Thursday, October 30, 2008

For Hockey Fans Blogs Are Filling The Void

From: Sporting News
by Craig Custance

For hockey fans, blogs are emerging as the places they swarm to for hockey coverage - especially in the face of declining coverage from U.S. newspapers. And clearly, some NHL teams are struggling with the transformation.

In the coverage of the NHL, bloggers have been filling the gaps, and 2008 has been the year of the NHL blogger. Greg Wyshynski got a full-time gig at Yahoo as the editor of the hockey blog Puck Daddy, where he can focus all his time and talents on stories like his recent post "Swedish hockey game delayed by sex-toy shower" [The opposing Swedish team is the same one that DU Alum Kevin Doell plays for] Naturally, his page views have sky-rocketed - even for cleverly-written posts that don't involve sex toys.

"Hockey is kind of the Johnny-come-lately of the blogging world," said Allen, the national hockey writer for USA Today. "For a decade now, in the entertainment world, bloggers have been very powerful in terms of the impact they can have on movies. We now see politicians hand-delivering scoops to bloggers who blog from their pajamas in their house - giving them information mainstream media can't get. If it's happening in entertainment and in politics, I don't know why any of us would have thought it wouldn't enter the hockey world too."

While the relationship between alternative media and traditional journalists is thawing, the relationship between the bloggers and NHL teams is complex. At best.

In Nashville, Predators senior vice president of communications, Gerry Helper, said the team had to remove a blogger because he wasn't doing the type of reporting he described in his request.

But that hasn't stopped the Predators from reaching out to alternative media in search of more hockey coverage. Beyond the Tennessean and their beat writer John Glennon, one of the country's best, there just isn't that much local coverage of the Predators.

"If I don't feel our organization is getting the word out or getting the attention we need, I have to figure out other ways to get attention for us," Helper said.

He said that issuing credentials to bloggers needs to be done on a case-by-case basis. Teams have worried about accountability, but as bloggers consolidate under corporate umbrellas, like Mirtle, that argument dissipates.

For now, the Nashvilles of the world are willing to make that judgment. Traditional hockey markets are not, nor do they need to.

"It's an apples and oranges situation," Wyshynski said. "What it comes to is the amount of decreasing ink these teams are getting in the States. That's the issue and that's the issue that needs to be addressed between the teams and their blogosphere." [read entire article]

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