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Hockey Blogs Offer A Fresh Perspective And Another Layer Of media Coverage To Bring Fans Closer To The Game

In an era when information moves faster than the puck on a 5-on-3 power play, hockey fans can’t wait for the daily newspaper to hit their doorstep to find out what happened in rinks across North America. Most can’t even wait for SportsCenter to light up their flat screens.

In today’s streaming society, where life is measured in megabytes and nanoseconds, web logs, or blogs for short, have surfaced as some of the quickest and sometimes quirkiest forms of news and commentary available.

Often written by a die-hard fan without an unbiased bone in his body, blogs provide a new dimension to sports journalism by providing real-time game analysis or commentary while leaving the run-of-the-mill game story in the dust.

In 2008, well-known hockey blogs such as Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy and Down Goes Brown made their debut, paving the way for more blogs to follow as their success grew to enormous heights.

“When I first started, I had no concept of what it could become,” said Greg Wyshynski, who worked as a newspaper journalist for 10 years before departing to start Puck Daddy, now perhaps the best-known hockey-centric blog on the web.

The success of Puck Daddy is testament to how influential a blog can really be.

Today’s blogger takes on many forms, including players who create their own blogs that act as online diaries so that readers can catch a glimpse of life at the highest levels of the game.

Bloggers tend to have more independence than most traditional journalists. For the most part, they write for themselves. They say what they want to say, when they want to say it, and answer only to themselves.

In today’s fast-paced world, bloggers provide an extra level of coverage that passionate hockey fans demand.In today’s fast-paced world, bloggers provide an extra level of coverage that passionate hockey fans demand.

But while they are not accountable to a higher authority, such as an editor or publisher, they are writing for a knowledgeable audience that will quickly call them out if something is amiss in their reporting.

“With blogs, there’s a lot more freedom,” said Sean McIndoe, the mind behind Down Goes Brown. “If you write something and maybe 100 people see it, it probably didn’t cost you anything. And if that’s what you’re passionate about, the size of your audience doesn’t really matter.”

Like Wyshynski, McIndoe began his career as a journalist before quickly realizing that the traditional path laid out for him wasn’t quite working.

“Really, what’s printed in magazines and newspapers is pretty indistinguishable from blog content, apart from the platform that it goes on. A lot of it is very similar,” McIndoe said.

The perceived gap between blogs and newspapers is smaller than traditional media minds would have you believe. Both Wyshynski and McIndoe are on-hand to cover some of the biggest games, including the Stanley Cup playoffs and even the Olympics.

Blogs focus on the same types of stories that traditional media outlets have been covering for years, but they also have the freedom to produce the type of niche stories that don’t usually show up in the local paper.

Some of Down Goes Brown’s most popular posts fall under that umbrella. The Toronto native has plenty to say about his hometown Maple Leafs, including a post written to his then-newborn son about the realities of being a Leafs fan.

Then there’s Puck Daddy, which eulogizes each team as they are knocked out of Stanley Cup-contention amidst typical game recaps and off-season predictions.

“Blogs give writers the opportunity to spread their wings,” Wyshynski said. “You can explore different ideas, whatever you want to do. It’s 100 percent true to you.”

As the debate continues to wage on, the transformations are hitting every level of hockey from grassroots to the National Hockey League as organizations across the country are starting to take a proactive approach to blogging and rethinking what constitutes a “real journalist.”

NHL teams have welcomed bloggers into their press boxes because they provide more coverage, which allows the game to grow and solidify a fan base.

“Technology can change a lot,” Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times said in a 2008 interview. “I think having interactive things, having fans get involved, is a great way to pull your fans into the game and into the sport.”





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