The conventional wisdom in the NHL with respect to attracting new fans is “If we can get them to see a game live, they’ll be hooked.” In the case of one Washington Post Magazine staff writer, it turned into a cover story.
As mentioned in an earlier post, April Witt’s profile of Alexander Ovechkin was the cover story for yesterday’s Washington Post Magazine. It was shocking and refreshing that the Post not only had a lengthy and positive article on anything hockey, but that they made it the cover story. This naturally made me wonder how the article came to be. Have the editors of the Washington Post finally realized that the best athlete in the NHL and arguably in all of sports plays right here on F Street?
During a WashingtonPost.com live discussion this afternoon, Witt took questions and comments on her piece. Mine:
Burke, Va [Gustafsson]: Who had the idea for the piece? You or the editors of the Post? Hockey coverage in the Post leaves a lot to be desired, so I was wondering who took the initiative to do the cover story of the magazine?
April Witt: Actually, I went to a Caps game on a date last season and my date suggested that I write about this hot new Russian player named Alexander Ovechkin. I didn’t think I could write a sustained magazine piece on Alex at the time because he spoke so little English. Several months ago, I was lunching with a colleague who mentioned that Ovechkin would make a good cover story for the magazine. By then, Alex had learned enough English to make a magazine cover feasible. Frankly, I don’t think he was all that thrilled about giving me the access I needed to write the piece. He’s accustomed to sports writers asking questions in the locker room – not following him home! I was impressed by how gracious he was even when he clearly wanted to get rid of me.
Burke, Va [Gustafsson]: Was it your first hockey game live?
April Witt: It was my first professional hockey game. I attended a few games in college.
Why does it not surprise me that the genesis of the article was not from on high in the Post Sports Department?
On behalf of OFB, Ms. Witt — and your date of excellent social taste — we owe you a beer.