Andrew (@TheNasher61) Telfer's YouTube success made him ideal choice to participate in NHL's inaugural gaming event broadcast
It's the same old story you've heard a thousand times before. Kid plays video games. Kid gets yelled at by his parents for spending too much time gaming. Kid starts a YouTube channel where he uploads video game play. Kid gets nearly 200,000 subscribers. Kid gets called by major sports league to broadcast its first world-gaming championship.
Andrew Telfer isn't a kid anymore, but he will be in Las Vegas next week to serve as a game analyst for the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship, which will be broadcast on NBCSN on Tuesday, June 19.
“My parents used to always get mad at me for being in the basement and yelling at my video games and playing too much, and now the NHL is paying me to travel the world and yell at video games,” Telfer said. “It's a very weird experience, obviously super-exciting. And my parents are a bit more supportive now.”
Telfer started his YouTube channel, @TheNasher61, when he was a high school student in Hilliard. His parents got him skating and playing hockey from a young age, and as a teenager, despite a schedule filled with practices and games, it still wasn't enough hockey. “I couldn't keep playing at night, so I would play [EA Sports NHL on Xbox],” Telfer said.
“I was watching a lot of Call of Duty [on YouTube], but there were only two or three people making NHL game videos. I thought I was pretty good, [and] I was playing all the time, so I figured if I was going to put all this energy and time into it, I'd start putting it on YouTube,” Telfer said.
While he stopped playing competitive hockey in college (in part due to two hip replacement surgeries), Telfer continued to play recreationally in addition to his gaming. He started using a GoPro camera while playing, and added those videos to his channel. As his content expanded, so did his reach. At one point, @TheNasher61 was adding 500 subscribers daily.
Telfer's growing online presence led to a relationship with EA Sports, for which he tests new releases and does other cross-promotion. It was through EA that the NHL contacted him to help with its initial foray into the world of gaming.
“At first I was just going to be an ambassador, tweeting out stuff and sharing information. But eventually they decided they needed to add someone to the broadcast to help explain what was happening in the game. They had people who knew hockey but didn't have someone who knew the ins and outs of the [video] game,” Telfer said.
Telfer has worked the three regional finals, held in Stockholm, Toronto and Stamford, Connecticut.
“I had absolutely no idea what I was doing,” Telfer said with a laugh. “All these people had been broadcasting hockey for five or 10 years, and then you had this random YouTuber.”
He caught on quickly, though, thanks to the support from the rest of the broadcast team and his experience on camera, which includes some live streaming of his game play on Twitch.
For the finals, Telfer said the broadcast will focus on player stories in addition to game play.
“It's been great to meet these guys from around the world. They've all been so kind,” Telfer said. “We're all in the same room, and it's great to see their reactions and emotions.”