by Patrick Hoffman on 09/16/09 at 12:18 PM ET
Here at The Goal Line Report, I like to promote hockey blogs of all sizes - big, small, entrepreneurial, etc.
With that said, I’d like to introduce B.D. Gallof’s HockeyIndependent.com. Mr. Gallof was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk about his new site.
PH: What made you decide to expand HockeyIndependent.com?
BD: I always felt that a hockey blog, from my perspective, was essentially…behind all the bells and whistles, about the teams. No matter how entertaining, insider, or just plain straight stats, that I as a fan, basically wanted team information. Team insight. Team-centric humor. My belief, is that most fans want the same…plus some extra. But all go on that basic principle.
Hockey fans all follow a team or two. So basically, blogging needs to come from a team angle…and never stray from that concept.
So, as I had IslandersIndependent.com doing rather well with the hits, RangersIndependent.com was looking to expend some energy, despite some quality posts in the offseason. At the same time I had been approached about the NJ Devils, and knew some Flyer guys ready to make the blogging jump. So, one day mid-summer, the three Gallof brothers had some beers and cigars at a BBQ and really re-thought what we were doing.
It seemed silly to separate the audience. Especially when my site had a lot of NHL readers from Montreal, Toronto, Rangers, and other areas. NJ bloggers followed Scott and RangersIndependent also.
So, we realigned ourselves to a new goal. NHL-wide team blogging that understands that bloggers have day jobs and that this is a love and hobby. All HockeyIndependent.com’s bloggers will attempt to do 2-3 blogs a week if they can. We feel the reading public will be well-supplied by having multiple bloggers able to support one another and appease fans hunger for information, insight and some fun.
Once we decided that, it was time to make it happen. So we methodically went about it as we do in our workplace. Action plans. Goals. All three Gallof brothers made this site. I handle the direction, site overall mission, bloggers and promotion. Scott, the former NY Rangers blogger of Hockeybuzz and I got together to figure out the look and feel. Scott then applied his CSS skills and HTML mettle to make it work. Phillip, the third brother and another NY Ranger fan, did all the key backend plugin setup and research work.
Between the three of us, and some help from various friends, coworkers, and bloggers to leverage information, it all came together quicker than we thought. Of course, we still have a lot of work to do. But word was out about the site, so we are aiming to have this live September 16th, completely finished or not.
PH: What are some special features that HockeyIndependent.com will have in its first year? Why will hockey fans want to come to your site?
BD: One of the things we thought about is how the audience didactically reads the site and then responds in a commenting strip or “thread”. We see the Web 3.0 as being more about real-time collaboration and a new level of interaction. However, the technology is not quite there yet to enact this right away. In October or November, it will be. We will be leaping onboard, already involved in it on a developer level. When it is ready for public consumption, it will replace or add to the commenting system that we already have which has lots of good attributes.
Readers will eventually be able to comment ANYWHERE in the blog. We can have complete new-style commenting chats in real-time, where the blog itself becomes more of a collaboration between the audience and the blogger. That is our longterm hope and aim.
In the meantime, the current commenting system is very robust. We wanted something that we could lean on in the interim that would also make it conducive for good conversation between readers and bloggers. We are using IntenseDebate.
IntenseDebate allows for Facebook and Twitter integration, let users link their profiles, make friends and syndicate their comments. The system allows commenters to make comments across various blogs.
Why will hockey fans come to our site: Because we think the blogosphere has fans reading many sites for all sorts of reason. We think our style and efforts will be a positive and needed addition to the hockey media which has printed pages and beat writers shrinking at an exponential rate. We also think some sites have lost touch with their fans or bitten far more than they can chew. So, with our slacker stylings, tech know-how, and humorous leanings, we feel might find ourselves on many hockey fans bookmarks for their hockey needs. And if we all can do something new or give it the good fight, that much better.
PH: What are your goals for the site heading into Year 1? How about the future?
BD: The goal is very simple…
A focus on team quality coverage. We aim to provide the straight dope with some humor, insight and a desire to be unique voices on the hockey landscape. This won’t be immediate or simply because we launched a site. It’s something we will have to work at and learn a lot along the way. I hope some come for the ride.
The only thing we are aiming to add on top of that is to also create downloadable PDF content for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft as well as the 2009-2010 NHL Playoffs, and we are considering other proprietary content. Anything that will help us towards our goal, we’ll consider and employ if it makes sense.
I should add, we are still looking for some bloggers outside the major markets of NY, NJ, Philly, Toronto and Chicago. If you have a unique voice and want to climb onboard, drop me a line at email@example.com. We allow our bloggers to still plug their own sites, but also all come together to strive for a new audience on HockeyIndependent. It’s a partnership, and we hope you all give it a read.
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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.