Chirp your friends with Bauer’s new hockey emoticons for iPhone

If you’re ever wanted to call a friend a “bender” with emoticons, Bauer Hockey is making it possible. Bauer released a keyboard for iPhone Monday that allows for the use of hockey-related emoticons and GIFs.

If you’ve ever read through Paul Bissonnette’s Twitter account, you’ve probably learned a few new words or some alternate definitions. Words like bender, duster, pylon and sieve are all part of the hockey lexicon, and thanks to the Bauer Hockey keyboard, they can become part of your day-to-day messaging.

The free keyboard, which launched Monday, works like the already standard keyboard but with some slight twists. Found on the App Store, once downloaded, the keyboard needs to be turned on through the iPhone’s setting and then given access to the phone, much like any application that’s downloaded. Once that’s through, a couple of taps during a message will bring you to the Bauer Hockey keyboard.

The Bauer Hockey keyboard includes a full QWERTY setup – the standard keyboard – and buttons along the bottom that allow the use to switch to emoticons or GIFs. That’s right: included in the keyboard are several GIFs, including Patrick Kane’s incredible puck handling and Steven Stamkos blasting slap shots.

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According to Bauer, the keyboard is expected to have updates in the near future and it’s clear that there are still some kinks to work out.

The keyboard itself doesn’t allow for simple tap-to-send emoticons, unlike the current emojis, which come standard on the iPhone. Instead, each emoticon has to be selected, copied, pasted and then sent. It’s not necessarily a hassle, but the functionality of it could definitely be improved.

It might work better, too, if the app contained only the emoticons and GIFs. The QWERTY keyboard can be clunky and the smaller surface area for the keyboard makes mistypes and accidental switches to emoticon and GIF modes a bit too frequent. But, hey, it’s a good start, and it’s nice to finally be able to send a few hockey-related emojis back and forth between friends.