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.