In three years, I’ve had the opportunity to see three playoff runs, two series wins, dueling hat tricks, Game 7 heroics and had the opportunity to be part of one of the best communities in sports. After three seasons of covering perhaps the most electric team hockey, though, my time as a member of the OnFrozenBlog team has come to an end.
When I think back about what made covering the Caps so amazing, I realized it wasn’t the stories I wrote or the games I covered. Instead, it was the chance to be a part of this vast Caps community that made it so special. While the chance to cover good hockey has always been my dream, I never knew the thing I would cherish most would be the relationships I forged while doing it.
All of the dedicated OFB fans have suffered through my analysis and writing since I first debuted way back in 2007, and, to that, I have to say thank you. Just knowing that people thought what I had to say was worth reading was inspiration enough for me. It was all your comments and feedback that helped shape me as a writer. I am not just talking about all of the positive things I heard, either–those of you who disagreed with me were of a great help as well. You allowed me to see an eloquently written counter argument to what I had to say, which is always important.
Some of the opportunities I had here are ones some people don’t get in a lifetime. Whether it was standing three feet from my favorite hockey player of all time or breaking into a cold sweat because I got to speak to Sergei Fedorov, all of the people I got to meet and talk with will be memories I carry with me forever. They are the kind of stories I know I will tell my children and their children.
Of those experiences, though, it is not the big stars I enjoyed speaking with the most, but the people with the best stories. Getting the chance to sit down with Nate Ewell and learn how he became the face of Caps PR was the most fascinating piece I wrote, while waking up before the crack of dawn to see our own Miss America, Tara Wheeler, off to the pageant was the most unique interview. Then of course there was Matty Perreault, who I got to interview in the cold at Chevy Chase, in the locker room and at Kettler. He never turned down an interview, and I always was grateful for that. Oh, and I will always remember when he turned to the camera during a video shoot and waved.
Those three experiences have got to be the most memorable ones, but really being accepted into this community is what I will never forget. I am always astounded when someone approaches me and asks if I am the guy from OFB. Whenever that happens it always reminds me how great you the readers are. It is you guys and gals that make the magic happen. Without your dedication and support this would be nothing. It has always been our readers involvement that has made me want to play a whole 60 minutes, even if the team we live vicariously through doesn’t.
Of course above all else, the people I am most thankful for throughout this journey has to be my colleagues here at OFB. Every one of them has had a profound impact on my life and are people I hope to continue to have a relationship with. If it wasn’t for their belief in me as a writer, I would never have had the chance to grace your computer screens.
So without being too sappy, I just want to thank everyone for allowing this to happen. A big thank you to Matty Perreault, Braden Holtby, Marcus Johannson, Mike Knuble, Donald Brashear, Michal Neuvirth, Nicky Backstrom, Bruce Boudreau and the whole team who had to put up with my questions every night.
To John, Lis, Mike, Gary, Liz and Alex, thank you for all the support you gave me night in and night out. You guys helped hone the product I had the privilege to publish on OFB.
Finally to all of our readers, once more thank you. Love me, hate me, agree with me or disagree with me, I thank you for taking the time to let me into your hockey lives. I’ll still be around on Twitter and I bet you will see me more than a few times in a Caps jersey next season. Hockey is in my blood, it will always be a huge part of my life ,and now the Caps will always be in my blood, too.