#OnFire | A Year of writing for the Coventry Blaze

It seems strange to me to think I’ve been writing for OnFire now for nearly a year. I remember seeing an advert online posted by the Coventry Blaze on Facebook asking for writers for their match day publication.

Admittedly at this point I was still technically a fan of the opposition and when I decided to be brave and send in an email about being interested, I thought I’d confess to my fandom and see how it went. Honestly, I was expected to be laughed into a corner and told that I wouldn’t be a good fit for the magazine. I really shouldn’t let my anxiety talk me out of doing something I really want to, because I got a reply back that yes! They’d love to have me write for them – and the rest as they say is history.

I found a bad photo of my first article! Doesn’t even have my name on it!

My first article was for a feature called ‘Them Over There’ and I was asked specifically to write about the Sheffield Steelers. I figured I’d probably be pigeon-holed into writing about the away teams, stats, facts etc, nothing with any great weight to it because of my allegiance to Sheffield. I just expected to be given all the things to do that no one else wanted, or that were more filler pieces than anything with any great substance. I took it though and I ran with it and I remember being so proud of what I’d achieved. Seeing my name in print next to my article was something I’d wanted for a long time and it was incredibly satisfying, especially when the editor gave me some feedback and said that not only was it good but could I do it again?

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As many of you know who read my blog, circumstances surrounding the playoff semi-finals last season finally pushed me from the Orange Army and into the welcoming arms of the Blue Army. I didn’t at the time know how it would affect my working for OnFire, but I was very much looking forward to finding out!

When the new season came around, I was invited to come to Media Day and was asked to interview Kevin Noble on his stint with Team Canada in Australia that summer. I’d seen bits and pieces over the summer on Twitter and Facebook, but hadn’t taken a huge amount of time to actually process it. So, when I was asked to interview Noble I had to spend a good while trying to hunt it all down for a piece entitled ‘I Know what You Did Last Summer’ which you can read my clicking the link.

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Since then I’ve been asked to write the ‘Them Over There’ feature every month. Though the format has changed somewhat and I couldn’t be happier for that. I never much enjoyed writing those kinds of articles.

No longer is it a fact file compiled from various internet sources with a few opinions chucked in for good measure. No, now it will be a more in-depth interview with a player from one of that month’s opposing teams. With the intention of getting to know the man, not just on the ice, but off of it too. I want to attempt to make them more human to the fans in the Skydome and around the league, something that I’ve been doing now for over a year with this blog. Only now, my hard work would be put into print and read by a much wider audience.

As an aspiring journalist that is a real stepping stone and as I’d eventually love to be able to do that with a hockey club on a non-voluntary basis. It’s definitely encouraging that the team took me on and has now given me so much freedom to write what I want for them. During this whole process I have made many new friends and learned so much more than I thought possible. I’m thankful to the team at Coventry for taking me on and believing in me and I hope that I’m still writing for them for many seasons to come.

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