In late 2017, I was sitting in a small lecture at the University of Colorado Boulder wondering just what the hell I was going to do with my life.
A naive, wide-eyed Comms major in his final semester victory lap, I sat in that 15-person classroom quietly perusing job boards. LinkedIn, Indeed, TeamworkOnline, resume and cover letter-building websites, etc. were just a few of the tabs I had opened on my laptop.
I had no idea what direction I was to go in my life. But I knew one thing…
I wanted to work in sports, preferably hockey, a sport which I had played nearly my entire life and was an avid fan of.
In limiting my desperate job searches, I came across an internship opportunity with the Colorado Avalanche. Media Relations and Communications Intern, the job posting read. I really had no business applying for it as a grossly under-qualified college senior, but I figured why the hell not; what do I have to lose. I applied right then and there in that small 15-person classroom in the basement of the history building.
A few days later, I fielded a call from Danielle Bernstein, the Avalanche’s wonderful media relations coordinator, calling me in for an interview at Family Sports Center, the Avs practice facility in Centennial, Colorado. I couldn’t have said yes fast enough.
I arrived at the facility, nervous as all hell, greeted by Danielle, Callie Parmele and Ron Knaubenbauer (the latter two managed the Avs website as reporters, as some of you may know), who sat across the table from me.
I bombed the interview. At one point, Ron had asked me how well-versed I was in AP Style editing, to which I answered “uuum, AP Style is like the method of citing your sources in a research document, right?”
I left the practice facility ready to chalk up my embarrassing interview as a great learning experience, knowing damn well I wasn’t going to get it.
A couple of days later, my phone rang from a number I recognized as Danielle Bernstein’s. I picked up, certain I was going to get the “Thanks for coming in, but we’re going to go another direction” HR schtick. Quite the opposite, though. I learned that I’d start the following Tuesday.
That was almost exactly four years ago to the day, actually.
Before my role in the Avs organization, I had no experience creatively writing. I hated it actually, and consistently struggled to meet mandatory word counts across all of my high school and collegiate essays and research papers. So, of course, part of my new role with the Avalanche was to write. We were tasked to write game previews, prospect updates and chip in a few feature stories here and there.
I remember my first interview. Vividly. It was back at the Avs practice facility. I was tapped to do a Q&A on J.T. Compher for the Avs program. Nervous and red-faced, I grabbed a seat next to J.T. in the locker room after practice and shakily read off my questions off a piece of scrap paper I had nervously scrawled the questions upon, so as to not forget them in my panicky state. I wish that interview was recorded so I could see just how far I’ve come.
After a few more interviews, I got my legs underneath me a bit. And after more and more writing responsibilities—and a few more trips being called into Ron’s office for making the same dumb AP Style mistakes—I eventually had gotten better at that too.
Suddenly, I loved writing, and I felt like I was kind of good at it too. I felt like reporting could maybe be my calling.
So once that internship had ended in June of 2018, I looked for another gig in a similar role. That fall, I landed a PR internship with the Colorado Eagles, where I was able to write and report about the Eagles during their first season in the AHL. I loved that too. And once that ended in early 2019, my vision of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life became clearer.
Much clearer than it was that fateful afternoon in that 15-person classroom.
I then went on to cover the Avs and Eagles for Mile High Hockey, where I continued to fall in love with reporting and writing and engaging with Avs fans on social media, all while building up a portfolio of content.
And then it happened. Out of nowhere.
One afternoon, I woke up from a bottomless mimosa-induced nap to a follow and a DM from Adrian Dater on Twitter. He introduced himself, said he had kept up with my work and was looking to add a hungry, young writer like myself to join his newest venture: Colorado Hockey Now.
I couldn’t believe the legendary Adrian Dater was DMing me of all people. A few days later, we’d meet at My Brother’s Bar (an absolute must for you Denverites, by the way), for burgers and beer to talk about joining his site, and getting a press box credential and fulfilling my dream of covering an NHL team. The rest is history.
Fast forward to today, as I reflect on this wild ride it’s been these past two seasons at CHN, I have so much to be thankful for.
From lonely nights in airports, to traffic jams in Tahoe, to even the more simple day-to-day tedium of practice coverage, pre-game skates and late nights at Ball Arena. It’s been a journey, and I’ve loved every fucking minute of it.
But I need to be honest with you all about something.
This was never my full-time job. I have one of those, at a digital marketing firm. Great salary, benefits, 401k, HSA, unlimited PTO—all the white collar, corporate-level bureaucratic bullshit fresh-out-of-college 20-somethings like myself eat up. But as responsibilities increase over at the 9-to-5, it monopolizes much of my time these days. As a result, I’ve been spread so thin, physically and emotionally, and I just can’t pour my heart into Avalanche coverage the way I want to anymore. And in what little time I do have these days, I just really don’t have it in me to make it to the rink anymore and stay those late nights or give up my weekends.
To put it bluntly: my heart just hasn’t been into it as much as it should be anymore. Dater could see it, I obviously felt it, and I’m sure much of you noticed lately as well.
And when that happens—when your heart’s not 100% into something—you’re only doing yourself, and those around you, a disservice. You have to step away. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. Not only for myself, but for you, the loyal readers and subscribers, who shouldn’t have to be subjected to my half-assed quality of work.
So here goes.
It’s with a heavy heart that I am stepping away from CHN.
Selfishly, this decision was made for me. It’s time I focus on myself, my friends, my family, my relationships, my mental health, and use this newfound freetime to build those things back up.
This wasn’t an easy decision to make, obviously. Because, like I said earlier, I’ve loved every fucking second of this gig. But as the industry has waned drastically over the years, it’s becoming clear that maybe this is my ceiling. It’s hard to break into the sports industry and it’s even harder to make a living on this, though I wish I could. It’s why I commend Adrian for how long he’s made it in the biz, and he’s done so with so much passion and vigor. The industry hasn’t been easy on him, and we all know he’s been knocked down a few times, but you can’t keep the guy down. Much respect to you, as always, AD.
He’s done great things with this humble site, and he’s brought on a great new sidekick in Terry Frei. And rumor has it he’s looking to add another young ambitious writer—the next Scott MacDonald, so to speak 😉 —to join his cast. I can’t recommend it enough.
You all are in great hands with AD and Terry. There’s no doubt about that.
So now it’s time for me to ride into the sunset.
But before I do, I want to thank all of YOU for welcoming me with open arms, engaging with me on the site and on social media, and for putting up with some pretty bad takes and bad bloopers every once in a while. I sincerely thank you for following along, from the bottom of my heart.
And, of course, thank you to Adrian for giving this young writer a chance. That’s all I’ve ever really asked for, and he gave me a platform—an opportunity—to give my dream a fair shake.
And who knows, maybe I’ll be invited back to write a little column or analysis every once in a while throughout the season. If you’ll have me back, of course.
So I now humbly bid you all adieu.
Thank you for everything.
It’s not goodbye forever. It’s just so long…for now.
I’ll be back.
All the best,