This probably goes without saying, but, one of the crucial aspects of journalism is timing. People want their news to be delivered as quickly as possible.
Sports reporters are fortunate because they can guess – usually with some accuracy – when a game is going to end. A baseball game is usually three hours long, hockey two and a half hours, etc.
This is particularly important when covering three leagues across the world’s second largest country, as I do.
See, my junior hockey games end in waves. Thanks to six teams being in the Atlantic time zone, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League starts to wrap up between 8:30 and 9 most nights. The rest of the Q and the entire Ontario Hockey League follow suit between 9:30 and 10.
Out west is a little more complicated as the Western Hockey League stretches across three time zones. Games in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (and often Edmonton) usually finish between 11 and 11:30. British Columbia, Washington and Oregon check in between 12:30 and 1 in the morning.
Obviously, if one of these waves is delayed, they start to crash into each other. If writing the QMJHL round-up takes me past 11 at night, the OHL stories will be late, and so on. Even the WHL can run into another deadline: my ability to stay conscious.
More often than not, the cause of a delay is a slow game. And what is the cause of a lethargic game? More often than not, it’s because of fights.
Think about it: Each fight eats up about two minutes of play time. Between the scrapping itself, picking up all the loose equipment and sorting out penalties, it adds up to about 120 lost seconds that don’t count toward the game’s run time.
Not bad in isolated instances, but if there’s a handful of fights during a game, it can mean tacking on an entire period’s worth of time.
Further, fights often mean more work. I need to investigate if anyone was injured, what the cause was, and if it’s a particularly rough game I have to find a way to describe the melee.
A perfect example of a game that caused massive back up in my shift was Friday night when the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Halifax Mooseheads mixed it up in a fight-filled match.
Fortunately for me, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald’s Willy Palov was in attendance and he forwarded me his game story for inclusion in the nightly QMJHL round up. He saved me a lot of time and added a lot of detail to my story, but even then, some time was eaten up getting in touch with him and then editing his story to suit my needs.
I don’t mean for this to be a commentary on the role of fighting in hockey, I just wanted to share the practical ramifications of when your two favourite hockey teams start throwing down.
BONUS: Here’s a link to Mr. Palov’s original story on the Screaming Eagles 7-2 win over the Mooseheads. You’ll be able to see the different angles we took on the game (his local, mine broader) and also what parts were thanks to his hard work. Also, big ups to CP Sports editor Josh Clipperton who, like all my editors, made my copy much sharper.
Friday, Oct. 23rd 2010
QMJHL: MACDOUGALL, SCREAMING EAGLES WIN OVER MOOSEHEADS
The Nova Scotia rivalry in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League erupted in spectacular fashion Friday.
Taylor MacDougall had a hat trick for Cape Breton as the Screaming Eagles cruised to a physical 7-2 win over the Halifax Mooseheads.
OHL: BRAMPTON AVENGES LOSS WITH VICTORY OVER OTTAWA
The Brampton Battalion went to Ottawa with revenge on their minds Friday night.
Ian Watters had a goal and an assist as the Battalion avenged themselves with a 3-1 win over the 67's in Ontario Hockey League play.
WHL: KETLO SLAMS THE DOOR AS PATS BLANK BRONCOS
Damien Ketlo recorded his first win of the season with a shutout as the Regina Pats blanked the Swift Current Broncos 2-0 in Western Hockey League action Friday night.
Mark Schneider scored the only goal the Pats would need just 54 seconds into the game. It was the defenceman's first of the year with a slap shot from the point.
Saturday, Oct. 24th 2010
QMJHL: FOREURS RUIN MILESTONE NIGHT FOR HUSKIES
It was supposed to be a night of celebration in Rouyn-Noranda, but the Val-d'Or Foreurs had other ideas.
Jonathan Hazen had a hat trick as the Foreurs crushed the Huskies 9-4 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action Saturday.
OHL: CARNEVALE LIFTS COLTS TO FIRST HOME WIN OF THE SEASON
Home ice advantage finally meant something for the Barrie Colts on Saturday night.
Taylor Carnevale scored twice as the Colts knocked off the Niagara IceDogs 5-2 in Ontario Hockey League action.
WHL: FRIESEN BACKSTOPS BRONCOS TO WIN OVER WARRIORS
Mark Friesen posted his eighth win of the season to backstop the Swift Current Broncos to a 3-2 win over the visiting Moose Jaw Warriors in Western Hockey League action Saturday night.
Friesen turned aside 33 shots to post the win, and he was beaten for only a single goal in a third period where Moose Jaw held an 11-0 edge in shots.
Sunday, Oct. 25th 2010
QMJHL: ROY WINS 100TH GAME AS TITAN EDGE SCREAMING EAGLES
Goaltender Olivier Roy joined an exclusive club Sunday afternoon.
Roy made 23 saves to lead the Acadie-Bathurst Titan to a 3-2 win against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.
OHL: NESBITT SCORES SO WINNER AS 67'S TOP GENERALS
Captain Thomas Nesbitt led his Ottawa 67's by example Sunday afternoon.
Nesbitt was the only scorer in the shootout as the 67's were 4-3 winners over the Oshawa Generals in Ontario Hockey League action.
Friday, Jan. 8th 2009:
QMJHL: Remparts top Baie-Comeau, give Roy 200th coaching win:
Patrick Roy has waited a long time for his 200th victory as the coach of the Quebec Remparts.
Antoine Tardif stopped 26 shots as the Quebec Remparts smashed the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 6-0 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action Friday night. (Read more...)
OHL: Jenner scores OT winner as Oshawa beats Peterborough
Boone Jenner knew how to cap off a thrilling game for the Oshawa Generals.
Jenner scored short-handed, 2:27 into overtime, to lift Oshawa to a 4-3 win over the Peterborough Petes in Ontario Hockey League action Friday night. (Read more...)
WHL: Warriors ruin “Eberle and Teubert Day” for Pats
Friday may have been "Jordan Eberle and Colten Teubert Day" in Regina, but it wasn't their night.
The Moose Jaw Warriors thumped Eberle, Teubert and the Pats 5-2 in Western Hockey League action Friday, putting a damper on the festivities. (Read more...)
Saturday, Jan. 9th 2009:
QMJHL: Roy, Cape Breton shut out Halifax
Olivier Roy is moving up in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record books.
Roy made 31 saves as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles blanked the Halifax Mooseheads 2-0 Saturday night. (Read more...)
OHL: Kadri scores shootout winner in wild game
The London Knights barely survived a wild night against the Erie Otters.
Nazem Kadri scored in the shootout as the London Knights outlasted the Erie Otters 8-7 in Ontario Hockey League action Saturday night. (Read more...)
WHL: Borrowed goalie can’t get Prince George past Seattle
Even bringing in some help from the Everett Silvertips couldn't help the lowly Prince George Cougars.
Charles Wells scored twice and added an assist to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 4-1 win over Prince George in Western Hockey League play Saturday night. (Read more...)
Sunday, Jan. 10th 2009:
QMJHL: Martel wins 223rd game as Chicoutimi downs Baie-Comeau
Richard Martel is now the winningest coach in Chicoutimi Sagueneens history.
Antoine Roussel scored twice as Chicoutimi sank the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4-3 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action Sunday afternoon. (Read more...)
OHL: Wolves score five in second period to down Generals
The Sudbury Wolves used the Oshawa Generals to rebound from Saturday night's loss.
Eric O'Dell and Eddy Leitans-Rinke both scored twice as part of a five-goal second period, leading the Sudbury Wolves to a 7-4 win over the Oshawa Generals in Ontario Hockey League play Sunday night. (Read more...)
I thought that this was a very interesting week in the Canadian Hockey League.
As usual, the play on the ice was exciting, but there were also a lot of quirky things going on during the games.
First of all, from Saturday’s OHL report, the London Knights/Erie Otters match-up must have been incredible to watch. I assume that the London crowd was silenced when Erie scored five (!) unanswered goals to force extra time.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have it on TV in the sports department, and we didn’t have a stringer at the game. Otherwise, I would have been able to have an even more interesting story, because the game score indicated that Erie’s last two goals were empty-netters, including one on the power play.
That’s right, according to the game sheet, London pulled their goalie when they were up by two. You can imagine how much this confused me from my cushy seat at the Canadian Press.
Since then, the game sheet has been fixed to show them as even-strength goals.
Saturday night was also interesting in the WHL, with Prince George borrowing a goalie from the Everett Silvertips. The Cougars had been rolling with only one goaltender on their roster for a t least a week, so I suppose it was inevitable that they’d need an extra ‘keeper.
I’m just 26, but I’ve never seen that happen in an organized hockey game before.
With the junior hockey trade deadline on Monday there was also a lot of action off the ice with players changing teams. I mentioned this on Twitter, but the Chicoutimi Sagueneens have traded away many of their best players including Jacab Lagace and Nicolas Deschamps. As far as I can tell, the Sags are preparing for the 2010-11 season.
Obviously, the QMJHL stories from Friday and Sunday were naturals as round-up toppers. First of all, you can’t go wrong talking about Patrick Roy. He’s easily one of the top three goalies, ever, and he’s probably going to become an NHL coach within the next three years.
Then you have Richard Martel becoming the winningest coach in Sagueneens history. He’s one of the great coaches in the QMJHL and deserves accolades for his 223rd victory. However, as a writer/editor I also knew that with Chicoutimi in the midst of a firesale they likely won’t be at the top of a round-up any time soon.
Also, I’m not sure how much longer I could resist calling Martel a “model” to his players.
One other thing to note: I did not write any WHL stories on Sunday because my shift would have been seven or eight hours long. Instead, one of my co-workers wrote it. You can see it here: WHL: Reddick nets two goals as Americans blank Bruins.