SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - MAY 09: Alex Wennberg #21 of the Seattle Kraken deflects the puck from Max Domi #18 of the Dallas Stars during the second period in Game Four of the Second Round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Climate Pledge Arena on May 09, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Hockey Romance Fans Have Taken Things Way Too Far

Fanfic based on real people has always been odd. Not to shame anyone, but it is an aspect of the internet that gets into really touchy, weird territory and this latest fiasco, which didn’t even start with fanfic, is a good example. Fans of romance books and hockey came together in the hockey romance book scene. One team and player in particular has gained their attention thanks to a popular TikToker.

Recommended Videos

Alex Wennberg is a player for the Seattle Kraken and is popular on BookTok among fans of hockey romance—a very specific subgenre that has gained a lot of steam recently. According to The Cut, BookTok on its own has garnered more than 162 billion views under the #BookTok tag. From there, if you dive into the hockey romance subgenre, there are quite a lot of steamy hockey books that fans cling to. Where it gets dicey is that fans have begun to connect these fictional romances to actual teams and their players, using them as visual stand-ins for characters (in fanfic, this is known as “face claiming”).

All of this started when the Seattle Kraken posted TikToks featuring their players and tagging #BookTok in the videos. Wennberg was one of the players featured in a TikTok, with a caption that read “what is booktok and why do they like wenny so much?” At first, Wennberg was the latest thirst obsession among hockey romance fans and it was relatively harmless. But as is often the case online, it was taken too far by those who started it. “Enough of sexual harassment, and harassment of our character and our relationship,” Wennberg wrote in a statement about the parasocial relationship forming on BookTok, and it opened up a world of questions about what was happening over there.

Wennberg’s wife Felicia Weeren also posted about how she felt uncomfortable with a more recent trend: Krack my back. A play on the infamous “break my back” meme (known online thanks to a comment about Black Panther‘s M’Baku, featured in a thirst tweet roundup), the saying is often tweeted when fans thirst after celebrities.

What’s going on now?

So Kierra Lewis, a popular TikToker on BookTok and fan of Wennberg’s team the Seattle Kraken, was posting about the situation and about hockey romance books. Lewis started the “Krack my back” trend. The conflict comes from Weeren’s callout post, which includes a screenshot where Lewis’ name is visible. This led to Lewis fighting back and many chiming in to point out that when the WIFE of the player in question comments about something, maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the situation differently.

This issue 100% stems from the Seattle Kraken social media team playing into BookTok to their advantage without checking to see how the team and their families felt about it. But Lewis, who has over one million followers on TikTok, also has some responsibility here. The creator who was benefiting from her own love of the Kraken and her audience on BookTok has become the “villain” of this story.

Kierra Lewis went from being praised by a team she loves for her content to being called out, without the team’s social media saying anything to her (that we know of). While I don’t agree with Lewis’ actions following Weeren’s Instagram story about the situation, I don’t think the team is innocent, either.

It’s a bad look all around

Lewis was wrong in her actions towards the players before, but especially once Weeren shared her discomfort. In a TikTok, Lewis shared screenshots of her reaching out to Weeren via direct message. Instead of waiting for Weeren to respond, Lewis took to TikTok to post a video all about Weeren’s posts and sent her followers after Weeren. Lewis has a much larger audience than Weeren does.

The problem with Lewis’ response to Weeren is that it ushered in a lot of hate for a woman who was simply saying she felt uncomfortable with one thing about her own husband, and even acknowledged that she previously played into the BookTok fandom. All of that wouldn’t have happened if the Seattle Kraken didn’t feed into Lewis’ content beforehand. From what I can see, they engaged with Lewis and her posts about the players and it helped gain traction for BookTok and the team itself. When they realized that the players in question not might like that kind of content, they left the creators they were using for their benefit out to dry. They have since removed their BookTok content but they still engaged with it in the first place.

I don’t think the use of actual hockey players for your hockey romance posts is a good thing. Not at all. They’re real people with lives and families and they didn’t sign up for that kind of attention. I think Weeren was right in saying she was uncomfortable, but I also don’t think it is completely fair that Lewis is taking the fall for this when the Kraken team interacted with her on social media as well.

This became so much bigger than just something happening in Seattle or even just something happening on TikTok. I knew about this, my friends knew about this, and it is becoming a larger issue with fandoms that we need to unpack.

(featured image: Steph Chambers, Getty Images)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article One Cut ‘Bridgerton’ Character Changes One of Season 3’s Best Scenes From the Books
The Featherington sisters and their husbands in Bridgerton season 3
Read Article Here’s How to Get Your Dainty Gloved Hands on the ‘Bridgerton’ Special Edition Books
Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton as Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton in the third season of Bridgerton
Read Article Conservative Book Banners Are Redacting Entire Textbook Chapters in Texas Schools
A book with redacted sections
Read Article So What Happened With the Ending of ‘Iron Flame’?
Cover art for Rebecca Yarrow's "Iron Flame"
Read Article How Much of ‘Bridgerton’s Romantic Drama Is Historically Accurate?
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3
Related Content
Read Article One Cut ‘Bridgerton’ Character Changes One of Season 3’s Best Scenes From the Books
The Featherington sisters and their husbands in Bridgerton season 3
Read Article Here’s How to Get Your Dainty Gloved Hands on the ‘Bridgerton’ Special Edition Books
Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton as Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton in the third season of Bridgerton
Read Article Conservative Book Banners Are Redacting Entire Textbook Chapters in Texas Schools
A book with redacted sections
Read Article So What Happened With the Ending of ‘Iron Flame’?
Cover art for Rebecca Yarrow's "Iron Flame"
Read Article How Much of ‘Bridgerton’s Romantic Drama Is Historically Accurate?
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3
Author
Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.