Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

An E-mail Interview with Hockey Blogger Cam Charron

While we obviously all love Kukla’s Korner, there are a lot of other great hockey blogs out there.

One such blog is the Score’s Backhand Shelf, which is run by the great Justin Bourne. I was lucky enough to conduct an e-mail interview with one of the site’s terrific bloggers, Cam Charron.

Cam 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, a little bit about some of the sites he is blogging for and more.

PH: How did you get into hockey?
CC: Basically, I’m just like any other kid who was growing up in Canada. It was on TV all the time, I played road hockey with my brother and collected cards as a kid. I don’t recall ever making a conscious choice to watch this sport, it was always available for me and I took to it quickly.

PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
CC: I loved Pavel Bure and the Vancouver Canucks. I’m not sure which begat the other, but I stuck with the Canucks even after the Bure trade for a while.

PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a hockey writer?
CC: During Grade 10 we had a writing assignment that had to be some non-fiction story. I believe I had a supportive uncle read over what I had and he liked what I had written and he encouraged me to write and blog as much as I could. It took me a while to get into writing every day, but for about six years I never imagined that I’d do anything other than write about sports. It just seems natural for me to argue things I like arguing about.

PH: Tell us about who gave you your start as a hockey writer/blogger. What did you learn in your first hockey blogging gig?
CC: Like a lot of kids looking to get into the business, I wrote for the sports section of my school newspaper. It just so happened that our school was getting a hockey team the year I took over, so I got some experience learning to frame questions, as well as being a primary source of information. I don’t think that second aspect carries over to NHL writing too much.

As for blogging, a lot of it is the marketing aspect. There’s SEOs and post times and things that you don’t really think about having an impact, but even something as simple as an engaging headline is important to bring a few hundred extra readers. I don’t consider myself established by any means, though, and I’m still learning something every day it seems, and keep approaching the same problems from a different angle.

Like, nobody wants to read about advanced hockey analytics if it’s just a bunch of math. I’m looking and working on ways to broaden my work to as many people as I can.

PH: You are one of the main bloggers for Justin Bourne’s Backhand Shelf blog. How did you get that gig?
CC: I’ve been told that one of the writers at Puck Daddy forwarded Justin my independent copy when Backhand Shelf was in development stages. I guess he liked it, and he sent me a direct message on Twitter late one night. It was fun to see it sort of pan out from there. It was fun to be a part of since Justin solicited opinions on the site’s direction early on from his freelancers through email threads and conference calls. He wanted everybody on the same page, and that seems kind of unheard of in other places.

PH: What are you trying to bring readers over at Backhand Shelf?
CC: My job is the “stat guy” but over a year of writing about stats you use them to find better stories. Oftentimes the stats aren’t the stories. I look at research that other people have done and apply it to current players and teams and what’s currently transpiring.

I also give general managers free advice on how to manage their teams. I’m shocked at how little they follow it.

PH: You are also now the managing editor of Leafs Nation. How are you enjoying that gig?
CC: It’s my first time running a blog with other writers. It’s fun to be a primary voice, but there are a lot of challenges.

PH: What are you looking to bring readers at Leafs Nation?
CC: Basically we want to be a big outlet for not only quality analysis, but also inclusive discussion. That requires a lot of writers with different opinions and with them, they bring their own readership with different opinions. I think the writer’s personality matters a lot when you decide whether or not to stick with reading a blog you enjoy and I want to showcase that.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: backhand+shelf, cam+charron, justin+bourne, kukla's+korner, leafs+nation

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About Goal Line Report

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 patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.