After 8 years of breathing life into this shit-for-brains web site, it’s time to call it.
What started as two knuckleheads wanting to goof around and write about the Chicago Blackhawks with enough inside jokes to keep their friends amused turned into an inexplicable roller coaster ride that brought countless new friends into the fold. Those new friends got let into all our dumb jokes, and other people stopped by, scratched their heads and wondered what it was all about. Then left in disgust.
But the last year brought rape allegations, revenge porn, homophobic slurs, and countless dudebros defending the indefensible simply because the perpetrators happened to play sports for a team they supported. What had once been a pleasure became a labor.
And this year had a “staying together for the kids” feel to it. We didn’t recap at all, until we saw where we could provide a little levity to some friends going through a tough time, but I’m sure you’ll agree that our hearts clearly weren’t in it. And you guys deserve better.
But the way the Chicago Blackhawks handled every one of these incidents made it clear to us that this was no longer an organization that we could continue supporting in this way. We couldn’t bring our usual hubris to things we’ve done in the past like “View From The Top” knowing that we couldn’t defend our own with a clear conscience.
And we always promised each other that we’d do this until it was no longer fun, and here we are. Spending this season tilting at windmills simply got exhausting, and watching and recapping Blackhawks games simply got to be something that neither of us wanted to do, since it’s not our livelihood.
That’s not to say that we didn’t enjoy our run. We got to be, in our own small insignificant way, part of three Stanley Cup championships. We got to raise a lot of money over the years to help a lot of people. And God only knows how much Malort was consumed. All the recaps, photoshops, victory anthems, you name it. And of course the Puckcast, which will continue – in fact, we’re planning a live one for the Hockeenight Viking Funeral. Details will be posted here.
So before we get to each of us being sentimental, here’s our last request:
When we started, we could only find two Blackhawks sites that were active. Now there are dozens. To them, we ask that you keep everyone honest. Keep punching up, even if it means landing blows on the Hawks’ chin. Don’t let blind loyalty steer you away from what you see with your own eyes. And write each day as if you know you’re introducing somebody to the game of hockey. It’s the greatest sport in the world, and it’s up to all of us to evangelize it, and not just at the NHL level. And to the professional keyboard jockeys – just because you don’t expect answers to tough questions doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be asked. You’re the only ones with access. Remember the team needs press coverage more than the press needs the team.
To CSN Chicago…you’re welcome.
Finally to the Chicago Blackhawks…be the organization you tell everyone you are.
I’m going first here, because CT deserves the last word. It’s really been a privilege to write with him all this time, and I’ve always looked forward to reading his recaps, his “View From The Top” posts, you name it. I can say without hesitation that I’m his biggest fan.
We’ve had writers come and go too, and we’ve been fortunate that they’ve all been great. Beth’s recaps were our unsung heroes, Slak’s hatecaps were epic, Krista’s utter loathing of all things Winnipeg always brought me untold joy (not to mention, I didn’t have to recap any shitty Jets games), and Brandon represents the next generation. Of course, Dave Morris chipping in here and there always made it extra fun.
Then there’s the photoshops. Everyone who did them did amazing work. I could ask, “Can you give me Q spinning a wheel with jersey numbers?”, and what the result would be was always so far beyond my expectations. Just brilliant work done by brilliant people.
Big Cheyenne – thanks for being a good sport. If Hockeenight was basically the hockey version of Mad Magazine, you were our Alfred E. Neumann.
I’m really grateful and humbled by how many people have read our site, and have listened to the Puckcast. I still remember at one of our “Gonna Drinken” things, CT and I kind of looked at each other, then at the 50 or so people who we didn’t know prior to the site, and couldn’t believe what we created. But the truth is, I don’t think the community was our creation, so much as the community was always there, and we just gave them a water cooler to gather around. We always welcomed everyone, and the only comments that we ever removed were spam.
And I always liked the fact that we were able to use our humor to get our points across. Fels, Block and company always took the more cerebral route, but being cerebral wasn’t really our thing. Not to mention, it’s hockey, for God’s sake. It’s supposed to be fun. One thing I always enjoyed was our group buys because every time we did one, somebody was seeing their first-ever NHL game. We even got Big Cheyenne to a Hawks game this season. I also enjoyed giving so many people their first-ever shot of Malort. Plus, I’ve got a few signed printouts of articles from our site, like “Looking Back” pieces signed by Mikita, Savard, Nesterenko and Dennis Hull on the wall in my office at home to remember all this by.
But trying to remember all the shit we’ve done over eight years is impossible – I think I’d need to mainline ginkgo biloba in order to bring it all back. What was our best gag? #Shawfacts? Big Cheyenne? #StalbergPorn? The Victory Anthems? #BlackhawkLegendBobbyOrr? View From The Top? #GorillaSalad? The Mathletes? Donald? Taint Nugget? I actually should have never stopped doing Slats Radke, to be honest. Not to mention a friend of the site “improving” a photo album of high-ranking member of the Hawks’ front office, Hockeenight-style. We made a lot of friends and enemies, and even though it’s not ending the way I hoped it would (maybe 40 years from now with a memorial to yours truly), I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.
Thanks guys. I hope we made you all as happy as you made me.
Fro is still, and will always be, the worst.
When I first came to this site, I was merely a Puckcast guest (after hounding Frick and Frack for the chance). Now I’m one of your infamous Puckcast co-hosts as well as the author of hatecaps that only pale in comparison to Slak’s. I’ve also made some pretty cool friends along the way. I’m grateful to Fork and CT for giving me the chance to channel my seething hatred for the Jets and Hellhole while exhibiting my mediocre at best writing skills. Don’t worry, I’ll still be trying to get blocked by Team Moose Fucker, so tune in to Twitter for that. Thanks to everyone, and as always, FUCK WINNIPEG.
I’ve gotta thank Fork because he was the person that Malörted me. And also for some fucking reason asked me to write for this site and it was a damn honor.
If I hadn’t sent a semi-drunj email to Fork after the 2014 WCF, I wouldn’t have been a part of this. Damn, am I glad I did. It’s been a hell of a good time, and thank you all for letting me play along at home. S/T to the Tron Army cats for issuing the #ChiVanShap challenge.
It’s hard to figure out how it’s come to this, but it has. I’m not going to rehash the reasons, but I’ve always said that when running this blog was no longer fun, we’d stop doing it. I think you can infer the rest from there.
But that doesn’t wipe out all the fun I’ve had up until this season. Just thinking of about some of the dumb shit we’ve happily pulled brings a little smile to face. Whether it was hanging weird nicknames on players, starting the legend of the Sopel’s dong, receiving a bottle of beer with BC on the label, helping to steal the Coyotes “AROOOO” on Twitter, watching Fork trying to do that weird “waterfall” shot thing at Galway Bay, providing in-depth analysis of upper deckers, seeing Edzo “like” a photoshop of himself eating soft serve or getting Chris Block blacklisted from the Wolves locker room, I can say I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do. Well, except for finding out which Blackhawk is the favorite of European Muscle Bear Band singers.
No wait, we did that too.
Of course, before we sign off, I’d be remiss if I didn’t hand out some thank you’s:
To Morph, Thrill, Steve, Nick Mighty Mike D – Your photoshops started as a fun diversion and basically became their own industry, and rightfully so. The stuff you guys did was brilliant. May it be stolen and circulated on the internet without attribution for all eternity.
To Slak – I don’t know if you invented the Hatecap, but it was fun watching you perfect it.
To Krista – Thanks for making it to all those Puckcasts, and for carrrying the load when it came to recapping those terrible Winnipeg games.
To Casey – thanks for giving us a great looking site, and I wish we’d provided the content to do it justice.
To everybody who filled in when Fork and I realized at the last minute we couldn’t recap a game: Brandon, Beth, Dave Morris (TABERNAC!) and the guys listed above, thanks.
To The Committed Indian, The Third Man In, The Fifth Feather and Cheer the Anthem – I feel like we were the beachhead in the Blackhawks blog invasion. It was a blast sharing the internets with you guys.
To BC- thanks. Just thanks, man.
To crew on Twitter – thanks for hanging out with me, teaching me some cool stuff about hockey analytics (HI JEN) and just being a lot of fun.
To anybody whoever contributed to the site, be it an article, a comment, an e-mail, a tweet a guest spot on a Puckcast or if you just bothered to read this mess, thanks.
To @montanabrenan – You’re welcome.
To JABE LUNK – Happy 50th Birthday, big guy.
And finally, to my good friend Forklift. Fork likes to poor mouth his contributions around here, and whatever you think of our respective writing output, know this: Forklift has been the heart and soul of Hockeenight. Left to my own devices, nothing would ever get done. But Fork has been the driving force behind getting the site up and running, starting the Puckcast and every GONNA DRINKEN and group buy we’ve done. It’s been a privilege to do this with him, and I’m happy to call him a friend. The truth is, the reason that the Puckcast will survive is that we just enjoy shooting the shit together.
And so, that’s it. The end of something, but maybe the beginning of something else. But if you take away just one thing from Hockeenight, I hope it is this:
The Man In The Yellow Hat is a MONSTER.