BHN: A Return To Reporting And Analysis
Just prior to the 2019 Eastern Conference Final between the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes, I announced that I had taken a new job as the part Owner, Editor In Chief and lead Bruins reporter and columnist here. Well, in a short time, we’ve already gained a solid following, been credentialed for that series between the Canes and B’s and then for the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. To the readers that jumped on board in May and to all reading this now, welcome to Boston Hockey Now Extra!
Before I tell you exactly what your $3.49 per month or $29.99 a year gets you for subscribing to BHN Extra, please allow me to tell you how I got here, why I believe in this site and its parent outlet National Hockey Now which was founded by Dan Kignerski, the man behind the successful Pittsburgh Hockey Now.
As the Bruins went through their recent run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup and the city of Boston was once again reminded that they are “The Best Hockey City” in America, yours truly was reminded in so many ways why I chose to become a hockey journalist and of the responsibility I have to you the reader. Just as you the Bruins fan base did during the Bruins’ run in 2011 that ended with them winning their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, and in 2013 when they helped distract the city from the tragic Marathon Bombing and fell two games short of their second Stanley Cup in two seasons, you reminded me of the privilege I possess and the responsibility I have to you to not just convey the story to you, but, to the best of my ability, bring you inside the story.
When I entered this profession back in 2001, I was a hockey and more specifically a Bruins fan just like you. I began attending games with my late grandfather, at the old Boston Garden back in 1984 (Yes! I am that old!). From then until old barn closed back in 1995, I may have missed 30-40 games. In fact, when the B’s played their last real game at the Garden, losing to the eventual 1995 Stanley Cup Champions, the New Jersey Devils in Game 5 of the first round of the 1995 playoffs, I – along with my sister Erin – was one the last ones to leave what had become a second home for me.
That experience inspired me to play hockey early on, but that experiment never became more than a hobby and a good laugh for those who saw me try and play! The knowledge I gained watching the game and picking my grandfather’s brain though, turned me into a Cliff Clavin of hockey knowledge. Later in college, when my journalism professor Frank Faulkner asked me why I was majoring in journalism and I didn’t have a real answer, he picked up the newspaper on his desk and turned to a story on the Bruins.
“Why not that?” he asked. “You know more about them and hockey than Cliff Clavin does on stuff no one cares about. Do something with that passion and knowledge. You can write, so do it.”
Three years later, I found myself standing along a packed sidewalk on a street in downtown Denver on a sweltering mid-June at the parade for the 2001 Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche that I’m guessing my colleague and Editor In Chief of Colorado Hockey Now Adrian Dater was covering for the Denver Post. As a longtime Bruins fan, I had made the pilgrimage to the Rocky Mountain city to see longtime Bruin Ray Bourque finally win the Stanley Cup and while I never got into the Pepsi Center to experience that moment in person – instead watching at a Boston sports pub there – Bourque did spot me as he and Lord Stanley drove by and stopped right in front of us. I was wearing that Bourque jersey pictured above and he pointed to me and then tapped his chest as he yelled “Thanks for coming out!” and within minutes I was being interviewed by local news crews and reporters. In fact, there was a story on me in that newspaper Adrian covered that Avalanche Cup run and team so brilliantly for. The fact I’m working with him now is just part of the irony of this story.
What’s even more ironic is that just four months later I was sitting in the media meal room of what was then the FleetCenter, as the Boston Metro Bruins beat reporter, for a Bourque press conference just prior to the Bruins raising his #77 to the rafters. Since that moment, I’ve covered Cam Neely’s No. 8, Terry O’Reilly’s No. 24, and Rick Middleton’s No. 16 all join Bourque’s number high above the ice. I’ve also covered 12 Bruins playoff runs and three trips to the Stanley Cup Final, including the historic Cup win in 2011.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the ride, the reporting I learned from Faulkner in college and in my early years on the job from local legends of the biz like Hall of Famers Russ Conway, Kevin Paul Dupont, and Mick Colageo went by the wayside. What’s even more unfortunate is that I at times also went away from the foundation and compass I had built thinking I needed to do so to survive in the ever-changing landscape of sports-reporting. While social media has certainly helped reporters and connected us to our readers in a degree I never thought possible, it has also clouded what my job as a reporter and responsibility to you is. Suddenly the reporting I knew seemed to be disappearing as we continued to get mired in the muck and hostility of social media and even more so in the vicious race to break news.
I’m not afraid to tell you that I’ve been guilty of that at times and veered away from the passion and standards that enabled me to experience all the amazing and historic moments I’ve covered during what is now an 18-year run as a hockey scribe and now a multimedia reporter. However, as I said above, there are certain moments such as when the team you’re covering captivates your audience that has reminded me why I do this job. When the story and the moment are told in a manner that can distract the readers from the trials of everyday life, is when I know I’m doing my job. As a reader, you depend on the reporter to be a conduit of accurate news and to take you inside the story, telling you why something happened or why it didn’t happen. Yes, social media can connect you to all of that faster than a carefully researched and well-written article can, and while Boston Hockey Now will utilize that outlet as well, we’re not just here to just spew breaking news in 140 characters or to blog it for you. We are here to bring you an insightful, well thought out story from breaking news and all news surrounding the Bruins and the local hockey scene.
That is the vision of National Hockey Now and that is why I jumped at this opportunity when Dan presented it to me during this recent Bruins playoff run. I want you the reader to see the story for what it really is and not just touch the surface. Newspapers may almost be a lost treasure in our past now, but I believe that National Hockey Now, Colorado Hockey Now, Pittsburgh Hockey Now and of course Boston Hockey Now can still do what that dying breed of news outlets did for so many years and that is to tell you the story. When another journey like a Cup run comes along, I want to bring you inside and along for the ride.
From the moment I covered that Bourque press conference back in October of 2001, I put away the fan in me that was on that sidewalk in Denver four months before and made it a mission to cover this team and the NHL in an objective manner. One thing I never suppressed though, was my passion and appreciation for the game of hockey, the fans that love the game and the opportunity to cover it for them. My goal here at BHN is to convey that passion and the story in a fair and objective manner that you won’t find in the plethora of blogs that blanket the internet and that at times disguise the real story and news.
So I hope you can join Alex Thomas, Jim Biringer, Tom Fitzgerald and me here at Boston Hockey Now for the real story and the real scoop behind the tweet! For those of you that have been with me along the journey to this point, words don’t express how grateful I am for your support and I hope you too come along for this new journey for a monthly fee that’s less than a pint of your favorite beer and a yearly price that at worse is equal to a case of a good microbrew beer!