by Patrick Hoffman on 08/16/11 at 12:21 PM ET
Recently, I was lucky enough to do an e-mail interview with veteran Calgary Flames/Northwest Division blogger Shaune Vetter of HockeyBuzz.com.
Shaune was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he became a hockey blogger, what he does for HB as well as his thoughts on hockey blogging in general.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
SV: Like most Canadians, I “inhertited” my love of hockey the natural way: through my father. I remember him bringing the TV into the dining room to watch the Canadiens during their Cup runs in the 70’s when I was just starting elementary school. I learned to skate when I was four and have loved the game ever since. I spent days on outdoor rinks and Saturday nights glued to the TV. I even listed my favorite TV show in a grade three social studies project as Hockey Night in Canada. Playing hockey was always the most enjoyable thing I did.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
SV: Originally, it was Montreal because that’s who my dad liked and in Alberta, the Hockey Night In Canada games we got were the Canadiens, but then the Oilers joined the NHL and I loved the style they played. Fast, high-scoring, brash. It was such a rush to watch them. I was from Calgary, but the Flames didn’t have a team yet and of course we saw all Oilers games for that season. I became a big Gretzky fan and we moved to Edmonton in August 1980. I was pretty happy to finally be in a city with an NHL team, but then the Flames moved to Calgary. Of course I had to switch allegiances! My favorite Flame was Paul Reinhart. Has to be one of the most under-rated defensemen of all time. He played all zones, all situations, and even moved up to forward on powerplays because of his superior vision. back injuries cut short his career, which was unfortunate because he could have been one of the all-time greats.
PH: At one point in your life did you know that you wanted to get involved in hockey as a blogger?
SV: When I went back to school to finally get a degree at almost 30, I had an English prof who really encouraged me to write. It was something that always stuck with me and I wrote on and off just to keep the energy flowing. Back when the Internet was still in it’s infancy I would write responses to TSN or other sites and see them post what I had written. That was back in the late 90’s and something I kind of kept in mind as I finished school. I worked as a bartender while I was in school and I was always discussing sports, and particularly hockey, as I worked so discussing the game has been a passion of mine for years. Once I was out of school, I didn’t have the captive audience I once had so I turned to writing down my thoughts, fortunately people weren’t just interested in what I had to say because I controlled when they got their next drink!
PH: How did you get the Calgary Flames blogging gig at HockeyBuzz.com?
SV: In a word, persistence. You have to remember that during the lockout there wasn’t much of anything going on on the hockey front. Hockeybuzz was one of the few sites that at least contained regular updates on what was going on. I went for the news. Once hockey came back and the site was expanded I started sending in blogs to show my work. I wrote about the Flames, the Oilers, the Canucks. anything just to get read. I got posted as a guest a few times before getting the gig, but my relentless writing paid off. One thing that professor said to me was that writers don’t “want” to write, they NEED to. I guess I just needed a viable forum in which to express myself and once I found an opportunity, I thrived on the opportunity.
PH: What are you trying to bring readers on a daily basis at your blog?
SV: Essentially my view on what I see, hear and feel. It’s often said that you should “write what you know”, so that’s what I do. I try to draw on my experience and what I know about the game and interpret it the way I see it. I don’t try to be what I’m not. I’m not a rumor-monger or a stats-junkie, I’m a person that has a particular view of the game and try to share that view with my readers. It’s always gratifying when you get feedback about a topic where someone accentuated something that I thought was obvious but no-one else seems to see.
PH: How do you think the hockey blogging community has grown as a whole in the last few years?
SV: It’s exploded! There are so many people out there that write great stuff that there’s always something worth reading, somewhere. The simple fact is, most people now look to the Internet first for their information and blogging is a way to get opinions from various sources to get a large cross-section of opinion that simply wasn’t available even a decade ago. There’s also a lot more professionalism involved than there once was as the media grows from its infancy. It’s an exciting time to be involved.
PH: How do you think that hockey blogs/bloggers will continue to expand in the future?
SV: I think the stigma of people in their parents basements spewing drivel just to get noticed will go away. After all, despite the cries of “wolf” from some, most bloggers are potentially more accountable for what they do then people think. If you write garbage, people simply won’t read your stuff. It’s very simple I think. There are many talented writers and different views that are portrayed by the blogosphere which were simply not available in the traditional media format for various reasons. I think that the information available will continue to expand as new writers try to get their voice heard by a wider audience.
PH: Anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
SV: Keep an open mind. Read what others see but always form your own opinion whether it be players, teams, or even writers. Also, no-one who makes it to the NHL sucks. If there’s one pet-peave I have about fans who talk hockey it’s the person who starts with “team x, or player y sucks”. You know what? You don’t get to the NHL if you suck. Trust me, it simply doesn’t happen. There may be huge deficiencies in their game, but believe me when I say that it takes more than most people will ever know to get to that level. It’s an asinine way to start a discussion and, for me at least, shows a complete lack of knowledge about the subject. One more thing: We’re all in this together. At the end of the day, we’re all only interested in the health and growth of the game. We want hockey to be as good as it can be for all fans to enjoy it!
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.