Canucks and Beyond

How I Became a Tabloid Hockey Blogger

12/19/2006 at 7:35am EST

Last season there was an internet tabloid story (link is noted at the end of this post) about Ms. Hunter hanging out naked on the deep blue sea with a then-unidentified younger man. A writer friend of mine happened to spot the story and passed it onto me since he wasn’t able to publish it himself.

The reason this story was remotely interesting to either of us was that that the Boy Toy in question was Jarret Stoll of the Edmonton Oilers.

Oh, fun!

While I’ve never had much shame in posting crazy stuff, even I paused before publishing those photos and links. Not because I’m a prude—if hockey players and their girlfriends want to cavort naked on the sea, what do I care?—but because the photos were certainly not posed; they appeared to be taken with a long-range lens.

The media can be very invasive of famous people’s private lives and it’s not something I’m all that interested in. But in this case, I ultimately decided to post the photos for a couple reasons.

First, the pics were already out there, and on a very popular celebrity website. Perhaps I should feel guilty because—as far as I knew at the time—nobody seemed to know who Hunter’s “escort” was? But I decided hockey people were going to figure it out sooner or later. It was already known they were dating, so someone else was going to stumble onto the pics eventually.

Secondly, hanging out naked in public on the Mediterranean (or wherever) with Rachel-freaking-Hunter is either incredibly stupid—if you actually want privacy—or a deliberate publicity stunt.

Thirdly, I was still very bitter about the damn Oilers taking the #8 spot into the playoffs, leaving the Canucks in the cold. (I know it’s not rational. Just being honest!)

So I wrote a quick post for the hell of it and let it fly, but the results have been much longer lasting: that naked-Rachel/naked-Jarret post was easily the most sought-out thing I wrote in all of 2006. Which doesn’t say much for my hockey writing, probably (!) but it’s also just insanely weird to me.

There have been thousands and thousands of hits on that blog post in the months since, not to mention a wack of emails from crazy-ass people with questions and comments. It was a bizarre experiment.

I finally took down the photos (which, I’d like to add, I had semi-tastefully censored to show some decorum) and closed down the comments because I was bored sick of the whole business.

imageThe experience echoed a similar one I had posting about Elisha Cuthbert & Sean Avery. I’m no fan of Avery, but he can be entertaining, and I was always a bit interested in Cuthbert since she’d started last season blogging at NHL.com. Her blog created some hockey interest with casual fans, but her relationship with Avery created a firestorm of it.

This story here, for instance, also drew huge numbers of readers.

I’m not at all interested in celebrity culture myself—it’s almost embarrassing how little I know, to be honest. But clearly there are plenty of people addicted to that sort of thing.

Both blog posts were written on-the-fly, without much though for whether people would be all that interested in them or not, yet both were among the top-5 hit posts I published in the past year. Go figure.

Perhaps the NHL was onto something last season with their Lindsay Lohan Loves Stanley Hollywood tour? Hmmm… maybe a good marketing tool, but it sorta makes me gag, too.

Ah well. That’s modern life for you. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Sidney Crosby‘s agent was setting the kid up with a starlet at this very moment.

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Important Note: Here’s my original post on Hunter-Stoll, though I took down most of the idiot comments and the photos. The original Rachel Hunter tabloid story with photos is still online here. But it is NOT SAFE FOR WORK due to nudity. So don’t be clickin’ it if you don’t want to get busted!

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