It’s around 1:45 AM on a Saturday morning, and I finally have some time to really put together a halfway decent post that puts a bow on the 2010-11 season from a personal standpoint.
Covering a bad team has the potential to not be a whole lot of fun, and this was a bad team. Thing is, I’m still not sure I understand why. Maybe I’m too close to the forest to see the trees, but I honestly believe there was enough talent on this team for their fate to be a lot better than what it ultimately was. Fact is, though, that 15 teams in a 19 team league make the playoffs, and Trenton didn’t. That’s a bad team. But there’s time to talk about that at a later date.
I actually ended up covering more regular season games this year (29) than I had my first year in 2008-09 (28) or in 2009-10 (27). And, for the most part, I did have fun. For me, that’s the most important factor. Outside of some low-paying freelance work, I get paid in “thank you’s” and my own enjoyment of being fortunate enough to see professional hockey for free. But covering the team with Mike Radano of The Times and Hockey.org’s Josh Burke was a pleasure this season, and it certainly made some of those bad losses go by a little quicker.
The interactions I had with the fans who do follow the team was a pleasure as always, and although I can’t blame a lot of you for being negative with the way things have gone for the franchise over the past few seasons, I do hope that our conversations and my coverage have been a bright spot over the past three seasons.
I can say that for me personally, my interactions with the Trenton front office has been a bright spot. There are a lot of good, hard-working people there; from Jim Leahy to Dan D’Uva to everyone inbetween, and that’s one of many factors that’s made the 45-minute drive each way from my home a bit easier to take for the past three seasons.
Of course, my job would be significantly more difficult, if not impossible, without the cooperation of the players and coaching staff, and they again could not have been better to deal with as a whole. Kevin Dean was as accommodating as you could possibly be in his first season as the team’s head coach, and this year’s group of players was always very willing to both talk to me and help me find the players I needed to talk to if, by some stroke of luck, it wasn’t them who I needed to bother with my ridiculous queries.
There’s a lot that can change between now and October, but I’d like to come back for a fourth season. I think the growth that I made professionally as a hockey beat writer was immeasurable — from getting more than a few NHL opportunities through ECHL.com to the progression of my work covering Trenton — and I’d at least like to give it one more season before I hang em’ up, so to speak.
So thank you. Thank you for all of your support over the past three years…I can assure you that everyone’s kind comments and e-mails and personal conversations have meant a lot more than you might realize in making the sacrifices that go into doing this every season a little easier to deal with.
I can always be reached at mashmore98 AT gmail.com, and I hope everyone has a safe and healthy off-season. As of now…see you next season.