Behind the Mask: The Puck Stops Here
I was first drawn to The Puck Stops Here’s simply because of his YouTube video graphics. The Puck Stops Here, better known as Sam Mantini has a sweet graphic of his logo rotating, a score and game clock graphic that you’d see on any game you’d watch on TV, and a goal light that appears when a goal is scored. Then I started watching his videos because the content was great.
Getting into hockey
Sam started playing hockey when he was 5 years old, and has played consistently with the exception of two years in college. He played every sport growing up, but loved hockey. He attributes his mom’s passion for the game, and the Maple Leafs for getting him into the great game of hockey.
As a kid in Toronto, Sam grew up idolizing Curtis Joseph, and even got a mask with the iconic Cujo paint scheme on it for his 10th birthday, a mask he wore for 10 years. With Cujo long retired, he says Frederik Andersen is one of his favorite goalies, but also loves watching Marc Andre Fleury play, and who can blame him?
These days Sam sakes once a week, but like all of us wishes it was every day.
When asked what his family thinks of his social media persona, Sam said, “I don’t think I have a social media persona – what you see is what you get. I just love playing hockey and my channel is a way I can share my experiences with others. My family doesn’t really care either way about my channel, but I know my mom loves that I do it. When I grew up playing competitively, she was the one who drove me to all my practices and games since my dad had to work a lot, but after I stopped playing she missed being able to watch me play. Now she can watch me because of my channel.”
YouTube and social media
Almost two years ago Sam was came across some other goalies on YouTube. Being a video production manager himself, he thought he could do something similar. It was a few months later when he started filming his games. He originally started recording because he was hoping to learn from his mistakes, finding it easier to make adjustments to his game after seeing what he was doing wrong rather than thinking about it after a play. After going through the first few games of footage though Sam thought other goalies could learn from his mistakes as well, so he did what a lot of us have done, ad created his YouTube channel.
Putting his video skills to work, Sam created some 3D graphics in Adobe After Effects to give the video quality a more polished look. Sam says he was spending three hours editing his videos in Adobe Premier Pro when he only had his helmet cam and another camera mounted behind the net, but he has added to more cameras to the fray, adding time to the editing process.
Sam’s videos aren’t relegated to only game footage. He has done a number of product reviews as well. Sam’s first review was for Blocker Sleeve. He knew there are many products on the market to help goalies get better, but wanted to try some for himself and offer up honest reviews that could possibly help other goalies as they decide on their next purchases. When he was looking to do a review for the Blocker Sleeve he simply reached out to them, and they worked out a deal to get him one for his review.
One of Sam’s more amusing videos is when he got his girlfriend to smell his goalie equipment when doing a product review for OrorKlenz.
“I am very lucky to have a girlfriend who truly supports everything I do and when it came to this video, what you saw was what actually happened,” Sam said. “She came home while I was filming and said it stunk. Then when I used the powder and it actually worked, I just asked her as you can see in the video. I was actually expecting her to say no because she hates being filmed, but I was surprised that she said yes and luckily the product worked so she didn’t hate me afterwards.”
Of all the videos Sam has done so far, he says his favorite has to be the ‘Which Chesty to Get’ video. It was his first attempt at a vlog style video. He hopes to make more videos like that in the future, and was really excited to see how many other goalies enjoyed that video.
For awhile Sam was selling merch on his site TPSHGoalie.com because people kept asking if they could buy a t-shirt or hoodie with his logo on it. He created web store to sell stuff, and did sell a lot of shirts, but after having it open for a while, he realized that he felt like he always had this thought in the back of his mind that he needed to plug the merch. He didn’t want his YouTube channel to be a place where people felt like they were always told to buy stuff, so he decided to close the store and focus his energy on creating quality content rather then selling stuff. However, because he keeps getting asked to reopen the store, he is doing a flash limited run sweatshirt. Be sure to check out his Instagram feed, or check his facebook page for more details.