I’ve got to be honest — for the past five or six months, it’s almost hurt more than excited me to talk about the 2011 Winter Classic. I knew chances were that the team that got me to fall in love with hockey just a year ago was going to be playing in the biggest regular season event in franchise history come New Years Day, and I wouldn’t be able to witness it because of the ‘blogger albatross’ label. We’ve all been a little bit on edge here over the past few months regarding blogging access and policy rumors in the NHL, which, after experiencing the democracy with which the Capitals’ organization treats bloggers, and knowing that such treatment was not universally met with by other NHL organizations, had me prepared for inevitable rejection when I applied for a Winter Classic credential (in what was actually a pretty quick application process).
Well, I was wrong, and thanks to the hard work that John, Gary, Mike, Liz, Andrew and Alex have done in building up On Frozen Blog, a St. Therese novena, and some awesome, visionary NHL employees who I hope will live forever, the NHL made one girl’s dream come true earlier today: I’m going to be representing On Frozen Blog with media credentials at this year’s Winter Classic. I’m thrilled — thrilled for my parents, who’ve had to listen to me agonize over this for months; thrilled for OFB, because this is an incredible acknowledgment of the aforementioned team’s hard work to show that blogging is an essential and respected part of building and satisfying hockey audiences; and thrilled for the Capitals’ organization, because they’ve shown that supporting local blogs can pay off big time, and that blogs if given the chance can broaden coverage in fun and fresh ways.
I can’t wait to freeze to death New Years weekend; I can’t wait to ask Brooks Laich afterwards (and not two days later, like I initially figured) whether he decided to use that pair of magic mitts he told OFB he used growing up to play outside; I can’t wait to see Alex Ovechkin’s face when he steps out onto the ice; I can’t wait to lose five pounds being squished between countless reporters trying to catch Oveckin’s post-game comments; I can’t wait to be an anonymous blogger at one of hockey’s biggest events.
Most especially I can’t wait to get up close to one of the best rivalries in all of pro sports and to watch the rest of the country fall in love with hockey like I did.