The World’s Favourite New Hockey Fan: How the Hockey World Fell in Love with Tony X (‎@soIoucity)

Yes, I am guilty of day dreaming about becoming famous overnight. I’m not sure how or what I would do to become famous, but I’ve definitely thought about it. If it does happen, it would happen on Twitter. Twitter is a real time public forum and one of the best places for viral stories to become well… viral. Unfortunately, most of my Twitter behaviour is relegated to retweets of my favourite media outlets and publications. Someone like me… will probably not be famous overnight through a random string of retweets.

On April 25th, one of the greatest moments in live sports and Twitter took place. An individual by the name of Tony Z (Twitter: @soIoucity) decided to watch hockey for the first time in his life. Before then, he was just a normal, honest sports enthusiast who had a few funny tweets about the MLB, NBA and NFL. I’ve used Crowdbabble populate his past tweets, nothing out of the ordinary.

Twitter Tony X Past Tweets

For some reason, Tony decided to watch hockey. His life was about to change forever. Tony has never watched hockey or let alone understands the sport. Even as a Canadian who doesn’t regularly watch hockey, I at least know enough to carry a conversation. People who are new to something or commonly called “noobs” are often ridiculed on the Internet. If you think I am joking, just visit Reddit or YouTube. But not with Tony.

Let’s start with Tony’s first tweet regarding the hockey name. For context, it was a St. Louis’ Blues playoff game against Chicago.

He seemed to have annotated his friend’s retweet. I don’t get the context but it proved popular off the bat. Before this tweet, he was getting very little engagement (like most Twitter users). This particular tweet received about 80 engagement points, which is a total of retweets and replies.

Then it REALLY took off, Tony tweets about his limited experience with watching hockey. What he wrote was Twitter gold and it went viral!

This tweet even got me laughing.

Tony fell in love with hockey and we fell in love with Tony’s tweets. His tweets were honest and he clearly was enamoured by the sport. So much so, one of his most famous tweets claimed there was a conspiracy against African-Americans.

People loved him! Not only was he honest, his tweets were hilarious. Tony’s comments on hockey players and rules took Twitter by storm that night. My personal favourite was when he asked Twitter what a PowerPlay was and wondered what happened to the goalie when he left to add another man on the offensive line. Literally made my night.

I wasn’t the only one who was loving his tweets. Nearly every hockey fan watching stumbled on his feed.





I don’t think I ever recalled or experienced a moment where a total neophyte to anything was embraced by the Internet. Tony was a Twitter sensation.

His story reached the St. Louis Blues which resulted in a free jersey and front row seats. Not bat at all.

So what does the analytics say? I managed to add Tony’s twitter a few days after April 25th and I got some of his analytics . Here is what happened to him after his story made the front page after a few days.

Tony’s Follower Growth? One Word… SKYROCKETED!

I wasn’t able to capture the Twitter follower count before April 25th but it was much less than 60 000. From the moment I started to capture the data through Crowdbabble, his virality already propelled him to over 63 000 followers. From April 28th however, I was able to track his follower growth.

Since April 28th, Tony’s Twitter follower has grown by 44.8% to 93 779 followers. Reebok Hockey and several prominent hockey players suddenly started following Tony X on Twitter… yes the man who didn’t know anything about hockey has top influencers following him.


His follower growth wasn’t limited to the United States and Canada. Four percent of his new follower base is from the Sweden. This doesn’t surprise me since the Swedes are quite passionate hockey fans. If you need proof, look at the Detroit Red Wings, they are half Swedish.

Tony’s “One-timer” Engagement

I still love his tweets. He still gets engagement but are his tweets still as engaging? Yes and no. It depends how you look at it. Many Internet viral hits are a one off and many don’t make it back to their peak stardom. Let’s investigate further if this is the case.


His past engagement was essentially non-existent. Before his stardom, he was getting only a few engagement points with an occasional retweet and like. After April 25th and all the way up to today, his engagement rate peaked to nearly 600% higher than it use to be. In addition, most of the engagement Tony received on April 25th were likes while he received almost 75 000 retweets that day. He peaked to nearly 200 000 retweets and likes. That’s impressive.

Unfortunately, his monumental engagement hat trick was short lived. He has never replicated the same engagement despite his continual follower growth day after day. There is a silver lining to this story. The silver lining however is that his overall engagement is up and has not curtailed down to a lower engagement score which Tony had before.


The image above shows the residual effect of his initial virality. As you can see it tapers off but still registers on the graph. While he will likely never reach the same engagement rate as he did before, he went from an average Twitter user to an influencer in a matter of 24 hours. His influence is still felt on Twitter and people continue to take notice. His Tweets continue to get a lot of engagement, more than 99% of Twitter users probably experience in a lifetime.

Whatever happens to Tony, I’m sure he will be remembered for his genuine comments on Twitter about a sport he knew nothing about. For someone who only watched baseball, basketball and football, to fall in love with a sport that quickly says a lot about why people watch hockey. It’s an intense, skill driven sport that’s a lot of fun to watch. Mind you I am Canadian so I have a bias.

Hockey Gif Intense

Tony’s Twitter analytics show that even after a famous day, you can still make your voice heard to thousands of people. What I think keeps Tony famous even today is that he is just being himself. He isn’t trying to be a famous person. I think this tweet sumes up everything about what happened to Tony and how he see’s his situation.


We salute you Tony!

Salute Hockey