Sam Pringle insisted on an alluring pose to accompany this interview.
With the preseason looming – interest in the launch of the 2011-12 NHL season is high in this particular hockey-crazed market. But in reality, the preseason is boring, and with no real hockey news to discuss – local newspaper writer Sam Pringle was at a loss. How can one produce content that will drive traffic, when there’s nothing of any consequence going on?
“I thought about it long and hard while walking my dog” said the portly, denim clad Pringle, sitting cross legged in his Ikea furnished home-office and rubbing his beard thoughtfully, “but I just couldn’t come up with a fresh, or gripping angle.”
It’s a common problem that all levels of sports-writers face at this time of year. Sure there’s the odd injury status to update – but for the most part, fans know who is hurting, and when to expect them back. You can cover the cuts, but the players being re-assigned to their junior teams don’t have sexy names yet. Unless the player cut was a recent early round draft selection, and there are solid grounds to criticize the team’s general manager for the pick– a late September re-assignment isn’t going to get anyone’s blood pumping. Or at least, no one outside of that small group of die-hards who sometimes call Sam “a hack” in nasty little messages on twitter. “That only lasts until I block them,” he says chuckling.
Says Pringle “often times, I just dredge up a controversial non-issue that has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for the last six months, and I cover it again!”
Luckily for Sam, in this particular hockey market there is a massively polarizing superstar, a promising, unproven youngster who needs more ice-time, an oft-injured prospect with a do-or-die opportunity over the next few weeks, and a head-coach whose job is secure, despite his relative unpopularity among fans.
“Put all of those factors together, and I can basically pull a controversial story out of thin air! The best part is that the fan-base is so restless – they’ll eat it up, and argue about it. It’s actually quite funny.”