by Patrick Hoffman on 06/11/10 at 08:23 PM ET
This past week, I was luck enough to do an e-mail interview with a terrific hockey writer/blogger, Michelle Kenneth.
Currently, you can find Michelle’s work at Inside Hockey as well as her own blog, Michelle Kennth’s Hockey & Musings. Michelle was kind enough to take time out of her extremely hectic schedule to tell us about how she got into the game of hockey, how she got into covering the game she loves and her thoughts on the current landscape of hockey blogging.
She has a very interesting story to tell so scroll below to see what she has to tell us here at Kukla’s Korner.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
MK: I didn’t really get into hockey. Hockey was just something that happened to me. I went to my first hockey game January 2001. It was the Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals. Jaromir Jagr was playing for the Caps then. All anyone could talk about was Jagr, Jagr, Jagr. I walked away from my first hockey game with all of Jagr’s stats without even understanding what really took place at that game.
Fast forward four years later to October 13, 2005, I’m sitting in Madison Square Garden at my first Rangers game. They were playing against the New Jersey Devils that night. Someone had given me free tickets that night, which were four rows behind the goaltender (which also started my addiction to sitting so close to the ice).
I got this intuitive feeling while I was sitting behind Marty Brodeur that the universe was trying to tell me to pay attention to exactly what was about to happen next.
Someone famous was sitting in front of me and the Rangers players were talking about it at the faceoff. Steve Rucchin motioned my way to Jed Ortmeyer. I watched as Jed looked over to the guy sitting in front of me and then looked up at me. He smiled at me and went back to waiting for the puck to drop. It was the smile that confirmed to me that I needed to pay attention to what was about to happen next. That was when I heard over the loudspeakers that Jaromir Jagr had scored the last goal. Of course, I’m sitting there thinking…Jagr…isn’t that the guy from the Washington Capitals that came from the Pittsburgh Penguins? Then all of his stats came flooding back to me from the recesses of my mind from four years ago. In my second hockey game ever, Jaromir Jagr was in that game playing for the home team. After that, my love for the game began. I absorbed everything there was to know about the sport in two months, all the way down to the new rules (thanks to the lockout) and what was happening around the entire NHL.
The irony in all of this…it was a New York Ranger that started my career for me. It was the Devils that would help define it afterwards.
You can’t say that fate hadn’t been working that night foreshadowing things that were about to happen in my life.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
MK: I’m from Indiana. There was no hockey in Indiana when I was growing up. We were lucky to get something on TV from the Stanley Cup Finals. I really didn’t get into hockey until I was an adult.
For the longest time Jaromir Jagr was my favorite player because he was playing for the team I was watching during my formulative hockey years. My favorite team was whatever team Jagr was playing for.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be involved in hockey as a writer/blogger?
MK: About two weeks after my grandfather died in June 2007. The month before my grandfather died he told me that I needed to get on my path in life. He said that I was once on my path, but then I got off of it. He never could understand why I got off of it.
He told me that it was only when I got on my path in life that everything would work out more magically than I could ever dream it could be. At the time he told me this, I had no idea what my path in life was. I had been involved in the music business, working with charitable organizations, etc. I was doing a lot of amazing things, but to me, it just wasn’t fulfilling. It wasn’t my calling in life.
Two weeks after he died, I was contacted by one of the editors at Orato.com (a Vancouver based news site) and she offered me my first hockey column.
I never applied for this job. A friend of mine recommended me to them and they contacted me to find out if I’d be interested in having my own hockey column. I agreed to it. I asked Darius Kasparaitis (then a New York Ranger) if he’d be my first interview, and he agreed to do it.
After that, I realized that my grandfather had a little something to do with all of the changes that happened in my life right after he died. Being a writer…a hockey writer at that…was my calling in life. Things have turned out more magically than I could ever imagine my life could be. It’s been one incredible, fun and amazing ride.
PH: What outlets/blogs have you covered hockey for?
MK: I started off with Orato.com and then went to Inside Hockey. Inside Hockey has also published my work with Fox Sports, MSN and Yardbarker.
PH: How did you get started at Inside Hockey?
MK: Guy Carbonneau’s nephew recommended me to Inside Hockey. He thought it would be a good start in preparing me for my dream job (which he’s a huge supporter of), which is to become the first female GM of a NHL team.
I went through a two week interview process with Kevin Greenstein, the editor-in-chief of Inside Hockey, until he finally gave me the Devils as my beat.
PH: What are you trying to bring readers who visit your work on Inside Hockey?
MK: I always take pride in what I turn in to Inside Hockey. I usually save the best work for Inside Hockey because it is one of the most respected hockey websites around. I save the serious reporting for Inside Hockey. I don’t try to scoop stories. I’m not THAT kind of reporter. What I do want to bring is the human side of hockey to the fans. That has always been my angle since my very first interview. The stories I enjoy writing the most are the human interest stories like John Madden’s story growing up hockey or David Clarkson’s Goon With the Big Heart series.
Those are the stories that inspire future hockey players and people in general, whether as a human being or just for the love and respect of the game.
PH: You also have your own site. Tell us about it.
MK: Michelle Kenneth’s Hockey & Musings was just a place that I designed to put all of my writings in one place so that my family and friends didn’t have to look all over the net to find what I’d written recently because I’ve written on a variety of subjects and have stuff all over the place. The blog started off as just an index to all of my articles, photos, etc.
After a while, it evolved into what it is today. It’s turned into a blog about my journey in life and my musings on just about anything that comes to mind.
The blog has become more popular than the items I write for Inside Hockey. One New Jersey Devil told me that the team didn’t read my column, they read my blog. They only read my column when I direct them to it from my blog. Granted, I take great pride in my work at Inside Hockey. The blog is basically just my thoughts, not my reporting. Apparently people like the blog more.
PH: What are you trying to bring readers who visit your site?
MK: Since I started writing my book on my latest journey I’ve undertaken, I started to move the site into a more inspiring place where people can take inspiration from what I do in my life. There are many that inspire to become hockey writers, etc. But there are more people out there just trying to find their way in life. The blog has turned into a place where people can actually visually read that someone out there has made their unimaginable dreams come true. It’s designed now to inspire people to
become greater human beings and to learn that anything is possible.
Over the past year, I’ve received a lot of emails from various readers telling me how much I’ve inspired them or how something they read on the site inspired them to change something in their life. They were basically thanking me for showing them a new direction in life. That, to me, is more important than just writing about hockey all of the time.
But since my journey involves a lot of hockey, there’s a lot of hockey in there too…the good, the bad, and the ugly sides.
PH: How do you think hockey blogs will evolve even further?
MK: I think in order for a hockey blog to evolve above the rest…the kind of blogs that bring in the high numbers…you have to have your own niche. PsychoLadyHockey.com has her own niche. It may be controversial, but she has her own niche and market in the hockey realm. I respect what she’s doing and what she’s discovering in life. People like to read about other people’s lives.
Then there are places like Hockeybuzz that cater to that strange demand in the hockey realm where people want rumors, rumors and more rumors. It doesn’t matter if the rumor is true or not. People just demand to hear something…anything interesting about their team or a hockey player.
A hockey blog that only reports information is starting to become a blog of the past. Very few people these days want ONLY the news. I always evolve the blog in a direction based on the type of news I WANT TO READ. That also means that when I’m interviewing players, I’m asking the questions that I would want to read about in the news, not what I think my readers want to read. In the end, it ends up being something that people really do want to know.
PH: Any words of wisdom for readers here at Kukla’s Korner?
MK: Like my grandfather said, get on your path in life. It is only when you are on your path in life that things work out more magically than you can ever imagine. I’m living proof that it’s true.
When you’re not on your path, nothing works out. It is only when you are on your path…that’s when life becomes fulfilling.
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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.