by Patrick Hoffman on 08/09/12 at 02:28 PM ET
It is not very often that I get to conduct an e-mail interview with an Emmy Award winning producer so when I do, it is an absolute honor and pleasure.
Today, I am proud to bring to you an e-mail interview I conducted with Matt Sitkoff. Sitkoff, who won a 2009 Sports Emmy Award for his work on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, is now a segment producer for NHL Network Programming.
Matt was kind enough to take some time out of his very busy schedule to tell us about how he got into hockey, how he got involved in sports media, and what he does for the NHL Network.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
MS: I have been in love with the game from the very first time I put on skates and luckily for me it was at an early age. My neighborhood had this Cul-de-sac and every day after school a bunch of us would go and play street hockey. These games were intense and really toughened me up so many bruises and blood and Stanley Cup game 7’s were won in that Cul-de-sac. We would play all night and wear Flyers jerseys pretending to be our heroes. It was such a great introduction to the sport.
I transitioned that into learning to ice skate and play hockey with some of the neighborhood boys, at that time the rink was about 45 minutes to an hour away from our house. I am really thankful that my parents saw my passion for the sport at an early age and were a big influence on me playing the game for so long.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
MS: Well, growing up in Philadelphia area you really can only love one team and that is the Philadelphia Flyers. My dad is a Philadelphia sports NUT and when I say nut, I mean he would watch the replays of the games even though he knew who won just to critique what would happen more. So, I would watch all the games with him and really became an enjoyable experience to understand what was really going on. It did not hurt that the Flyers were in the middle of a great run with two Stanley Cup appearances in three seasons.
My favorite player growing up was Ron Sutter, former Captain of the Flyers and a part of the famous Sutter family. Sutter was just the perfect player to love he would grind and defend his teammates always willing to stick up for them. I wanted to play that way in the ultimate team sport. He was never going to be the superstar of teams that had Tim Kerr, Brian Propp, Pelle Eklund and Ron Hextall but he sure as heck was going to let you know he was out there.
This summer I was fortunate enough to join Coach Darryl Sutter and his day with the Stanley Cup and got to meet Ron and talk old time hockey with him. Boy, that will be a memory I will always remember.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be involved in sports/hockey media?
MS: Having a father who likes sports SOOOO much and always being involved with sports as a youth, I knew very early on that this was the career I wanted. I was very lucky to have a family friend in the media industry, Wally Kennedy. He would always talk to me whenever we got together of what it is like to be in the media industry.
So finally when it came time to really start thinking of a career my senior year of high school, because working the shoe department of JC Penny was not going to cut it for me, Mr. Kennedy brought me to the Philadelphia ABC studio and introduced me to the Sports Anchor at the time Scott Palmer. That day forever changed my life and I knew right then and there I was going to do what they did.
PH: You now work for the NHL Network as a producer. How did you get that gig?
MS: I was given good advice before college that Internships, Internships and Internships were the way to be successful in this industry. I took that to heart and grab any I could get within the sports industry. From the big market sports department at Fox 29 in Philadelphia to the small market at WHP CBS 21 in Harrisburg, PA to the all-sports network of CSN Philadelphia. I also interned and ended up working for the Public Relations of the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL and lifelong dream of mine came true when I got to intern for the Philadelphia Flyers in the PR Department.
With that all that on my resume it landed me a job with ESPN. After almost seven years of amazing experiences and great times at Bristol U, it was time to follow my true passion and love for the game of hockey and take a position with the National Hockey League.
PH: How do you think the NHL Network has become one of the leaders in terms of hockey content?
MS: The NHL Network is where the NHL gets hockey! We are all about the best fans in the world and making sure that we are the number one source for fans of all 30 NHL teams.
PH: Is there anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
MS: Hockey is all about the fans and that is why we all do what we do to educate, entertain and spark a debate of opinions. With that in mind feel free to tweet me @msitkoff anytime because I love talking hockey.
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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.