Most of the time, the words come pretty easily when I open up the site to write about this great sport. Today, it wasn’t quite as easy. I came back to this post on and off for many days and weeks.
I’ve been struggling for a while with how to continue doing this thing that I love 100% while also supporting my family, doing my 'real' job and getting a few spare hours of sleep here and there. Having Ryan Pennington along for the ride from 2017 to 2020 was very helpful in that regard. Not attending games in person last year, while not ideal, was also helpful in terms of hockey/life balance.
With Ryan now pursuing his dreams elsewhere and full attendance back on the table for 2021-22, the question of how and whether I would personally attend 36 games this season and watch 36 more has weighed on me more and more with each passing day this summer. During the season, that works out to one in every three nights, and it’s weighted heavily toward weekends, when I want to spend time with my family. I have talked to a lot of people about this question and turned it over and over in my own mind as well during those idle moments, asking myself ‘what if this?’ and ‘how about that?’ during morning runs or while drifting off to sleep at night.
At the end of the day, I told myself that my family always comes first. I don’t want anyone to worry; my family has been lucky to stay healthy and thriving throughout the pandemic. However, as my family grows, I have obligations to small humans who rely on me and a partner with whom I want to have a fair and equitable relationship.
First off, I am actively seeking staff writers to assist in my continued coverage of the Texas Stars. More about that below.
However, I personally will not be committing to covering every home and road game live this season. With the various advancements of AHL video coverage and the ability to read through team reports on the postgame, providing a blow-by-blow postgame analysis of the team for all 72 games is not where I as the managing editor provide the most value.
The value I add to Texas Stars fans is based on the relationships that I have with the team, its staff and coaches and the wealth of historical knowledge about the team that my coverage has given me over the last 12 years. With that being said, I think the most valuable thing I can do is to provide that look beyond the box score to Texas Stars fans through continued conversations with head coach Neil Graham, assistant coaches Travis Morin and Maxime Fortunus, general manager Scott White, and the players, but perhaps all of that outside of the postgame scrum, when the interviews last 4 minutes at most and there isn’t time to dive deeper to the next level.
I would like to pursue a more weekly structure with a breakdown of the past week at a high level, deep dives into individual player performance and overall strategy. I will still attend a fair number of home games and watch many road games. I imagine at playoff time the postgame reporting will pick up significantly again.
With all that on the table, I will end by asking a favor. If you think you have what it takes to be a staff writer for us and provide unbiased, fair and well-written postgame stories, let me know. You can always reach me at stephen [at] 100degreehockey.com.
Ryan would tell you that he had some incredible experiences as a result of working on the site. In addition to covering three seasons of AHL games from the press box, he also covered the NHL draft, many NHL games, a Calder Cup Final run and the Winter Classic, and he would do it again if he had the time in his schedule to make it work.
If that’s you, let’s talk.