Sabres center Tage Thompson is wrapping up his breakout season—he's scored 89 points in 72 games while emerging as one of the game's true stars—and yet I am sorry to say that he has totally fucked up his life! I don't say this lightly, but I say it confidently. That is because it has recently come to my attention that Thompson used to spend his time making NHL highlight reels on YouTube. Not only did he practice the world's greatest art form, he was a prodigy!
At various points this season, the hockey internet has stumbled upon a YouTube account delightfully named "@tommydangles97," which Thompson has previously confirmed belongs to him. All of the videos on the account are nine and 10 years old, which means that Thompson was using it when he was 14 or 15 years old. Even at such a young age, Thompson displayed a preternatural understanding of what makes a good hockey highlight compilation. Take, for example, his video titled "Stanley Cup Playoffs '12: Fit To Be King."
This has it all: intense establishing shots in which various hockey men breathe deeply and prepare for the big game, an anthemic pop song that builds slowly, a bunch of quick-cut goals and hits that match up with the drums and horns, dramatic slow-mo highlights, and hockey players yelling at each other. This little dude even went thematic, selecting a song that includes a line about getting the devil off your back to soundtrack a tribute to the Kings defeating the Devils. What vision! What range!
Just try to tell me the beat drop on this one didn't force an instinctual fist-pump out of you:
Perhaps you do not find these videos as impressive as Thompson leading the Sabres back to respectability, but it is folly to think such a thing. True aesthetes like me understand that the best thing about hockey is how well its action translates into earnest highlight compilations soundtracked by dopey pop songs. Yes, Thompson is wildly successful and has achieved his childhood dream of becoming an NHL star, but think of what more all of us what would have gained if he'd dedicated his life to creating more of these YouTube videos. We could be living in a world in which @tommydangles97 just dropped his new heat: A four-minute compilation of Connor McDavid highlights set to "Heathens" by 21 Pilots that is so elegantly constructed it brings anyone who watches it to tears.