Geno Palocsko of Pens.Hockey

Part 11 in our Creator Spotlight Series

Growing up, Geno Palocsko loved two things: art, and ice hockey. “I love everything about the game itself. The almost constant speed and flow of the play, the skating and puck handling skill involved, the fierce combat for possession of the puck, a well placed hip check. The crack of stick on puck, the clang of a puck off the goal post, the crunch of the ice as your skate jets you forward,” Geno says. He’s managed to meld the two in the GIFs he creates for Pens.Hockey, the blog he runs with two friends.

Many of Geno’s GIFs meld sports footage with simple animation, in a Terry Gilliam-esque cut and paste style. Pens.Hockey doesn’t just post the same highlights fans can see anywhere — they create original content. “ Anybody can look at video highlights on any of the regular sports sites,” says Palocsko. “By creating GIFs, I can make something have real, personalized meaning to our group of supporters and fans.”

Pens.Hockey originally started using Gfycat to keep GIF file sizes manageable on the site. “ It’s so fast and simple to use and I’ve NEVER had one single issue while working on the site. It also gets me over there to see what others are creating,” Geno says.

“Creating GIF art for the blog is kind of a ‘click bait hook.’ It helps bring in readers and commenters, which helps to make our blog thrive. We have great writers and our comment section is usually very frisky,” Palocsko says. “The combination of the writing and artwork keep our readers invested, and that completes the success of our blog.”

I’m a Flyers fan myself, and wasn’t a huge fan of the above GIF. But Palocsko says this kind of cheerful ribbing is part of hockey culture and all in good fun. “I also make a lot of GIFs that have no actual hockey gameplay in them. These are usually my favorites. It’s a great vehicle to rib opposing team players and fans which is a big part of what a hockey blog does. It’s all done in fun. We welcome all hockey fans on PENS.HOCKEY. Every lover of the sport is welcome as long as they can take a joke and not become offensive, rude or mean.”

Palocsko hasn’t played hockey in awhile, but creating GIFs for Pens.Hockey helps him keep in touch with that part of his life, he says. “I played goalie. I used to love just taking my time and putting on all my equipment, getting my mind right and focused to play. I haven’t played for some time and I miss it a lot. Working on the blog helps me stay in touch with those feelings.”

Check out Pens.Hockey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PensHockeyBlog