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The holiday spirit is going viral in Chicago thanks to a cover of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" by the city's Gay Hockey Association.
The players took to the ice last month in red jerseys and Santa hats to tape a music video complete with the team's own recording of the popular tune. The result exudes a heart-warming reminder of acceptance with a catchy, singing-in-the-shower quality that keeps the song in your head all day.
"Please take a moment to reflect on the real meaning of this project," the team posted to Facebook. "It's a lot deeper than you might expect. Embrace one another for our differences and have some fun!"
People took notice. The YouTube video was watched more than 10,000 times in the first 24 hours, and since the Nov. 28 debut, its popularity has skyrocketed.
Members of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association made the rounds on local TV stations and have been quoted in national outlets like Sports Illustrated. The video got a mention on comedian Daniel Tosh's Tosh.0 blog and even writer Dan Savage gave it a hat-tip on Twitter: "Another way the gay community 'out-markets' the Catholic Church (per Dolan): our viral videos are way more fun."
There's no arguing the video's booty-shaking, head-bobbing fun, but for the team, it's all about a message of acceptance.
Stephen Leonard, who produced and directed the video, told GoPride.com it captures the spirit of the team. "We're all about having fun and inviting others to do the same, both on and off the ice," Leonard said.
That's the theme of the note the team left on its video, which as of Thursday afternoon had 80,000 views.
"We want you to put aside your differences. And to spend some time getting closer to your family and friends. If you take a step back and look, you may surprise yourself with how much you have in common with people. The person next to you on the train could become your best friend. After all, aren't we all just looking for love? Don't forget to laugh a little. And sing a little. Happy Holidays y'all!"