Kevin, Darrell, Jason and Guylaine Demers
(Photo: Courtesy of Kevin Demers)
We’ve all been a fan, a super fan, pledged undying allegiance to a player and the talents he or she exudes on the ice and the sense of community and team spirit shown off of it. But, at the end of the day, the chances are overwhelmingly good, that one fan will eclipse them all, reserving the title “#1 Fan”. Often, this person has spent countless hours as a cheerleader, chauffeur, coach, confidant and above all else, devoted their lives to be a loving parent. Many players come from all walks of life, but no matter how far they’ve come, chances are good that they all share a key ingredient in success. The father, mother, brother, sister, family member that supported them through the lowest of lows and highest of highs, all while asking for nothing in return. Fans are special, but it’s the select few that far surpass the masses and the #1 Fan video series showcases just that.
While many hockey fans, particularly of the San Jose Sharks variety, may be familiar with the name Jason Demers, it’s his older brother, Kevin, that reigns supreme outside of the arena, and inside the filming studio. A Montreal native, the former pro-hockey player, turned filmmaker, has successfully found a way to creatively combine a love for the game, with a love for film, giving fans of any ranking an inside look, through the eyes of those who know players the best.
Striving to bring the essence of the game and the select few who have remained in the number one fan spot since the beginning to light, Demers created the #1 Fan videos. So far showcasing both his brother, Jason, and teammate Logan Couture, the short videos star not the players themselves, but their parents.
The Pink Puck caught up with Kevin to discuss the videos, the importance of family and which player is bound to get the #1 Fan treatment next:Could not parse XML from YouTube
The Pink Puck: Where did the idea for the #1 Fan videos come from?
Kevin Demers: Like most of the things I come up with, I sit on the idea for weeks, months, even years. The #1 fan concept came up when the NHL Lockout was still going on. A lot of fans were upset, swearing they’d never watch the game again or support it. I realized then that fans were losing touch with the game, saying its only about money and nobody cared anymore about the game itself. So I used my family as guinea pigs to humanize the players and show that they do come from somewhere. No matter what, they always have their true original fans behind them. The people that brought them to the rink for early skates, their family.
KD: I have been speaking to other teams about it and seeing where they want to go with it. I have a bunch of different guys that called me and asked me to create more videos. Right now for me, first in line is Brent Burns, he’s the one who’s pushed hard on it.
TPP: I got the sense that the videos are to show that everyone starts somewhere and no matter how far they go, their true fans remain the same. What do you ultimately want the fans to take from the videos?
TPP: You have strong ties within hockey yourself, as you played professionally. When did the desire to branch into a creative avenue off the ice come in?
KD: At the Demers house there are two things we watch, movies or hockey. When I was playing my first year of pro (don’t forget I was 23 and started playing competitively again after a 7 year hiatus from the game that I love very much), you’d get stuck with days of having nothing to do after 2 hours of practice and an hour in the gym. So you’d have to stay busy. I don’t like to read, but I always had a nack for coming up with an idea. That’s where I started to write, then it developed into writing a television show, then going to UCLA for writing and then producing, so I can see my projects come to life. Now, here we are.
TPP: Beyond the #1 Fan videos, what creative projects do you have in the works?
KD: Right this minute I’m working on a project for autism awareness month, also working with trainer Paul Gagne on his new training website. Then I’ll be focusing on my television shows that I am just about ready to get started. One actually being a hockey based show (kind of like Friday Night Lights, but with a Canadian touch).
KD: If you asked me that when I was 16, before I quit hockey, I would have said to you, probably nothing because goals were easy to come by at that time — I was all skill. But asking me now, I’d still tell you nothing, because I work hard to get a goal and I work just as hard on anything I do; whether its my film stuff or my other business. My father always told me growing up and I never got that until I started play pro, ‘play like there is someone in the stands that has never seen you play before, show them who you are’, I take that quote into everything I do. I hope that people see me as a hard working person who gets those winning goals, or completes those video projects.
TPP: Do you believe that even the most talented of hockey players would struggle without the support of his family in reaching the elite professional level?
KD: Not at all, I think that you need to also be very strong mentally. I think a player like Bobby Ryan is a great example, he had it very rough in his childhood and he came out very strong, that’s a story I’d love to hear.