke with Fox News Digital about how their friendship has turned into a full-blown business. (SEE THE VIDEO at the top of this article.)
McDonald said that every one of them came to college to play hockey — and they credit their friendships to the beloved sport.
He said the group is one he feels “really related to,” and it “happens to be a lot of the guys that I became super close friends with.”
Although McDonald knew a few players before joining, Yelle said he came to the team without knowing anyone.
Calling the guys on the team “solid, great people,” he said “it was easy to make friends right away.”
With their busy hockey schedules, the creators said balancing school and hockey was challenging at times — and they leaned on each other for support.
When the COVID pandemic hit in March 2020, Yelle said he didn’t feel too isolated as he was living with nine other teammates at the time.
“It still felt like it had some normalcy to it,” he said.
But after McDonald started making funny TikTok videos of the group on his personal account, he noticed that people were taking a liking to them.
“We just messed around and had fun,” he said.
“That video did really well, and people liked to see [the friends] in my videos … [We were] even having kind of a fan base off my account.”
McDonald decided to create a separate TikTok page — naming it “The Hockey Guys.”
From there it snowballed, McDonald said.
The Hockey Guys have so far amassed 1.4 million followers on the platform.
With degrees in exercise physiology and transportation logistics, respectively, McDonald and Yelle had to convince some of the others that this content creation would be a good use of their time.
But after months of growing a following and gaining deals and partnerships — one of those with the NHL — McDonald said his parents finally realized their efforts had the potential to become an actual business.
“We were like, ‘We’re going to be together still, and this is fun for us, so [we] might as well continue to do it.’”
Yelle said the organic nature of the account is what brings viewers in — and keeps them coming back for more.
“It’s just us showcasing our friendships, everyday life as not only hockey players, but just friends going through this part of our lives together,” he said.
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