by Patrick Hoffman on 02/16/12 at 03:00 PM ET
I am a huge fan of the NHL Network.
I love the channel’s content, coverage of the game, coverage of special events and its hosts. With that in mind, I reached out to one of the Network’s best hosts and asked for an e-mail interview.
As it turned out, the great Kathryn Tappen agreed to do so with me. Tappen took time out of her very, very busy schedule to tell us about how she got into hockey, how she got the gig at NHL Network, how she likes working at the Network and much, much, more.
PH: How did you get into hockey?
KT: I grew up going to NJ Devils games as a kid, but I didn’t start following hockey on a consistent basis until 2005 with my first full-time TV job at WJAR-NBC in Providence, RI. My very first live shot on TV that I did for local news at WJAR was in Boston and I was reporting on the NHL Lockout announcement.
From there, I covered the Providence Bruins, who at the time had many NHL players on the roster due to the lockout. I then began to develop a passion for covering hockey and learning the sport.
However, it wasn’t until October 2007 that I began broadcasting the pregame, intermissions, and postgame shows for Boston Bruins hockey on NESN. From that point on, I was hooked. I broadcasted the Bruins first season under then new head coach Claude Julien. In his first season, Julien led the team back into the playoffs. It was tremendous to be a part of the growth of the Boston Bruins under Julien, Peter Chiarelli, and the rest of the organization’s staff. They were the architects of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins and I got to broadcast it all right from the start.
PH: Growing up, who was your favorite team/player? Why?
KT: My favorite team growing up was the New Jersey Devils. My father’s company had season tickets at the old Brendan Byrne Arena (formerly Continental Airlines Arena and now the Izod Center). My favorite player was Martin Brodeur. Growing up in northern New Jersey, the NFL and MLB teams garnered the most attention. But Brodeur’s name and jersey was seen absolutely everywhere. When I was really young and naive, I think I truly believed Martin Brodeur was the only player on the team.
PH: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be in professional sports as a broadcaster/host?
KT: Probably about the same time I thought Brodeur was a one-man band! In all seriousness, I knew when I was in elementary school. I was fascinated watching Katie Couric on the news, and grew up playing sports and watching sports with my family. Sunday’s were always NFL games and PGA golf in my house. In my 8th grade yearbook, my aspiration is listed as “to become a TV broadcaster”. I admired female sportscasters like Leslie Visser and Melissa Stark. I set my goals, followed the dream, and here I am today.
PH: Prior to joining the NHL Network, what outlets did you cover sports for?
KT: For the past 5 years before joining the NHL Network, I covered the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, and Boston Celtics as well as the various college teams in New England for NESN. I have had a chance to report on every major sports championship which has been a remarkable part of my journey.
PH: How did you get a host gig at the NHL Network?
KT: You might want to ask the people who hired me that question! I’d like to think I got it because I’m smart and deserving. After broadcasting the Boston Bruins for 4 seasons including a Stanley Cup Championship run, it was a perfect transition to take my passion for hockey to a national level.
PH: As a host at the NHL Network, what are you looking to provide viewers on a daily basis?
KT: First and foremost, we want to provide our viewers, who are the ultimate fans of the game, with informative analysis and highlights from every game. We want to make sure we profile all 30 teams through our NHL Live, NHL On the Fly, and NHL Tonight shows. We provide hockey programming 24/7, so whenever fans need their NHL fix, we are there. No one else can say that. We also want to make sure we have a little fun out there, too!
PH: How do you think the NHL Network has grown this season?
KT: There have been a lot of new elements to NHL Network introduced this season. Obviously this is my first season with Network, but I’m not the only one to have recently come on board. Barry Melrose has joined us. Others like Jeremy Roenick, Mark Recchi and Mike Modano, who mainly focus on our on-site coverage at League events such as the Winter Classic, All-Star game and Stanley Cup Playoffs. The League tent-pole events have become a focal point over the past year for the Network to blow out and cover from every angle imaginable. You’ll also notice a lot of NHL Network faces popping up on NHL.com with blogs and features, which is our way to provide NHL Network content seamlessly through different means. Whether you prefer TV or the Web, we’re there and have you covered. Finally something worth mentioning, and not just because I am the host of it, is NHL Tonight. That show launched almost two months ago, and provides fans with every highlight from every game, every night.
PH: Is there anything else you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
KT: I’d like to share that I recently joined Twitter! After years of adamantly avoiding the social media aspect of my job, I caved to the pressure and have embraced the power of the Twitter tool. You can follow me @KathrynTappen.
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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.