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Hockey Challenge 2014

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A Change in Philosophy

As many of you know, last season was especially tough in the life of this blogger. No... It wasn't tough in a "lose your job" kind of way. It was tough going through a season trying to stay objective in the face of a team that was pretty darn lousy. There are only so many times you can say "Pickard is awesome, the defense is making too many mistakes and nobody scores besides Rai".

This, coupled with some other "factors", made me consider hanging it up. At the end of the day, I certainly don't need this blog. It's like having a second job that doesn't pay the bills and it really isn't that much fun having Thunderbird "fans" harass you for providing free content to read simply because they don't agree with your point of view.

Summer came and summer went and my energy has been renewed to a certain extent. I was excited to be writing again and I was excited to start working on roster construction articles and mathematically breaking down whether this team could make enough progress to find themselves back in the playoffs again (article soon to follow).

For the past 3 seasons I have "covered" the team like a journalist without a media pass, like a beat reporter with no ability to attend practice and limited ability to travel with the team. As a result, I feel like my role as a "reporter" has suffered. I simply do not have time to attend every prospect scrimmage, training camp scrimmage and every single game. I have a life and that life includes a lot of things outside of Thunderbirds hockey. Does that mean I can't still provide fans with some quality content? I don't think so and I'm betting on the fact that a lot of fans still want to hear what I have to say (maybe I'm wrong!!)

3 years ago, the team issued very few press releases, offered very little information and most certainly didn't have a Facebook profile and a Twitter account to better disseminate basic information to the fans. The team now does all of that. Want to know who was invited to prospect camp? Go check the website. Want to know how former Tbirds are doing? Check their Facebook page. Want to have live updates on scoring from the game when you can't be there? Check their Twitter page.

All of these developments are things I wished the team had done 3 years ago… hence the genesis of Let's Go Birds. So the question is what should I do now that the reasons for starting the website have been fulfilled? Do I quit? Or do I adapt and evolve?

I've always thought to that the model for my website should look like USS Mariner. For those who are Mariner fans and have never visited their (not so) little website, I highly recommend it. If you want to become a more educated baseball fan, check it out. USS Mariner doesn't "report" on the Mariners very much because they have the Seattle Times, P.I. and TNT doing that for them. The Thunderbirds don't really have any traditional media outlets covering them, but most of the basic information fans are looking for can most certainly be found.

So what does this all mean?

It means that from this day forward I am changing the way I write Let's Go Birds. It's going to be less about "covering" the team and more about the analysis of the team. Obviously some topics and events will fall into a grey area between reporting and analysis and the line will become blurred. This will mean more content on big picture things and less about the details. If you want to know who is injured and how long they will be out, look for that some other place. I'm not going to go hunting down that information like a reporter would. If Marcel Noebels is hurt right now (which he is) I'm just not going to harass parents, players or front office staff members trying to find out what exactly is wrong. That is information you're just going to have to find in other places.

The team wants to treat me like any other fan with a blog. No special attention or privileges and no differentiation between myself and anyone else. I don't like it and I don't agree with it… but I don't have to and I'm certainly not going to sit here and cry into my keyboard about it either. Quite frankly, just like I don't really need this blog… I don't need input from players, coaches, front office or anyone else in order to provide the fans with quality content. I learned to skate when I was 4 years old and I've played this game for a total of 17 years between junior and adult recreational hockey. I think my knowledge of the game is strong but I'm also not arrogant enough to believe that I have everything figured out and I constantly strive to learn more about the game, this team and the WHL.

This won't be an easy transition. I'm not entirely sure how to do it, but I'm going to give it a shot and see how it goes.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... You know, I think this idea could work. Like you said, it's easy to get the basic facts, but no one really breaks down what those "facts" could mean in the grand scheme of things. Let's face it, anyone can "report" what they've heard, seen, or others have said. Gossip and innuendo abounds! But true analysis of this team? THAT is something of use to the fans.
Yeah Tyler, this could be good!


Anonymous said...

I'll be here. You provided plenty of insight not included in the t-bird web site. I check yoru site at least twice a week and get better info from you than anywhere else. Last season was the first I didn't go to even one game in 20 years, combo of them being out of the city, a bad team, ticket pricing and the helmet rule. I hope your new freedom can include some analysis of the missteps by WHL and Seattle have made in losing us old timers. Anyway, good luck and don't let any haters get you down.

Dave in Poulsbo

Anonymous said...

Tyler, with the lack of any traditional media to cover this team, any coverage is good. As an aside, to one of the responses, anyone who uses the term "retard" to describe another human being needs to look in the mirror first.

Thunnex said...

I would actually have to respectfully disagree with you quite strongly.

I would say that not all "coverage" is created equal and coverage that is crap is just that, crap.

Jim said...

Tyler, I empathize with your frustration. I respect the experience you bring to this blog and the work you do for it. I'll be here reading what you write and hope this works for you. I would miss this blog if it were gone.

Thunnex said...

I really do appreciate the kind words. I promise you this wasn't an attempt to fish for compliments but simply to inform everyone that my focus is going to shift.

Anonymous said...

Tyler i love this, your blog has always been the best and most accurate. Every post is worth reading on here.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to hear you will be around I learn so much from your insights. thank you

Thunnex said...

Thanks for the kind words. I'm not really sure how this is going to work but I'm going to try my best.

Thunnex said...

That's true... I do.

Unknown said...

Tyler, Do not stop, You keep writing, I find your blog to be very informative, truthful and unbiased. You can always send emails to Russ, Rob or Colin, it is worth a try, all they can do is say no. Pnltbox

Anonymous said...

Tyler -
Let your passion for the WHL and the T-Birds be the engine for your blog and not the comments of readers, good or bad. I am a frequent reader and appreciate your insights even when I disagree. As long as you are covering the team, I will be reading! - juva

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