NYI Fan Central Goes Professional?

New York Islander Fan Central | 8/15/2008 10:28:00 AM |
For my vacation project before I depart I thought I would share something I did Friday with my readers.

I have no idea what the response will be (if anything) but on this day I contacted the current President of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America, Kevin Allen and asked how I can become a member?

In this instance I told Mr Allen I would only print his response only if it was ok with him, as many know he does some very informative articles on the club in USA Today that are linked here often, I told him about my background covering hockey in cyberspace the last decade and invited him to view this blog.

No, this is not about me all of a suddenly wanting to do interviews or receive credentials to go into lockerooms, that has never been my interest but after a decade plus writing about hockey and over thirty years of being a fan of hockey and the New York Islanders reading articles why would I not be qualified to make my viewpoint on this blog professional?

At the very least the answer could help others who would like to know?

Why now, some may ask?
I always try and draw the line between Professional Writers and Independent amateur writers or folks with blogs which is a somewhat of a new name for an old practice of writing about hockey. I thought it would be a fun project to do some ground work on the subject for everyone.

I also stumbled onto an old article from the Islanders website back in April of 2006 where Miroslav Satan was cited by the Association for professionalism or the good guy award, what caught my attention was who made up the Long Island Chapter (Mark Herrmann notes he is a former President) of this association.

One individual was listed as a member off a website where basically anyone could write if they applied with some basic qualifications, the others were Mr Botte (Daily News) Mr Hahn (Newsday) Mr Grossman (Post) and two AP writers at the time.

So I visited that website and looked at their qualifications to become a writer. I will leave out the site and the writer because it's not about them or their site but how someone could become a member of the Association off of a website that had the following credentials to join:

From 2006:
Team Correspondent -
The site is seeking professional individuals who will be responsible for covering and reporting on a specific hockey team throughout the hockey season, as well as writing articles/columns on the specified team for our monthly publication. Each Team Correspondent must reside in the city of which he/she covers. The ideal candidate(s) must be a motivated team player, have a strong passion for the sport of hockey and solid understanding of the sport and the National Hockey League.
• Create monthly written material pertaining to the team assigned and covered.
• Reports to the Editor-in-Chief.
• Past or current sports journalism experience a necessity.
• University Degree and/or College Diploma in the field of journalism/media a plus.
• Excellent sports and hockey knowledge.
• Excellent verbal communication and written skills.
It should be noted outside of two Islander website/Newsday reports this site does not list a current article or writer for the New York Islanders to the best of my knowledge and even then they listed about a dozen clubs needing a writer.

About a decade ago I did a little inquiring on this subject and it led me to a site called McKeens Hockey which I'm sure a few of you know that does some fine work about prospects.

We did a phone interview after some e-mails and basically they wanted me to moderate their information forum and write articles but I declined at the time because it was also about generating revenue for the site and looking for advertisers while I only wished to write about hockey and the Isles prospects.

That led me to Hockey's Future where my qualification was they needed a writer and I guess running Islanders-Sound Tigers was enough after the other writer left.

From Jim Smith to George Vecesy to the days Mike Lupica covered the club and called the Nassau Coliseum Fort Neverlose there is nothing I have not seen written about this team. Marc Berman did a fantastic job on the beat for this team for the Post as did Doug Gould, Joe Gergen and sure folks like Larry Brooks were around in 1980 and of course Mark Herrmann and Jay Greenberg had a more active hand in hockey coverage in those days but back then hockey was a bigger player in the New York media.

Where will this lead?
In the best case scenario I guess New York Islander Fan Central submits an application and somewhere along the way can stamp the word " PROFESSIONAL " over everything I write here but because there is no spot for that on this blog and I'm not changing the header unless Garth Snow trades someone, I suppose I can put a sticky on my keyboard reminding me from time to time but that's about it.

Having written that maybe it could help a few other folks and a hockey market that desperately needs more professional writers and space for content as they ask why they cannot become a member?

I keep my opinion of amateur content off this site aside from noting their effort (on occasion) to bring us information but I can tell you the work from the Islanders blog box members and a lot of other fan sites writing about the club currently would be a vast improvement to what little coverage we receive now.

Anyway that's my pre-vacation project.

Time for a little summer color tweaking of the blog look, the traditional colors of NYI Fan Central will return. I guess we can call this look the road whites in an era where the sport badly needs a return to home clubs wearing white.

Home dark uniform looked out of place in the sixties and early seventies, it still does today.