Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Why FOHS Won't Be At The Draft


It would take something pretty big for me to resurrect this blog, if only for a fleeting moment. I would think this is considered big-- especially considering the response I got from this whole thing.

The Face Off Hockey Show was not credentialed by the NHL for this upcoming Draft in Philadelphia. While, to some, it's not a big deal and it's a privileged to get into a league event-- it's not as if we are a fly-by-night organization. We have been credentialed by the NHL for events like the Draft, All Star Games, and Winter and Heritage Classics-- so for us to be denied entry at this event is quite mind-boggling.

More over, it could be a bigger problem; at least as far as I'm concerned. We have never been part of a big conglomerated corporation and maybe the fact we don't have a bigger business to be held responsible to, we aren't looked at as serious media and we're given the shaft because of it. We came across problems in Pittsburgh when we weren't even given confirmation about us being in. It took us to actually going to the credential trailer in order to find out that we were put "On Hold" and no decision was made at all.

The system of hoops that the credential process has become has been quite convoluted, too. At first it was send in via fax, then email, then third party systems that requires you to sign-up to a whole new system, which was even more a headache. This year especially when the credential process started quite later than past years (around early-mid May rather than early-mid April) and the closing date was May 30th when it was usually early May. Because of that, hotels have already been booked, flights been booked, other plans been put into place because it was something we didn't expect to happen happened. If you're going to reject someone from going to an event-- why are you going to put it that late to accept or reject because it is even tougher for people to actually get plans together for said event??

Maybe it was a bad assumption on our part to believe we would be let in, but with a track record of 12 years being approved; we wouldn't think otherwise quite honestly.

But, back to one of the main points is whether or not this is the NHL shutting out and up the media that is considered independent upon itself. You would think, for a league that gets such flack from the United States mainstream media-- they would want to enlist most any entity in order to get good word of mouth out there and to expand the brand and expand the game. With a Los Angeles/New York finals, maybe the league can get the attention it wants, thus pushing out smaller people due to the new flood of media types that would want to be around the game because it's the new hot thing out there.

We have been loyal to the NHL and the NHL product when no one else was around to. When blogs and podcasts and the widespread influx of hockey media wasn't even blooming into what it is now. It seems that the same loyalty was not given back. Since 2002, we have gone out of our own pockets in order to get to the Drafts and other events and up until now-- the NHL was very courteous in order to allow us access to the events to get interviews, get experiences, get to be a part of a bigger thing. Now, it seems like because we don't have a bigger name or brand ourselves, they don't feel like they need to be loyal to people who were there when no one else was.

Don't get me wrong, it is great that there are so many great people covering the sport out there (many whom we've met from attending the Drafts for as long as we have), I just feel that when you give the time in effort into it for as long as we have been doing it, we should get some modicum of respect for sticking by this league the way we have for as long as we have.

You can call it sour grapes because...well, when I step back it is. As I said from the start, it is a privilege to cover the game I love on the scale that I have been afforded. From Drafts to World Juniors to Top Prospects Games to Calder Cup games; it's been a helluva ride for me, one of which I never expected. However, to have the rug pulled out from under you as unceremoniously as it has been for myself, Jonny P, and Marc-- it's going to sting and it's going to sting big time.

Where does this leave us?? Well, my plane ticket is pretty much not refundable, the hotel rooms I don't think are refundable, but we're without credentials and tickets and any reason to go. However, maybe in the next few days it'll become clearer. Maybe some things will present themselves and plans changes. Or maybe things stay the same. Only time will tell I suppose.

Now back to my regularly unscheduled writing hiatus.

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