In my second year of university I founded the website ‘A Hockey Journal’ alongside two of my colleagues after identifying a vacant space in the online ice hockey market. After growing up with the sport, the segue from spectator to content creator was organic; my deep-rooted investment provided insight into topical issues and niche subject matters that we went on to cover.
Before listing what I believe to be my accomplishments, it’s only right that I commend Rachel and Dan on their efforts with the site. They were under no obligation to join me on this transient journey (one which Rachel is still on) and proved themselves to be accomplished writers. I couldn’t have done it without them.
Creating A Hockey Journal was very much a digitally hands on experience. From designing a logo to building the website, I was involved step by step in taking my concept and translating it into virtual existence. On top of this we gave the website an identity on social channels to further its presence and promote content whilst simultaneously improving brand awareness. Upon site completion, my role involved creating and strategising content, the highlights of which can be seen below.
The Elite League v. Brian Stewart
This was perhaps my favourite article that I wrote for multiple reasons. At the time of writing, fans in The Elite League had developed an unhealthy obsession with the net minder Brian Stewart, whose on-ice antics had led him to be seen as this larger than life caricature. His theatrical responses to refereeing decisions became a spectacle to the ever-jibing fans; an appearance from Stewart turned the atmosphere inside rinks to that of coliseums and boy were they entertained. The overly dressed gladiator aesthetic really didn’t help him either.
Another factor that contributed towards the articles success was the inclusion of an expert opinion. I reached out to Neil Hennessy, a lecturer in coaching, pedagogy and philosophy of sport at Cardiff Metropolitan University for his viewpoint on the effects of crowd chants on a player. Collaborating with Neil added extreme value to the conversation and, to a limited extent, answered a question the audience weren’t aware that they had. The article proved to be the site’s most popular and even caught the attention of the net minder himself!
An Unlikely Acquaintance
Through our endeavours on the site, myself and Rachel found ourselves travelling to the snow buried city of Växjö in Sweden, where we volunteered to help cover the Champions Hockey League final. Watched by thousands worldwide, the tournament features the top teams from the first-tier leagues of countries, who go head-to-head in the hope of being crowned champions of their continent. Our responsibilities, which I’ll keep brief for I go into more detail in another article, included creating social media content and interviewing players during intervals between play.
Whilst browsing the (Växjö) Lakers store for some souvenirs we glimpsed what appeared to be astray fans from our league back home. After a double take our gaze was confronted by the preying eyes of a panther placed centrally on the fan’s jersey in a pouncing stance; a far cry from the warm smile we received upon averting our eyes upwards. We introduced ourselves to Nathan and his aunt Nicola, who were already aware of our attendance through this piece published on the CHL website. After hearing Nathan’s story, which I’ll let you read yourself, I was inspired to tell his story. I caught up with him after the final and published ‘An Unlikely Acquaintance’ shortly thereafter; an edited version of the article was featured in the CHL’s Season Review which you can flick through here.