Josh Richards and Gary Bettmna
(Cristina Ledra/NHL Staff)

Josh Richards Named NHL ‘Voice of the Fans’

The NHL recently named Josh Richards ‘special advisor’ in hopes to grow the fan base. Richards is a 19-year-old TikTok star born and raised in Toronto and allegedly grew up playing hockey. He is set to attend the Stanley Cup Final games in Tampa and other high profile NHL events. 

I love this idea. The execution? Subpar. Richards has about 25 million followers on TikTok and I would guess the majority of them are 13-15 year old girls. If they wanted a Toronto native who grew up playing hockey with an army of teenage girls…Justin Bieber is right there. And Biebs is much better at lip syncing. I understand wanting someone with that large of a platform to be an open and raging hockey fan. But Richards doesn’t make hockey content. I spend as much time on TikTok as the next girl and I have never seen Josh Richards pumping out NHL or hockey-based content.  

Controversial Past

Richards has previously been a part of the Sway House, a giant collab house in Los Angeles. He was there with Bryce Hall, Jaden Hossler, Griffin Johnson, Quinton Griggs, and other highly controversial content creators. Bryce Hall…I don’t even know where to start. You can google that one yourself but that’s really all you need to know. That group, including Richards, made quite the bad-boy-party-animal reputation for themselves. They received plenty of backlash when they had a birthday party with hundreds of people amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns last summer. 

If I’m Gary Bettman, and I want to expand the fanbase of the major sports league that I’m in charge of, I’m looking for a successful ‘influencer’ who makes hockey content. Having someone like Richards as ‘the voice of the fans’ may bring in those younger fans but it’s going to drive the older ones out. Yeah, the ones with actual jobs and disposable income who can actually contribute a profit, Bettman. When I was 14, I had about $15 to my name. That’ll get you a solid parking space at Ball Arena but that’s about as far as you’ll get. 

Another cishet white boy being handed things that he’s not really qualified for? Just what the sports industry needs. 

Unless Josh Richards starts making TikToks with the entire Toronto Maple Leafs roster, I don’t want to see it. 

What the league SHOULD have done, was…perhaps…given the fans a voice. They have the fan choice awards every year, just add a category for ‘voice of the fans.’ Make it a contest. I would sure as hell over exaggerate my personality for that. I suppose it’s only up from here. Maybe the expansion draft and angry fans will drive him out and they’ll have to start over. One can only dream. 

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