The kids playing for the Southwest Cougars PeeWee 6 Gold team needed a bit of a pick-me-up.
The Calgary minor hockey team’s season started off pretty rough. At a Lethbridge tournament they scored seven total goals with a combined 89 against, said Ashley Cardinal, team manager and mom of one of the players.
It’s her 11-year-old son Kaden Grant’s second year playing hockey. Many of the kids on his team are also brand new to the sport and they’ve been playing on a lower division squad.
After that tournament, Cardinal said the kids were crushed. Her son, who she described as a sensitive kid, gets discouraged easily.
“A lot of the kids were like, ‘oh my God, why do we even play,’ and it was really discouraging,” Cardinal said.
“As a parent, it was super hard to watch.”
She wanted to do something to help.
HipHop Hockey Mom springs into action for Calgary Esso Minor Hockey Week
The team’s fortunes improved as they played well during Calgary’s Esso Minor Hockey Week from Jan. 10 to 18, and they battled their way to the finals. Their opposition, however, would be a team that had won every game they’d played thus far.
“I was really nervous about it,” Cardinal said.
“I was like, ‘oh, I really don’t want to have to see the kids sad like that.”
Cardinal was reminded of the 2004 Calgary Flames playoff run and the excitement around it and wanted to help build that for the team.
“So, I wondered if there’s a way I can help pump them up so that they’re super excited for the game and they’re more motivated to try even harder,” she said.
“We need a hype song.”
Cardinal had hoped this could turn into a ‘challenge’ of sorts for other Calgary minor hockey teams to produce the best ‘hype song’ video. She’d like to see it as a fundraiser for groups like KidSport or the Calgary Flames’ Even Strength Foundation.
Cardinal, a single mom who also has two daughters in dancing, has experience with hip hop dancing, so, with little sleep in the two days prior to the big final, she wrote and recorded a hip-hop, hype song video for the team.
She wanted to deliver it to the team just prior to the final, but was delayed.
The team lost the game and they’d lost their spirit.
“I just came into the dressing room with the coaches and the kids,” Cardinal said.
“I just turned on the music and did it live just right there.”
Video drives more than 28,000 views
The coach loved it and encouraged her to share it with the parents. It took off from there. Now Cardinal’s Facebook persona is HipHop Hockey Mom. She’d recorded the video and song for YouTube where it has 2,700+ views.
When it hit Facebook though, it exploded. There are now more than 28,000 views.
While she has a dance background, she said you get to rehearse and rehearse until you nail it. So there were some nerves – and even some doubts about how it would turn out.
“I just kind of did this on a whim and I’m going to wing it,” she said.
“I didn’t really think it was going to be seen by that many people.”
And, as most 11-year-olds are, Kaden was, at first, embarrassed by his mom’s production.
Then kids on other teams started asking about it. They were asking about how many views it had.
“I’m like, oh, we’re cool now,” she said.
Smells like team spirit – Southwest Cougars
The Southwest Cougars push the team spirit aspect and this fit right in for them, Cardinal said. The parents are very supportive with the kids and encourage building passion in the game. They’re tireless volunteers for their team.
But, sports is competitive and often if you’re not good, you’re not acknowledged, she said. This was a good way to show them how important it is to enjoy the game and the experience.
“It’s not just about how good you are. Now people know your team and your heart in this game. And that was kind of in the song, too,” she said.
A new hit may (or may not) be in the works as the Southwest Cougars PeeWee 6 Gold hit the ice for playoffs. The season didn’t finish the way the players may have hoped, off the high of their Esso Minor Hockey Week success.
“The kids are like, “can we do another one?” Cardinal said.
“So, the pressure is on.”