From Fandom to Global Sports Community: HFTV Sports’ Part in the Fan-Driven Revolution

The Canadiens, lovingly known as the Habs, represent one of Quebec’s most adored sports organizations. In Montreal particularly, this hockey team stands as the sole major franchise among the NBA, MLB, and NHL that calls Quebec’s largest city home. “Habs,” boast a storied legacy within the NHL, having won an unparalleled number of Stanley Cup championships. Their rich history and passionate fanbase have solidified their status not only as a hockey team but as a cultural symbol deeply ingrained in Quebecois identity. From legendary players like Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau to modern-day stars, the Canadiens’ impact extends far beyond the confines of the hockey rink, resonating profoundly with generations of devoted fans in Quebec and across Canada.

Since 2021, a dedicated cohort of Habs enthusiasts has established one of the most influential fan-generated social media platforms in Canadian sports: Habs Fan TV, now rebranded as HFTV Sports. Despite the rebrand, their former moniker remains widely used in sports circles. Their content is exclusively showcased on social media platforms, primarily Instagram and TikTok. Their Instagram account boasts over 44 thousand followers, while their TikTok presence impressively reaches 122 thousand followers. Essentially, their videos are viewed by millions globally, extending beyond North America. According to their LinkedIn account, HFTV describes itself as a “fan reaction and sports commentary media company focusing on the Montreal Canadiens.” They claim to have amassed over 27 million views, 1.3 million likes, and 32 thousand followers across all channels. While these figures may not be entirely accurate, they undeniably point to a burgeoning and devoted community.

Their content spans various topics, including game reviews, player analyses, team updates, and fan-generated discussions about the Montreal Canadiens. Engaging with their audience, the hosts and contributors share their perspectives on the team’s performance, potential trades, upcoming draft picks, and even on-ice altercations. Through lively interactions, passionate supporters contribute their thoughts on everything related to Les Canadiens.

Certain moments, often involving specific players, tend to go viral. For instance, a notable example is Kirby Dach, for whom fans created a distinct chant and a playful dance: “Avec numéro 77, number 77, c’est Kir-by Daaaach!!” This chant typically surfaces when Dach stands out as the game’s MVP or delivers a spectacular performance.

Among these enthusiasts, Danick stands out as a fervent Francophone fan whose energy mirrors that of ultras commonly seen in the soccer realm. He orchestrates chants, drawing in numerous Habs fans to celebrate victories and the team in general. These events generate considerable excitement within the local community. Danick is presumed to be the initiator of the Kirby Dach gig, often accompanied by his humorous dance moves while chanting. This catchphrase rapidly gained traction, extending to other players. Even traditional media outlets started sharing videos from their reels during sports news segments, broadening their reach beyond digital platforms.

The faces behind HFTV Sports are two unwavering supporters: Alex Rougas and Cédrik Séguin. Their innovative concept involves strolling around the Canadiens’ home turf, the Bell Centre, wielding a mini hockey stick equipped with a microphone for impromptu interviews. These interviews differ significantly from traditional TV queries, fostering an environment where fans freely express themselves without censorship. Their videos are recorded in both English and French, accompanied by subtitles. This multilingual diversity coupled with uncensored interviews unites the community and fortifies the bonds among fans.

In the previous season, fans had high hopes of drafting Connor Bedard, leading them to jest at games against the Chicago Blackhawks, where Bedard plays, by displaying witty messages on cardboard signs.

Their impact has even reached professional athletes like Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks. During a series of away games in California, Rougas and Séguin traveled across the continent to attend. While there, they secured a brief interview with Zegras, who acknowledged them and expressed admiration for their work, acknowledging authenticity. This recognition marked a pinnacle for their channel. Furthermore, their presence and acquisition of a media pass at the NHL draft in Nashville, Tennessee, alongside established sports publications, is another testament to their rising influence.

During home games, not only do locals fill the stands, but supporters of visiting teams, such as the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, or Calgary Flames, also attend. HFTV engages with these visiting fans, occasionally engaging in playful banter without hostility. They seek their opinions and encourage honest expression, irrespective of their allegiance. Ultimately, they provide a platform for all hockey fans across North America to voice their thoughts—an initiative that might inspire others to emulate in their local communities. This movement underscores the belief that every fan’s opinion matters in the realm of sports.

Yet, amidst this meteoric rise and recognition, the question lingers: can they maintain this momentum? Their success hinges not just on their content but on their ability to sustain a welcoming space for diverse perspectives. Their platform has the potential to inspire a wave of similar initiatives, empowering fans everywhere to believe in the significance of their opinions, and fostering a culture where every voice matters in the vast tapestry of sports. As they continue to navigate the dynamic landscape of digital media and sports entertainment, their journey remains an inspiring testament to the power of genuine passion, community, and the belief that a shared love for sports can transcend boundaries, languages, and rivalries, uniting fans under one virtual roof. The legacy they are crafting might just pave the way for a new era where fan engagement becomes an integral part of the sports experience. This is giving rise to a more inclusive and participatory sports culture across the globe.


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