by Patrick Hoffman on 10/12/09 at 04:43 PM ET
Good afternoon folks. I’m back from my weekend in MA/NH and while I would definitely like to acknowledge that the New York Rangers picked up their fourth victory of the season last night, I would like to go in a different direction today.
When you’ve been a hockey player almost all of your life, it’s hard to imagine doing anything else. However, one such player, a young one at that, had his jaw wired shot after taking a slap shot to his face, realized that there was other ways to be involved with the game other than playing. For this particular playing, that avenue was writing.
With that in mind, I’d like to introduce readers of Kukla’s Korner to Justin Bourne, son of former NHLer Bob and engaged to HOFer Clark Gilles’ daughter. Justin was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to share his thoughts on how he got into the game, how he started writing/blogging and his thoughts on the current season. Enjoy after the scroll below.
PH: How did you get hooked on hockey? Who was your favorite team/player growing up?
JB: My Dad played in the NHL, so hockey was my life. Growing up around it meant I’ve got baby pictures sitting in the Stanley Cup (maybe thats why I never won it, I touched it), I remember skating after the guys had practiced while a few pro’s were still out there. That meant, of course, that my favourite team was the New York Islanders, and player was my Dad. As I got older, the “fave players” changed to Mario Lemieux and Joe Sakic.
PH: In the beginning, why did you want to become a hockey player? What team did you envision yourself playing for? Why?
JB: I actually didn’t want to be a hockey player when I was younger, I just liked playing. As I got older and found out you could get your college paid for by playing, that was my only goal. I was never touted to be the next huge star, so my head never got filled with delusions of grandeur. Once I earned an NHL opportunity, and it was with the NY Islanders, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
PH: How hard was it to realize that you couldn’t play hockey anymore professionally?
JB: The decision was only so hard because I could still play hockey professionally, it was just a matter of should I. If I were single, I’m 90% sure I’d be playing in Europe, checking out some foreign country, playing their non-physical game and making a decent living. That said, I’m glad it didn’t work out like that. As you may know, I’m engaged to an NHL Hall-of-Famers daugher, Brianna Gillies, and we’ve started a pretty nice life down here in Phoenix.
PH: What made you decided to pick up a pen/keyboard and decide to start writing about the game?
JB: When I took the slapshot to the face on my birthday, and had my jaw wired shut for seven weeks, I couldn’t exercise. Thus, I sat on the couch for a lot of days on pain medication, watching documentaries, stand-up comedy and exchanging emails with my Uncle Ken Juba, who was once a sports writer. He lived with my Dad in NY while going to college, and just as Dad created opportunities for him in the sports world, he’s reciprocated with me. He was the one who suggested I had lots of free time, and that he enjoyed my emails. After a few blogs got picked up, and more readers showed up, I kept at it.
PH: What outlets have you blogged/written for?
JB: Whether just a blurb or a full story, I’ve written for USA Today, The Hockey News, NHL.com, Maxhockey.com, Islanders Point Blank.com, HockeyPrimetime.com, The Arizona Republic, Yahoo! sports and of course, my own blog, jtbourne.com. In order to make ends meet, I do other types of writing too. I write real estate copy for Vantage West Realty, and carry the title “Director of Operations” for the Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp in Kelowna, BC every summer.
PH: When it comes to hockey writing/blogging, what is your overall goal?
JB: I want my writing to be the complete opposite of like… journalistic scholarly reviews. I want it to sound conversational, like we’re talking, which is why in the my first sentence of this answer, I actually type the word “like”. Takes away from the formality of writing, because I’m pretty sure the type of people who like sports aren’t always the type who are worried about APA format, cited sources and all that crap. I want people to laugh and enjoy themselves while reading a somewhat informed opinion. Its like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I’m probably not the best place to go for actual news, but if you never followed the real news and still read my blog, you’d have a general idea of whats up in sports, but with more fun.
PH: Now, onto some hockey talk: I know it is early in the season but what teams/players have impressed you thus far?
JB: Well, the Coyotes have made me look like a real a**hole. I wrote an article for the AZ Republic about how awful they’ll be, then they jumped out to a hot start. But still, I stand by that opinion. Even though two teams that have great records (the Kings and Penguins) were teams that they beat. You still gotta knock off the defending champs in Pittsburgh before you can have a shot, so they’d get my #1 power ranking. As for players, it’s been nice that Tavares has played well on the Island so far. I think we could see a better year out of Steven Stamkos, and I can never watch enough of Shea Weber from Nashville. Oh, and Goligoski from Pittsburgh. Kid’s a star waiting to happen.
PH: If you were to look into your crystal ball, which two teams do you see meeting in the Finals? Why?
JB: Like I said above, the Penguins have to get the nod from the East. Fleury has risen to meet expectations in net, and their stars (who literally put the team on their back in playoffs last year) are barely old enough to drive. They’re only getting better. From the West, I want to give the nod Chicago because I did pre-season, but I already might be jumping on the San Jose bandwagon. That’d be a fun Western Conference final, so I’m leaving my prediction there. Those two will meet in the west final, and the winner will face Pitt.
PH: Is there anything else that you’d like to tell Kukla’s Korner readers? Some words of wisdom perhaps?
JB: Send money? Um, yeah, I have some words of wisdom. Lighten up. About everything. I read some of the comments on articles people write, including my own, and I get boggled over the things that show up. There might not be a single thing that everybody in the world agrees with, and articles are simply long opinions. Constructively disagreeing is good for the conversation - but the word “douche” probably shouldn’t show up in too many comments. Lighten up.
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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 email@example.com.