Tuesday, November 01, 2005

It's... hockey journalism!

Sometimes I feel a little phony having a site that's called 'a hockey journalist's blog' considering it has been a while since I've done any, well, hockey writing. (One of journalism's tenets should be 'You don't always write about exactly what you want to write about.')

I did, in fact, write a hockey story for yesterday's paper, so here it is. The University of Alberta's women's hockey team has been somewhat legendary the past few years, even going 110 games without a loss at one point (a story that venerable Globe columnist Al Maki tackled in February).

So, when they put up a two-game losing streak to start this season, it seemed worth of some ink.
"We have some players on our team, up until last year in that final game, they hadn't lost a league game or a playoff game for their entire careers."

— Alberta Pandas women's hockey coach Howie Draper says his team is still adjusting this year after ending a 110-game streak without a loss last season.
It's been two months so far covering the university sports scene, and it has really been an excellent experience. And, with the football playoffs entering the semi-finals, the first big CIS championship event, the Vanier Cup, is quickly approaching (Dec. 3 in Hamilton at the Tiger-Cats' Ivor Wynne Stadium). I've been tracking the proceedings closely and can't wait to see who wins this thing.

In the grand scheme of things, Canadian university sport isn't as elite a level of competition as, say, the NCAA (although some CIS hockey teams could certainly do very well down there), but it truly is amateur sport and not merely a training ground for professional athletes.

It's great to also see The Globe and Mail take an interest in promoting amateur sport in this country, devoting a considerable chunk of their sports section every Monday to this project. It's undeniable that interest in the CIS is growing —— one only needs to look at a team like football's Laval Rouge et Or and the 19,000+ fans they've drawn to home games this year (seen at right hoisting last year's Vanier Cup).

I also can't express how refreshing it has been to talk each week to coaches and athletes that are genuinely interested in contributing to stories and promoting the CIS. I think a lot of sportswriters get jaded (if that's the right term) from speaking to and writing about uncaring, unemotive million-dollar athletes.

As Lakehead University's athletic director Tom Warden said to me two weeks ago for a story on their successful hockey program:
"I think it'’s a great role model for a kid, who comes in, sits down, watches one of our games and has a hero, and that hero is [enrolled] in chemical engineering... it shows that it'’s a really good role model for people in this community."
I'm still pretty green in this business, and haven't gotten anywhere near that 'jaded' point, but I'm sure if I ever do, I'll look back on this CIS experience fondly.

1 Comments:

At 11:42 a.m., November 01, 2005, Blogger Mike said...

Mr. Hockey journalist, can you please find us more defense for the Leafs?

 

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